Samurai and Kenya Rugby have a long association, and they’ve been an ever-present as the country’s Sevens team has become a prominent part of the World Rugby Sevens Series, and last weekend’s Hong Kong tournament saw them debut a pair of brand new kits.
Over the last few years we’ve gradually seen Samurai do more bold and interesting things with the design, and this year they’ve really kicked things up a gear to create what is perhaps the boldest Kenya Sevens shirt ever.
In creating the 2017 design, Samurai’s UK-based designers have sensibly consulted with a specialist external artist to ensure that this design reflects Kenyan culture in a way that’s respectful and accurate (a response to the mild furore caused by Exeter’s ‘aura cleansing’ European shirt, perhaps?) – and the result is a striking, intricate jersey.
The basic design is shared between the red home and green away designs, and the overall theme is designed to reflect the pointillist style of traditional African body painting.
This body paint theme is most strikingly represented on the left shoulder, where the technique is used in a series of swirls in bands of black, red and green – the colours of the Kenyan flag, separated by white stripes.
Completing the Kenyan flag motif on the left sleeve is a Maasai shield, which on the flag represents the defence of the country’s freedom.
The body of the jersey continues the African body paining theme with a large motif of a lion’s head across the front and back of the jersey. The African lion is of course the symbol of the Kenyan Rugby Union, but is also an animal that has strong associations with Kenyan culture, representing the courage of the country’s people.
We really love it when a designer really dives deep into the culture and history of a team they’re designing kit for, and this is Samurai’s most successful attempt at this yet – a unique and cool pair of designs for a unique and cool team.