BA (Hons) Fashion Sportswear students Jessica Amaral, Araba Dennis and Inbal Erez recently impressed PUMA representatives with their entries for the PUMA Pride Carnaby x LCF competition. They were challenged to explore the themes of Pride and football combined, with the aim of embracing Pride's values and open a broader discussion with PUMA's customers around inclusivity in the football world. Students designed a football patch that could be heat transferred onto jerseys in the PUMA Carnaby store.
After hearing the news about some teams in the world cup being fined for homophobic chanting, Fashion Sportswear student Jessica Amaral entered PUMA's competition, as she felt it’s “important that teams set standards to remove discrimination from this sport." On a more personal level, student Inbal Erez thought the competition was an opportunity to contemplate what Pride meant to her:
For me, Pride goes further than just being proud of who you are, regardless of skin colour or sexuality. Pride is the general acceptance of others and embracing the essence of yourself.
The winners had their work showcased at PUMA’s pop-up event at their Carnaby Street store in London. As a first year student, Inbal found that winning the competition “was an extraordinary experience” which made her realise "the enormous power that fashion has over our society and its ability to shape our way of thinking."
Her design was inspired by the concept of universal communication and global language which brings fluidity to our modern world. Her research focused on sign language and personal branding informing her own values in co-creation processes, as she explained: “You should create your own standards and make your own you, according to what you value. We all ‘speak human’ and communicate with each other no matter where we come from, or what language we speak — there are no limitations when crafting your own image.”
In contrast, Jessica’s concept was influenced by historical events and drew from the poem Two Loves by Lord Alfred Douglas. Jessica wanted her design to reflect the courage of key figures in LGBTQ history when standing up against prejudice: "I created my design as a mark of respect for the struggles these communities have faced, but also highlight that we still have work to do in tackling discriminatory behaviours."
A limited run of the winning designs were sold to the public. "The fact I got to sell my designs through PUMA made me feel very proud and gave true meaning to my creations. It was a great opportunity to convey the strong message that we are all the same,” said Inbal. For each jersey sold, PUMA made a donation to the not-for-profit-campaign Football v Homophobia which challenges discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression at all levels in football.