Show Racism The Red Card charity launches Fabric of England solidarity shirt
Anti-racism charity unveils the 'unOfficial' England football shirt through McCann London
14 November 2022
In response to the racist abuse several of the England players received at the end of the Euros in 2021, Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC), a charity which aims to combat racism in our society, and McCann London have collaborated to create ‘Fabric of England.’
An initiative celebrating the rich diversity and cultural tapestry of the England football team that aims to educate people and start a conversation about immigration within the UK. Immigration has shaped the modern game of football, and without it it’s no exaggeration to say that the England squad wouldn’t be what it is today.
Of the 39 that helped England qualify for the World Cup, almost all of them have migration stories*. Using this insight, the project centrepiece is a specially designed football shirt that showcases the many nations that make up the rich cultural tapestry of the England squad. The shirt resembles a ‘patchwork quilt’ design, created from the England shirt and 13 other national football team shirts.
The nations featured include Republic of Ireland, Jamaica, Nigeria, Scotland, Northern Ireland, USA, Canada, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, St Vincent & The Grenadines, and New Zealand.
It has been well documented that Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker are descendants of the Windrush Generation, but there are also less widely known stories about players such as Ben Chilwell whose families came from New Zealand and Fikayo Tomori who was born in Canada to Nigerian parents. Another part of the England contingent including Declan Rice, Jack Grealish and England’s talisman Harry Kane, whose family roots trace back to Ireland. Each one with a unique story to share.
England fans with multi/dual heritage were cast from around the country to model the shirt and share their personal stories, like Sonia from Shoreditch who has an Italian and Iranian heritage. She said, “I’ve lived in London for 3 years and what makes it so vibrant is its diversity - it doesn’t matter what your heritage or background is, when it comes to the World Cup it feels like the whole nation unites together as one”.
A limited run of shirts will be used as an educational tool by SRtRC as they go into schools to talk to children. The campaign runs across SRtRC’s social channels and hopes to support their goals to eradicate racism within professional and grass-roots football.
There are a number of ways you can get involved with Show Racism the Red Card. Visit their website here to find out more: https://www.theredcard.org/get-involved
Shaka Hislop, the Honorary President and Co-Founder of Show Racism the Red Card said, “The World Cup is a lot more than crowning a champion. It's about the world coming together to honour the beautiful game and what that means to each of us. It's a celebration of our differences - the countries, languages and culture. And also a celebration of the similarities- the shared joy, expression and hope. The World Cup, every four years, shows us that we only witness the best of us when we champion our differences hand in hand with our similarities.”
Paul Kearns, Deputy Chief Executive at Show Racism the Red Card, said, “This is an important project to celebrate what makes England, England. The shirt spreads a positive message of diversity and inclusion and opens people’s eyes to the rich heritage of the England squad. We hope it inspires the whole country to get behind England to bring it home.”
As an activist, the BBC’s first LGBTQIA+ correspondent and investigative reporter on race and inequality around the world, Show Racism The Red Card is proud to be supported by Ben Hunte on Fabric of England. As part of a longer foreword which you can find on the Fabric of England website<https://fabricofengland.cargo.site/> and in the press pack, Ben Hunte, Presenter, Speaker and Senior Reporter for VICE News said, “For centuries, people have turned to sport to make sense of the world. As I arrived in Malaysia for four years of university, it was football that could immediately connect me with other international students, teachers, and enthusiastic taxi drivers. With a single TV showing a green pitch, a ball, and an energetic crowd, some of the deepest cultural fault lines were bridged.
And that’s what drew me to the Fabric of England project. It’s a patchwork football shirt which has different nations shirts sewn together. The shirt represents the rich heritage of the England squad, showing where the players’ cultural roots were nurtured. With the whole of England uniting behind this team who have connections to Ireland, Jamaica, Nigeria and even New Zealand – and with every English person feeling a sense of belonging while watching these sporting legends do their thing – surely the team itself encapsulates what it means to be English, right?
Rob Doubal and Laurence Thomson, Chief Creative Officers at McCann UK said, “Launching the unOfficial England shirt in collaboration with Show Racism the Red Card, is a proud moment for us - we've been working on this project since the Euros final last year, when some of the squad were subject to totally unjust and abhorrent racist abuse. We hope this idea positively highlights the intersection of national identity, culture and football at large.”
Client Show Racism the Red Card
Chief Executive: Ged Grebby
Deputy Chief Executive: Paul Kearns
Campaign Worker: Fred Harms
Campaign Worker: Seth Ejukwu
Communications Manager: Alison Allan
Creative Agency McCann London
CEO Polly McMorrow
Chief Creative Officer Laurence Thomson
Chief Creative Officer Rob Doubal
Chief Strategy Officer Theo Izzard-Brown
Creative Director William Cottam
Creative Director James Crosby
Business Leader Tom Oliver
Strategy Lead Jonathan Bender
Strategist Alex Passingham
Head of Design Lisa Carrana
Design Director Max Henderson
Integrated Project Director Nishita Upadhyay
Project Director Hannah Graff
Production Craft London
Cast Photographer Ali Yaqub
Art Buyer Carly Randall
Production Assistant Sonia Amini
BTS Director Nathan Theys
Edit and Studio Assistant Sade Borishade
Studio Photographer Will Bunce
Studio, Motion Capture & Post Production The Forge
Fashion Designer Tom Bird