The union between streetwear and Esports is a no-brainer, hence why you are seeing so many collaborations sprouting up. Streetwear pioneer Jeff Staple who helped design the 2020 Overwatch League’s kit, talked about how the union came to be.
In celebration of the upcoming 2020 Overwatch League Grand Finals, HYPEBEAST spoke with Staple. In the interview, he spoke about coming on board to design the league’s jerseys and how it was a no-brainer, being that he loves video games and is a fan of OWL. Staple revealed how welcomed he was by OWL and impressed with the phenomenon that is the Overwatch League.
“When the Overwatch League got in touch, they really welcomed me in with open arms and walked me through the phenomenon that was occurring, and I was absolutely floored.”
Staple continued that he wanted to point out despite just sitting down and competitively playing video games, Esports athletes do have their own set of challenges just like any other athlete and how he took that into consideration when designing the jerseys.
“I want people to realize that professional Esports athletes have some very interesting challenges: their bodies are sitting in a heavily air-conditioned room for hours at a time. At the same time, there are areas that experience extremely high-frequency rapid movements — like the hands, wrists, forearms, neck, and head. So balancing all of these elements is one of the things I was most proud of in seeing this project come to life.”
Further, into the interview, which also featured L.A. Gladiators’ star Indy “Space” Halpern, Staple broke down the process that went into designing the jerseys and how it differs from making streetwear.
“When it comes to designing fashion pieces, the trend and style come first. The functionality of streetwear is relatively straightforward for us. A tee is a tee. A hoodie is a hoodie. It doesn’t change much year to year. But when I began designing jerseys, especially for a professional league, the functionality and performance elements come first and foremost.”
“Two other things come to mind: comfort and flexibility. The styling and fit had to be comfortable. The new kits feature elevated fabrics, premium graphic applications, new side gussets for adjustable comfort, and a fit that is engineered to increase quality and wearability while gaming. No one wants to sit for hours at a time in tight-fitting, constricted clothing. It’s similar to when you’re going to be on a flight. You want to be comfortable, breathable, yet warm where needed.”
“On the fitting side, Esports athletes are also unique because, in other sports, body types are much more consistent and inline. Basketball players vs. football players vs. soccer players tend to have consistent physiques. But Esports players come in all shapes, sizes, and genders. So we had to make kits that could accommodate everyone’s needs.”
Staple closed out the interview by saying the coming together of gaming life and real-life “inevitable” while breaking down how he designed the OWL’s jerseys to stand out from regular sports jerseys by providing teams the ability to personalize their looks.
Based on what we witnessed at last year’s OWL Grand Finals, the players are very cognizant of their drip when they take the stage. Having someone like Jeff Staple on board to design their jerseys is a match made in heaven.
Photo: Blizzard / Overwatch League