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Xenith helmet created by former Cass Tech player Ndubsi Okoye.
Detroit’s Month of Design celebration in September of 2018 provided an opportunity for two worlds to collide: Detroit, an international UNESCO City of Design and Xenith, a Detroit-based designer of athletic gear for the football player.
Xenith designed an experience titled “Under the Lights” where local Detroit artists collaborated with Detroit Public Schools Community District football programs to create one-of-a-kind helmets reflecting the unique culture and heritage of each football community. The helmets were displayed to the public as part of the Light Up Livernois event on Detroit’s Avenue of Fashion.
In addition to the helmet exhibition, the festive evening included sculpture installations, a DJ, a flame-thrower experience triggered by football toss, and a live performance by the legendary Cass Tech high school marching band. A multi-cultural and immersive experience, the evening provided something for everyone to enjoy and uniquely brought together sports and the arts.
For artist Ndubisi Okoye, the project provided a unique opportunity. As a graduate and former football player at Cass Tech high school, as well as graduate of Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, Ndubisi embodies the spirit of the Under the Lights event. “Being a part of this collaboration means, my life coming full circle,” said Okoye. His insights into the culture of Cass Tech’s program, as well as connection to current athletes and coaching staff resulted in an amazing work of art the school proudly displays today.
The helmet designed for Detroit’s Martin Luther King high school community incorporated elements of the team’s past, present and future. One side of the helmet featured the Hit Squad mantra core to the team’s mindset, while the other paid homage to King’s legacy by featuring an “E”, reflecting King’s predecessor high school, Detroit Eastern. King head coach Tyrone Spencer said, “The helmet that was created has been really special to us at King high school. Our alumni loves the look and it really signifies the uniqueness of being Eastern High and Martin Luther King together.” After King won the state championship in 2018, the helmet was prominently featured in community celebrations honoring the program.
As a design-led brand, events such as this one provide an opportunity for Xenith to stretch our brand and capabilities to create a cultural experience in our hometown. The opportunity to bring together artists and the football community is a source of pride for our entire organization.
Xenith would like to thank our partners and collaborators on the Light Up Livernois experience, including Make Art Work, Design Core Detroit, Detroit Public Schools Community District, and College for Creative Studies.
See some of our favorite photos below: