Gearing up to introduce their latest campaign, ‘Play to Inspire’, Pepsi have recruited Golden Cabane to create a pair of special edition jerseys that sit seamlessly alongside the promotional material.

Pepsi continue their tradition of football-based campaigns, once again drawing on their rich list of athletes including Leo Messi, Paul Pogba, with Lucy Bronze joining the team along with returning Pepsi alumni, Ronaldinho. They’re all on board and alongside members of the “Pepsi Collective,” a curated group of vibrant up-and-coming talent from around the globe for the ‘Play to Inspire’ campaign, which celebrates the changemakers driving football’s present and future – on and off the pitch. 

‘Play to Inspire’ leverages its global scale to introduce the world to ambitious creatives with unique talent and inspiring stories, with purposeful intent to drive those with equal passion that anything is within reach. Ronaldinho said of the campaign: I am so happy to be back in a Pepsi jersey again! I love that this campaign is all about inspiring the next generation of football talent and playing the passion forward.

Pepsi is the entertainment beat of football. We champion talent both on and off the pitch, always looking to bring unique, exciting campaigns that the world loves to see and be part of,” said Pepsi Senior Director, Global Marketing, Michael Walford. “This year, we’re recognising the beautiful game as it is today – from the iconic to the up and coming – celebrating how everyone is building the game together.

As well as the Pepsi Collective members, designer Golden Cabane was also brought on board to create a pair of beautifully bespoke, retro-infused special edition jerseys to support the campaign, and we caught up with the good folk from the creative lab to get their take on working on a project like this and seeing Ronaldinho, of all people, in their creation.

You’ve done some incredible things but the last few years, your work has seriously turned heads. What do you think has caught attention so well in the work you’re producing? 

Thanks so much! To hear that from SoccerBible, it's an honour! What has caught people's attention is maybe doing reworks on garments that are not usually used for upcycling. The other thing is maybe re-branding and playing with existing brand logos – I love this creative process as it gives you freedom, and pays tribute at the same time.

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Talk us through the Pepsi link up – firstly what’s it like when a brand like that approaches you?

I'm so grateful for the opportunity with Pepsi, and I feel like this is a reward of hard work. Pepsi is more than a worldwide known brand, it's embedded in pop culture. We all know the soft drink and I think everyone at some point in their life has watched a Pepsi ad or a Superbowl halftime show.

Where did your mind go instantly when the thought of designing football shirts was mentioned?

I got really excited but then I had to quickly keep my cool! I was ready for the challenge and it was amazing to think I was designing a football shirt that Ronaldinho was going to wear. I've been a big Brazil and PSG fan since I was a kid, and so it's been a dream come true – the whole experience has been amazing.

What did you want to get across with these designs? Can you tell us about the details you’re most proud of?

I'm so proud that the football shirt designs reflect both the Pepsi and Golden Cabane creative direction. I really appreciate that the Pepsi team trusted me on the retro design – I think retro references are comforting in an unstable and changing world. I really like the big, bold retro Pepsi logo - it's iconic! The badge that features on the jerseys includes hidden references to Ronaldinho's previous teams, and the collar detail is influenced by vintage 70's style. I'm excited for everyone to see the jerseys featured in the upcoming campaign content.

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There’s something unique about a football shirt, how would you describe the power they have?

Football shirts have the power of reuniting. They materialise the idea that unity is strength!

The Pepsi logo is so prominent on this one – it’s almost like a South American 90s shirt, such a strong statement. Where did you lean into for inspiration?

I think it came organically as I'm a 90's generation kid! And you're right, when the idea of a Pepsi football shirt design was mentioned, I had the Boca Junior one in my mind straight away! Some other football jerseys like Club Deportivo El Nacional Ecuador also inspired me. I looked into Pepsi archives and remembered the 2000's, this famous TV ad that featured Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Beckham, Veron and so many other great players. I wanted to reimagine the jersey styles that featured in these early ads, bringing a retro 90's cut and unique design details into 2022.

How do you like to push forward through your designs? How does this jersey do that for you?

I like using retro football shirts as a template. To me they're like plain canvas. Existing colours, prints and logo designs can be reinvented. I used the same process for these jerseys by incorporating the Pepsi color palette too.

It’s incredibly wearable too – how much do you think about the off pitch environment rather than the on pitch one when designing a piece like this?

I'm creating pieces I would love to wear myself so I'm consciously designing pieces having a wearable potential. What's the difference between a polo and a football shirt except the fabric?

What’s the future of football shirt design going to look like for you?

I'm working on my own football shirts but can't say more at the moment. Stay tuned...

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Check out more of Golden Cabane's work here.

Photography by SoccerBible.