Fans up the football fashion game

2010-06-22 08:09

Replica football shirts, face paint and woolly scarves – that’s

just so last season. When it comes to World Cup fashion, the 2010 tournament in

South Africa has taken the game to another level.

The country which gave the world the buzzing vuvuzela – easily

2010’s biggest and noisiest newsmaker – has seen its standard colourful match

gear of oversized glasses, revamped helmets and afro wigs sweep across

stadiums.

But some fans have also turned to extra touches to back the

national Bafana Bafana team despite its battle to stay in the tournament.

Tammy Lefebure ran up a pair of skin hugging green and yellow

cotton lycra leggings with “South Africa” emblazoned in gold across the rear and

a flag on the thigh in less than 20 minutes.

The 24-year-old Cape Town local said while dancing at the city’s

fanpark: “I think my butt is all over the internet already because so many

people have taken pictures.”

The inspiration? “I wanted something different that would stand

out.”

Mexican fans with wrestlers’ togs, Japanese dressed as samurais and

Englishmen dressed as knights of the crusade have all won plaudits for their

sense of fun and imagination.

But the hosts are determined not to be outdone on home soil.

Siv Ngesi, whose head-to-toe outfit had car mirror socks around his

ankles, fingerless gloves and four small instruments around his neck, said:

“Anything that has the South African colours is on. I don’t even like soccer, I

just love South Africa.”

The football fever has been picked up elsewhere. Ahead of kick off,

South African designers interpreted fan gear with items like cheeky cheerleader

outfits and flag t-shirts.

And a furniture chain also brought out a limited edition sofa in

the bright colours of the South African flag.

In the stands at local matches, supporter kit can range from

church-like robes to home-made coffins for rival teams.

Craig Fraser recently said about his photo book Soccer Chic: “In

South Africa football fans are very unique. I mean, there is a different

culture. I haven’t seen it anywhere else in the world.

“I think the rest of the world are literally going to be blown

away. They cannot experience this anywhere else in the world.”

Apart from the ubiquitous vuvuzela, South Africa’s makarapas –

revamped mining helmets with unique protruding decorations – have also been

taken up.

The hats grew out of a shack workshop in the east of Johannesburg

after Alfred Baloyi transformed a hard hat to protect himself from hurling

missiles at a local football match in 1979.

His northern Johannesburg studio now hires 54 people and his

website reported 70 000 hits in the first two and a half weeks of June.

Hosting Africa’s first World Cup has inspired much pride 16 years

after the end of apartheid and after years of doubts about South Africa’s

ability to host the event.

For white South Africans, it has also been a cross-cultural journey

to support a sport that has long been classified as a black game.

Frans Hiemstra (22), whose full supporter gear included a makarapa,

said: “You have to have one of these hats. It’s just the culture and the thing

is we’ve embraced the culture. Actually it’s a bit new for me. I wasn’t a

massive soccer fan before the World Cup but I’m one of the biggest soccer fans

now. And I love it.”



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