Adidas and New Zealand Rugby (NZR) have paid homage to both Maori and Japanese cultures, with the unveiling of the new All Blacks jersey for Rugby World Cup 2019.
Designed by Y-3, the collaboration label between adidas and legendary Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto, who is world renowned for his striking, avant-garde designs. “We wanted to create a jersey that brought together the Japanese and Maori cultures,” said Yamamoto.
“The design bears hand-drawn koru and fern motifs in a celebration of Maori culture. It has been a privilege to work on such a major project and I wish the team the best of luck in the tournament.”
New Zealand Rugby’s Kaihautū (Maori Advisor) Luke Crawford, who gave adidas advice on Maori design, said: “The fern design represents the legacy of those players who have worn the jersey in the past, while the unfurling koru represents the younger players coming through – the All Blacks of the future. We think Y-3 have really captured the mauri(essence) of what the All Blacks jersey stands for and how it represents us, and created a truly beautiful garment.”
Taking on the innovative design of the most recent All Blacks jersey, the key technological elements of the RWC2019 design include the use of seamless, woven technology. The jersey’s construction was fully automated which aims to provide an unparalleled fit, strength and speed, and is 25 percent lighter than previous designs.
As with previous Rugby World Cup jerseys, the RWC trophy is embossed on the right sleeve acknowledging the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup successes in 1987, 2011 and 2015. The RWC2019 logo is on the right of the chest, which sees the adidas badge move to the centre of the jersey. The All Blacks silver fern logo remains on the left-hand side of the jersey, while the all black collar returns for the Rugby World Cup.
All Blacks Captain Kieran Read said: “We’re all really excited ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Japan. It’s always special pulling on the All Blacks jersey, and to wear one that has used our culture to inspire the design will be especially cool.”
Taking inspiration from the Maori concept of kaitiaki (guardianship) and the Japanese fuko neko (lucky cat), the Y-3 team has designed a mythical cat figure which will adorn the back of the training jersey.
Yohji Yamamoto is one of the most influential creators of the past 40 years with respect to traditional clothing codes and his intellectual approach to design. He learned how to preserve his independence in the fashion industry, which allowed him to express himself freely in his uncompromising creations and collaborations with the same spirit.