Rapper and producer Akhenaton, member of IAM, the rap outfit from Marseille that’s one of the biggest groups in French hip-hop for over 20 years now, has collaborated with Argentinian-French sculptor, designer and artist Pablo Reinoso to design the 2012/2013 jersey for Olympique Marseille. And it is awesome.
Back in the day, right wing extremist skinheads would wear bomber jackets with an orange inside. A group of Marseille supporters started wearing the same jackets but wore them with the inside out, to symbolize their opposition against racism and the unity among them, coming from a culturally diverse city as Marseille (affectionately called ‘Planète Mars’ in its local hip-hop culture). This part of Olympique’s club history has inspired a shirt that can be worn on both sides, with the inside of course being orange and featuring a partial lyric of Akhenaton stylized below the neck.
On porte l’azur sur nos épaules comme une seconde peau. Et nos cœurs sont orange comme au couchant sous les flots. Cela veut dire que malgré ce qui nous sépare, on est tous égaux. Les couleurs sont celles de nos valeurs et de nos idéaux.
Which roughly translates as follows:
We carry the blue on our shoulders like a second skin. And our hearts are like orange at sunset beneath the waves. This means that despite what separates us, we are all equal. The colors are those of our values and our ideals.
Besides that, the shirt has the cool feature of the orange shining through through the dark outer mesh when it is stretched, an effect designer Pablo Reinoso likens to ‘glowing embers from within’ when the players are in action.
A very dope shirt with a great message. It’s nice to see how the history of the team and its supporters is incorporated in the design, a result of Adidas obviously taking care in selecting the right people for the job. They took a risk (none of these two are fashion designers, though I’m sure Adidas has some on staff to give a hand when needed) that has paid off where the jersey is concerned, hopefully Olympique Marseille will successfully represent the colors and the meaning bestowed upon them in the coming season.
Akhenaton’s accompanying song ‘Lumières orange’ (Orange Lights) is available on iTunes. Peep the mostly instrumental teaser video for it above.