Residency Week 1 – Africa
Welcome to the first round of designs from Residency, our new series which sees us working closely with a designer over the course of a month around a given theme.
This month, we’re delighted to showcase the work of concept kit designer Cenk Ünal. We’re asking Cenk to create shirts inspired by the NBA’s City Edition jerseys, and throughout May he’ll be covering a wide range of teams from across the globe.
For part 1, we’re travelling to the continent of Africa. Take a look at these…
Kaizer Chiefs City Edition concept kit
Wow. Kaizer Chiefs are one of those teams who have a penchant for great kits, but Cenk has more than matched that legacy and perhaps even surpassed it here.
First up, this is proof that we need to see more of the Jordan logo on kits. It’s combination with the iconic Chiefs crest is as close to perfection as you can get. The colours also immediately stand out, Kaizer Chiefs have used a variety of shades over the years, but this more yellow tone is a great choice here.
One classic feature of the NBA City Edition jerseys is the use of a team name or nickname across the front where a sponsor would usually be, and I’m very excited to see more of that throughout this series. Here we have “AMAKHOSI” (which means “chiefs” in Zulu) in place, and you’ll also notice a pixel graphic pattern both through the wordmark and also the Nike ‘lightning bolt’ graphic on both sides.
This pixel graphic is inspired by the pattern seen on outside of the the club’s stadium, and it adds a lot of depth and interest to the black elements of the kit. The pattern seen throughout the body is wonderful too, and it’s design is heavily inspired by an African pattern. I love how Cenk has tweaked the pattern to incorporate the Kaizer Chiefs crest.
Orlando Pirates City Edition concept kit
Rivalries in sport are everything, and true to form Cenk has pitted the Kaizer Chiefs against this wonderful effort from fellow South Africans Orlando Pirates. From a manufacturer perspective, we also have our first adidas kit of Residency.
There is a lot to like with this design, and it all starts with the trademark black colour. Cenk has paired the black with a silver, which feels like something of an Oakland Raiders (NFL) tribute.
And then the pattern! There are a few different elements to unpack here. The brick-like appearance is inspired by the look of the Hector Pieterson Memorial. Graffiti elements can be seen throughout the pattern, and the theme continues with the look of the three stripes on the sleeves (which look slightly distressed) and the “Johannesburg” text across the chest.
I really appreciate the completely different tone of this kit compared to the Kaizer Chiefs kit. It’s grungier and rougher, but equally effective, and it shows the flexibility of Cenk as a designer.
Hearts of Oak City Edition concept kit
One thing that the NBA City edition jerseys do so well is that they allow for flexibility in elements like colour. Cenk’s Hearts of Oak shirt buys into that flexibility, with a colour scheme inspired by the colours of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park & Mausoleum. Even the gold flecks, which are seen across the central band of the shirt, nod to a statue in the park.
Like the two shirts before it, we have a wonderful pattern which features several intricate details and even a few creatures. The aesthetic is inspired by some of the murals seen on the streets of Accra, and it reminds me a lot of the pattern seen on the new Nigeria shirt, which is a very good thing given how strong that shirt is.
Raja Casablanca City Edition concept kit
We’ll finish this edition of Residency with an incredible concept for Morrocan giants Raja Casablanca. The famous Hassan II Mosque is the key source of inspiration for this gorgeous green and gold affair, and everything from the colours to the pattern can be traced back to the landmark.
The colours in particular are stunning. Gold is sometimes a tricky colour to pull off well, but it fits the bill on this shirt on top of the rich green base. The Nike ‘lightning bolt’ design on the sides looks particularly good here too, with a pattern nodding to the ceramics of the Hassan II Mosque.
As if all this wasn’t enough, we have the Casablanca wordmark acting like a cherry on top. And if you’re eagle-eyed, you’ll also notice a detail at the bottom right of the shirt which reads Raja Mondial, “Raja of the World”.
A good concept kit should be aspirational, and this Raja Casablanca kit is exactly that. The fact the design is grounded in elements of the city adds extra layers of goodness.
So there we have it, 4 beautiful shirts which each have their own character, whilst staying true to the city edition theme.
I’m really excited to see more from Cenk, and next week we’ll travelling to the Americas for another raft of fresh, unique concepts. We’ll also be checking in to ask him about his favourite football shirts. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to see all Cenk’s Residency kits first.