With the official opening of the Soccer World Cup in June in Brazil, we can predict that the area on and near the pitch will be filled with players and fans wearing short sweatshirts with the word heshbon in Hebrew on the left side, right above the heart. How do we know? It’s simple: Over the past month, well-known soccer players from Europe’s leading teams, including Mario Balotelli, Didier Drogba, Seydou Keita, Eden Hazard and Marco Verratti, have done it. And the numbers are growing.
The reason is the launch of a new Paris brand last month, H’echbone Paris, with that very Hebrew word on the front. The people behind it are Yoan Barouk and Souleymane Kamissoko, two friends from the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles, the former Jewish and the latter, Muslim. Given that information, the word heshbon, which means “account” or “bill” in Hebrew, could be loaded with significance. But it turns out that the birth of the brand was fairly prosaic − it all started on a joint visit by Barouk and Kamissoko to Israel in 2011.
“We were sitting in a restaurant in Tel Aviv and when we were given the heshbon − the bill − Souleymane fell in love with the word, the way it was written and the way it was pronounced, “Barouk says. “When we founded the label last month, it was only natural that we would pick that word.”
The pair put together a small collection of shirts, manufactured them quickly and got a few of their friends involved − soccer stars who had their pictures snapped while wearing the shirts, posted them on Instagram and directed people to their homepage, which is also their sole sales outlet.
|Hechbone Paris co-owner Souleymane Kamissoko, left, with AC Milan star Mario Balotelli.|
It would be nice to see this on fashionable Europeans!
(For the Hebrew-challenged, it says "Hebron.")