Thebe Magugu shares the inspiration behind the new Orlando Pirates kit

Thebe Magugu, the designer behind the new Orlando Pirates kit.

Thebe Magugu, the designer behind the new Orlando Pirates kit.

Published Jul 20, 2023


Partnered with Adidas, internationally-acclaimed fashion designer Thebe Magugu has ventured into sports.

As such, he has designed the Home and Away jerseys for the 2023/24 season for Orlando Pirates.

But some Buccaneer supporters took to Twitter to express their dislike for the kit before fully understanding the reason(s) behind it.

The new Orlando Pirates x Thebe Magugu 23/24 range consists of two designs: a Home jersey (black) and an Away jersey (pistachio green).

Both feature the legendary Orlando Pirates skull and crossbow logo re-imagined to incorporate a captivating maze pattern. The jersey rounds off with a Thebe Magugu back-neck sign-off and a unique raised crest.

The multi award-winning designer says he had to bring back the Pirates history when designing the kit.

“I felt like it was important to hear the Orlando Pirates story before I began designing. A tale of perseverance, fighting against odds to become one of the most recognised figureheads in global sports.

“This idea of persistence is why I decided to treat the iconic skull logo as a maze. To symbolise the long and winding journey the team has travelled to land them here.”

The new Orlando Pirates kit.

Thandi Merafe, Media and PR manager at Orlando Pirates, is pleased with the collaboration that showcases creative innovation from the continent on a global stage.

“A football jersey stands as a powerful emblem of pride and togetherness, binding Buccaneers from diverse backgrounds into a unified force.

“As we set forth on a new football season that includes the CAF Champions League, we carry Thebe Magugu’s exceptional creation on our shoulders, a true testament to our proudly South African identity and unity.”

The designer known for drawing inspiration from things that make South Africa a unique country has never boxed himself in, hence this sports collaboration doesn’t come as a surprise.

To him, it’s another way of playing around with his creativity and exploring other industries using his first love – fashion.

“Global sport is a phenomenon that will continue to rise. It’s fascinating to see other industries align uniquely to become a part of it – from music to luxury fashion.

“My brand is all about exploring and bringing to light unique facets of our history and culture and none has left more of an impact than the legacy of Orlando Pirates, and I am honoured to contribute so significantly to that history,” he says.

Also, one thing that fashion and sport have in common is that they both unite people. And since football is a big part of the South African culture, it was only fitting that one of South Africa’s most respected football clubs collaborates with one of South Africa’s most successful fashion designers.

“Football is a unifier – people from very diverse backgrounds, races, religions and beliefs are all bound in their common love of the phenomenon. It brings out passion, love, hurt – things that speak to the human condition.

“For this reason, I think global sports is an important societal pillar; it reminds us of our humanity,” Magugu adds.

Thebe Magugu.

It is not the first time the football club has collaborated with a young South African creative.

In May, they partnered with interior designer Latoyah Mei, for the design of the new Orlando Pirates-themed rooms at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Johannesburg Melrose Arch.

Orlando Pirates x Thebe Magugu 23/24 drops on July 27.