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AFL Saints march in with student-designed guernsey

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Saints march in with student-designed guernsey

Two student designers will be excited more than most when St Kilda AFL players take the field at Westpac Stadium, Wellington for their Anzac Day match against the Brisbane Lions – they designed the players’ guernsey.

Kahu Douglas and Jason Sheardown received the commission to design St Kilda’s 2014 Anzac Day match sleeveless playing top (known as a guernsey) through Open Lab, the design research studio at Massey’s College of Creative Arts in Wellington. Students at Open Lab are paid for their work and experience a genuine commercial design environment while being mentored by recent graduates and college staff.

Ms Douglas, who completed her Bachelor of Design (Honours) at the end of 2013, and Mr Sheardown, who is in his final year, say their contemporary Maori design emphasises the links between New Zealand and Australia using authentic motifs.

The students and their mentors started by exploring symbolic meaning from a number of relevant Maori myths. From there, the designers abstracted motifs such as the mangopare (hammerhead shark), the Tumatauenga (god of war) and Te Ika a Māui (the fish hook of Maui).

Open Lab Director Anna Brown says the designs incorporated specific themes.

“The themes in the design focus on the ideas of ‘shared waters’ and the Anzac journey, which are represented with strong, simple base form and further elaborated upon through the line work.”

Ms Douglas who studied at Monash University in Melbourne before transferring to Massey says the design is centred on a plunging white oar shape. The back of the guernsey shows the merging paths or journeys of the Anzacs and the two neighbouring nations.

“We were encouraged to incorporate the story-telling element into the design while retaining St Kilda’s traditional colours. Over here it’s a new brand but you still want people to recognise that it is the St Kilda team.”

For Mr Sheardown the challenge was to help design a concept for a game or team he previously knew little about.

“It made it more of a challenge especially trying to take traditional New Zealand design and make it into something representative of both countries. However, I think that this tension is what made the experience all the more engaging.”

St Kilda’s General Manager – Commercial Projects Ben Davies says the design team at Massey University worked hard to create something powerful and inspiring that the team could wear proudly on Anzac Day. “It is such a significant day between our two countries and this is quite a unique platform to acknowledge this relationship.”

To celebrate the AFL match on Friday April 25 tickets for students are being offered at $15 each. Book at Pre-match activities start at 7pm.

To view a video about the story of the St Kilda AFL team’s Anzac Day guernsey go to


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