The fighting spirit of East Anglia’s ancient tribal warriors will live on in an exciting new elite sports kit forged by a student designer.
The Iron-age Boudica-inspired drawings will be emblazoned on the Essex Rebels’ basketball and volleyball uniform for the new season after a crunch competition.
Drawing on two-thousand-year-old Roman-era artefacts on display in Colchester Castle, the striking and intricate inking snakes up the red and black Kappa vests and shorts.
Designed by University Centre Colchester student Tamsin Woodhouse, 23, the motif ties the teams to the region’s rich history – as Colchester was once the capital of Roman Britain and the nation’s first city. She aimed to link the teams to the East Anglian warrior tribes who defied the invading Romans, culminating in Iceni queen, Boudica, destroying Colchester –then known as Camulodunum.
Now thousands of fans will see her work modelled by professional players when they run out at The Essex Arena for the first tip-offs and serves of the new season in October.
Fashion and Printed Textiles graduate Tamsin said: “Putting Colchester’s history at the forefront of my design, motifs were developed using Celtic artefacts within Colchester Castle’s incredible collection as inspiration. Motifs were developed as an outline to give the kit a striking look, with the aim of resembling the Rebels’ origins and living up to their team’s name. I am honoured to design a surface pattern for a local sports kit, it means a lot to see my work on a team so close to home. This experience has encouraged me to not only look for roles as a fashion and textile graduate in surface print design but look for roles designing for sportswear.”
The work has been praised by Tamsin’s teacher Stephen Ellison, after the competition saw his students compete to create a new design for the Rebels. He said: “The team are really pleased with the design and is excited to see them when produced. It is an exciting time for women’s sport at the moment, in light of England’s women’s football team victory in the European Championships. The Women’s British Basketball League is currently in the midst of a ground-breaking era, with record attendances at arenas across the country and fans tuning in to watch the best of action on Sky Sports each week.”
For the first time this season Essex Rebels will compete in the national volleyball super leagues after the franchise expanded to take in an exciting second sport. The men’s and women’s basketball teams compete in the Men’s National Basketball Division 1 and Women’s British Basketball League.
Dr Dave Parry, Director of Sport, said “We wanted our new kits to have a connection to our local area, and to be inspired by Boudica, who features on our team logo, and her role in the most famous rebellion in British history.
“Tamsin has produced a really striking and attractive design, that also allows us to tell the story of the history of Colchester, and we’ve been really fortunate, with the support of Colchester Institute, to find such a talented young designer. Our basketball and volleyball teams will look resplendent as they take to the court, and we hope the kits will be a conversation starter, as well as a fan favourite in our merchandise range.”
Cllr Pam Cox, Portfolio Holder for Culture & Heritage, said: “The Rebels’ new kit, beautifully conceived by the talented Tamsin Woodhouse, emblazons a striking homage to Colchester’s fabled origins. “I’m thrilled and delighted Tamsin was able to draw inspiration from Colchester Castle’s precious Romano-British collection to such dazzling effect.”