21 Oct 2014

Meerkatsu Art - The Zodiac gi by 93 Brand

I designed a gi for the US company 93 Brand. It is called The Zodiac and features a 350gsm pearlweave gi top, 10oz ripstop pants, interior yoke panel plus customers get to choose from any of the twelve circular zodiac patches. The patches will be sewn onto the gi in a position of the customer's choosing.

The gi is released 1pm EST on 23rd October only at www.rollmore.com

Here I write more about the background to this gi concept and offer a closer look in detail at the gi itself...

Star signs are just a bit of silly fun right? I mean some people take astrology very seriously, but most folk I know see them as a bit of harmless fun. Like it or not, everyone has a star sign. Even if you refuse to acknowledge astrology, you can't deny that certain star groupings in the night sky are commonly known by their zodiac names. Hence, the basis for my concept, the zodiac gi - a BJJ uniform inspired by the night sky constellations.

I pitched the idea to 93 Brand, knowing full well that it would be a very ambitious project both for me to design and for 93 Brand to manufacture and administer the extended inventory of twelve different patch designs.

The patches
Before I move on to the gi specifications, I want to go over each zodiac sign patch. The entire set took me roughly 3 months of constant working including revisions and corrections requested by 93 Brand. A couple of years ago I wrote and illustrated a BJJ zodiac article for Jiu Jitsu Magazine
which was a lot of fun but for these patches, the art direction was to make the depictions a little less cartoony that the JJMagazine versions. The end result, I feel, is a very consistent set of patches that still depict each star sign in the style of art that I enjoy portraying.

The patches can also be purchased separately.

In most cases, the star sign was an obvious choice to depict ie the animal ones. Other signs took a bit more thinking and in those cases, I tried to offer something that was BJJ related. Libra for example shows two pairs of nogi fighters balancing on scales. Aquarius the water bearer is holding a flask using a wrestling grip and wears fight shorts. Gemini and Virgo are wearing gis while Sagittarius is a more straightforward centaur with a bow and arrow. I actually wanted to draw him performing a bow and arrow choke but it ended up looking too cartoony. Cancer (my birth sign) was based on the Japanese crab species known as the Heike. You simply have to Google these crazy looking crustaceans - they look exactly like samurai face masks!

The Jacket
93 Brand based The Zodiac on a very lightweight gi top (350gsm) with a ripstop collar. The interior yoke panel is lined with my zodiac artwork on a synthetic rashguard-like material. Cuff and inside jacket is lined with branded taping and the shoulders are decorated with a slim woven patch.

Woven shoulder patch design

Screen printed interior artwork

Dye sublimated artwork onto synthetic yoke panel

Comfy cuff lined tape and cool starry side vent tape

The pants are a very lightweight 10oz ripstop cotton. They remind me a lot of the Scramble Athlete pants.

Ripstop pants, knee lining down to base

Rope drawstring, starry side vent tape

Very light ripstop material

Designed by Meerkatsu

I'm very proud to release this gi design. It was a long time in the conception stage but I hope you'll agree the end result is a very smart looking gi. The bonus that it can be customised with a zodiac patch of your choice makes it just a little bit more personal for the wearer.

The Zodiac will be released only on www.rollmore.com at 1pm EST October 23rd.

Enjoy and may the stars forever be in your favour!

About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.



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