For weeks now, the Malawi national soccer team, the Flames, has been the talk of the town because of its exploits at the ongoing continental Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament.
Apart from displaying their terrific performance on the field of play, the Flames have been donning a new jersey making them stand out on television.
On The Arts caught up with Kondwani Ryam Banda and Eliam Ndema, the local designers of the jersey to hear more about what inspired them to come up with the design.
Banda said they were happy to see their work sparkling at the continental soccer tournament.
“As an artist, it feels great to see one of my designs shinning at Afcon. Honestly, when I was designing the jersey with my friend Eliam, little did we know that the designs would be chosen and that the Flames would do wonders while wearing them.
“Honestly, I have enjoyed both how the jersey looks and the performance of our players at Afcon,” said the Blantyre-based designer.
Asked about the inspiration to create the Flames’ new kit he said:
“I have always loved graphic designing and regard it as a hobby rather than a career. Of late, I have combined my knowledge and experience in fashion with my graphics designing to venture into apparel design.
“I will be honest with you that I had run out of ideas when I was working on the Flames’ jersey project. So, I decided to take a few minutes break to refresh before I ended up designing the one that our national team is wearing at Afcon.”
He said he decided to post his designs on Twitter where people, including Football Association of Malawi officials noticed.
Banda said: “What really inspired the design was the idea that out national team can truly have a unique strip that represents everything Malawian, including our culture without alienating us from the African heritage.”
He said after that he was approached by the FAM officials and then embarked on the actual assignment of creating a unique jersey that would depict Malawian values.
“We agreed to create a jersey not only by design, but also embracing Malawian brands such as ‘moto’ the flames,” Banda said.
He revealed that this is his first huge commercial apparel design despite doing a number of projects like flyers, book covers, banners, logos, a few T-shirts and golf shirts, stickers, tickets, receipts and other designs.
“It feels surreal. From the moment I embarked on the journey, the trust that Fam gave me, the platform I’ve built, above all, seeing our players making history in that strip, I mean, this is out of this world. It has inspired me to venture into the sportswear designs,” he said.
Apart from the Flames’ jersey the two have also designed the Scorchers’ sportswear which they are sure that FAM will release soon.
On his part, Ndema expressed gratitude to FAM for spotting and utilising their talent in such a project.
“Side note, I know people are confusing us with the manufacturer, but we are different. We are just the designers,” he said.