International showcase for Nike designer
International sporting events, such as this summer's Olympics and the European Championships, are the pinnacle for every sportsperson but it's also a special time for those working behind the scenes, including a graduate of the University for the Creative Arts (UCA).
Sean Pankhurst, who studied BA (Hons) Fashion Design at UCA Rochester, is the man behind the Nike football kits worn by Brazil and USA at London 2012 and Portugal, Holland, France and Croatia at Euro 2012.
Sean, who is 31 and from Rye, East Sussex, said: "It's really nice to see your work worn by players and fans at the world's biggest football tournaments.
"I'm a perfectionist so I always notice the things that I wished I had changed first, but once I get over that, it is satisfying when you see so many people appreciating something you created.
"I never get used to seeing people like Cristiano Ronaldo wearing my designs and I think it's important to stay that way because we should never forget what the players' uniform means to the fans, players and federations - it should be taken very seriously."
Sean, who, quickly worked his way up the ladder at Nike: from creating club strips for Barcelona, Inter Milan and Juventus to the international federations that the world has seen at London 2012 and Euro 2012 this summer.
It is the dream job for someone who has wanted to make football kits since he was seven-years-old.
Sean explained: "Designing football kits is what I've always wanted to do. I specifically went to college and university to study clothing design to get a job making football kits, which really worried my Careers Adviser at school.
"My time at UCA helped me understand the different techniques, styles and influences that fashion has on all walks of life and so I began to broaden my horizons.
"I found fashion design interesting but it didn't come natural to me. However, I held my own and funnily enough ended up working at Debenhams for four years, founding their Mantaray fashion brand along the way. But Nike called me up one day and the rest is history."
Sean works with a graphic designer to create the international football kits that millions of people see on TV and wear on the street.
"I am a Product Designer, so my expertise lies in choosing the fabric, designing its structure, choosing where seams are placed, how the collar is constructed, what pattern or details that might be placed on the kit.
"The most important thing is giving the design a direction - an identity that the fans can believe in. Football supporters are very passionate and you have to create a kit that connects them with the team - it can be rooted in the club's history or highlight a more modern angle - but ultimately the kit represents the fans and the club and we have to design something that they're proud to wear."
Sean studied BA (Hons) Fashion Design at UCA Rochester between 1999 and 2002. After a year at Crewsaver Sportwear in Portsmouth straight out of university, he moved to Debenhams in 2003 before moving to Nike's European headquarters in 2007.
For more information contact:
David Reilly, Press Officer, UCA
T: 01252 892939