We Want a Bit of Naija! Pete Hoppins talks about the Nigeria jersey
In case you have not seen it already, the Nigeria kit, also called the Naija kit, has been a runaway success for Nike and for the Nigeria team. Senior Nike Design Director, Toffee Club owner and England fan Pete Hoppins recently talked with Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl on his World Futbal podcast. Here are a few highlights from the talk as well as a link at the bottom of this article to the full and very interesting interview.
So what’s the story on the Naija kit?
Click here to read about the marketing of the jersey and the musical influences Nike used to create something the newest generation of Nigerian football fans would love. Keep reading below to hear Pete talk about the two year process that led to the beautiful, colorful, timely and stylish jerseys, warm up gear and fashion pieces.
Grant pointed out that the energy of the jersey was very much like Fela Kuti. Pete agreed and pointed out that the latest generation in Lagos especially are influenced by Skeptic and Starboy which is why they were part of the discussion when the kit was tested.
Pete talks about the popularity of the Naija jersey, “It has taken us by surprise. It’s a two year design process. (We are now doing our 2020 Euro designs.)The Naiji kit started with a design team that wanted to do something different. We looked for a football federation we could take risks with and change the aesthetics and cultural reference point for football. We chose Nigeria. England has to be white. Brazil has to be yellow, but Nigeria has a football federation who were open to doing something new. We also have to think about the new innovations in fabric and then decide on the story we want to tell.”
Pete then talked with Grant about a documentary that traces the history of the football jersey.
Pete continues, “There’s a shift now where football is becoming a lifestyle in terms of design. It’s like the basketball and skateboard culture of the 80s and 90s. The tipping point has definitely been the Nigeria kit at this world cup. It’s a cultural explosion.”
Grant then asked Pete if other federations now want a bit of the Nigeria kit magic. He said, “Oh yes! They are all saying WE WANT A BIT OF THE NAIJA!”
Click here to listen to the full interview with Pete Hoppins on Grant Wahl’s Planet Football podcast. Pete’s interview starts at minute 17. Make sure you let Grant know you like the interview!
Cheers, Team Toffee
Join use for Nigeria v. Argentina at 11 on Tuesday at the Toffee club and check out the warm up kits and game jerseys that have taken the soccer and fashion world by storm.