Behind the scenes ⁠⁠📸

A sneak peek of Malcom's time in the Sportstyle Footwear department at PUMA

April 16, 2024

A sneak peek of Malcom's time in the Sportstyle Footwear department at PUMA

April 16, 2024

Organised through an initiative between PUMA and BubblegumX, the young designer from South Africa shares a behind the scenes look into his internship here at PUMA. After going through a rigorous voting and selection process, Malcom’s work stood out from the rest. Here at PUMA, he shared his insights, inspirations, and experiences as a brand owner to bring a fresh perspective to the Sportstyle Footwear Department.

What department were you in and what were your tasks here at PUMA?

Malcom: I worked in PUMA’s Sports Style Footwear team. I created mood boards, brainstormed design ideas, put together detailed tech plans, and picked out colors and materials. In short I helped make the ideas that we had come to life.

What do you think made you stand out from the other contestants that ultimately led to you being selected for the program?

Malcom: My experiences and knowledge in the South African fashion industry makes me stand out. I’ve gathered valuable insights into how to not only create great products but also generate demand for them. What truly sets me apart is my unwavering passion for weaving meaningful narratives that celebrate and preserve the rich tapestry of South African culture. This passion drives me to constantly push the envelope of creativity and originality in whatever I create.

Could you give us some insight on what initially attracted you to the opportunity to come and work at PUMA?

Malcom:  What really drew me to the opportunity to join PUMA was the brand’s longstanding support for Refuse clothing. Through various interactions at fashion shows where PUMA sponsored footwear and collaborative editorial shoots, my admiration for the brand grew. I’ve had the desire to collaborate with PUMA for some time, and this opportunity was the perfect chance. Moreover, the chance to work alongside industry experts and leaders, immersing myself in the latest trends and developments within the sportstyle industry, was incredibly appealing. I saw it as an opportunity to challenge my perspective, broaden my horizons, and explore new creative possibilities within the sportstyle industry.



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You have your own brand, right? Can you tell us a bit about it? Is there anything that you felt like you were able to bring to PUMA as a brand owner?

Malcom: As the owner of Refuse Clothing, a South African-based menswear brand known for its fusion of African aesthetics with modern design, I brought a unique perspective to PUMA. With a strong foundation in South African culture, our brand incorporates traditional Nguni (Zulu) textures and prints into a range of ready-to-wear pieces, spanning from graphic branded clothing to finely crafted collections. Our street-ready designs often feature distinctive all-over prints alongside more minimalist styles, garnering recognition for their quality within the streetwear blogosphere. By joining PUMA, I aimed to infuse this rich cultural heritage and innovative design ethos into collaborative projects, offering fresh perspectives and enriching the brand’s creative landscape.


Malcom shares that his brand ‘Refuse,’ draws inspiration from his early experiences thrifting as a student, where he discovered the potential for sustainable fashion. Each piece in his collection is hand-made for durability and promotes eco-awareness. ‘Refuse’ symbolizes rebellion against waste and neglect, infusing new life into vintage garments with vivid colors and gender-neutral cuts. With Afrofuturistic themes, his designs envision a sustainable future where cultural heritage shapes a new world.

My time at PUMA has been a truly educational experience that has given me priceless knowledge about the many facets of brand ownership. It has specifically taught me the value of patience in navigating the industry.  My experience as a brand owner has also been greatly enhanced by my immersion in the world of sportstyle design, exposure to a variety of marketing strategies, and involvement with brand innovation. These insights have improved my understanding of the market and given me the ability to approach brand management from a more strategic and knowledgeable standpoint.

Malcom, PUMA Intern


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