Death, tax evasion and national team flags being used as capes and makeshift blouses – these are the constants of global soccer. And yet for all the creatively draped flags worldwide, we still haven’t seen anything quite like this.
Friend & Fam of KTTP Raymond An took a sewing machine and over $3000 US dollar’s worth of officially-licensed World Cup kit paraphernalia and pieced together the most loving reinterpretation of the South Korean flag, AKA “Taegukgi,” in recent history.
“I needed a Korean flag to take to Russia. I just moved to LA from the DMV and left my flag back at my home… Jerseys are always on my mind, and I wanted to create a flag, rather than buying one, to be a bit different than the rest.”
Stitched together from 31 of the 32 participating nations of the World Cup (He’s still looking for a Denmark kit) the fabric and crest of each national team is sewn into a portion of the larger tapestry of the red, white blue and black of the Republic of Korea.
His purpose for the creation of the flag is two-fold. The first is to conduct a genuine cultural exchange with the global soccer community and enhance Korea’s standing in it.
“I wanted to do whatever I can to raise more awareness for friends of mine as well as the general public around the world that Korea is well represented in the World Cup by its fans.”
While the second does not mince words when it comes to challenging Korean football fans to a more holistic and active approach to supporting than just tuning in for the World Cup.
“The hope here is to turn heads into our direction with this unique flag and convert these heads into actual fans for years to come… Korean football culture has a long way to go and I would bluntly say that our football culture sucks. Our culture is based on results and there aren’t as many passionate fans as other nations. Hopefully, this flag will inspire fellow Koreans out there to see it more as a way of life.”
The passion for global soccer takes on even greater meaning when Ray talks in his native language of kit design. With his credits at Guerrilla FC, Ray’s rendition of the Taegukgi is a living homage to the kits that boast design as unique as its representative footballing culture; each patch a purposeful effort to display those who deserve the shine more prominently, “Jerseys with distinctive patterns on their shirts like the ones in Belgium, Argentina, Germany and especially Nigeria to be shown visibly on the flag.”
A flag is our most visceral symbol. They are created to immediately evoke a people, a government, and its culture. It is a reminder — even amidst some of the negative ideals and notions conjured by FIFA and the World Cup — that many can become one.
In the spirit of global soccer culture, a phrase from across the pond seems apt. You’ve covered yourself in glory, Raynaldinho. We’ll be sure to leave our capes at home.
Keep up with Ray with #FollowtheFlag. And if you’ve got a Denmark jersey, please reach out to the man directly – he brought his sewing machine to Russia.