LONDON — Manchester United’s lead striker and anti-poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford is fast becoming a British fashion figurehead, with the big brands vying to dress him.
On Wednesday, he’ll be heading to Poland with his teammates for the 2021 UEFA Europa League final against Spain’s Villarreal in Gdańsk, and they’ll all be wearing Paul Smith.
The players will be donning gray suits with a subtle check pattern, white cotton shirts and a specially made tie with the Manchester United club crest. It features a red devil and a ship with the words Manchester and United written on two banners.
It marks a change for Rashford, who has been raising money for charity together with Burberry, and who starred in one of the brand’s campaigns last November.
Burberry teamed with Rashford last year to help charities that support young people in the U.K. and across the world. In the U.K. they support FareShare, which provides hundreds of thousands of meals to charities and community groups in the U.K.
Rashford has long raised money to fight child food poverty, and last year successfully lobbied the British government to provide children with free meals during periods when they were not in school due to lockdown measures.
The 2021 Europa League Final will be the 50th in UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League history. The Polish authorities have said the stadium will be at 25 percent capacity, with up to 9,500 spectators as lockdown restrictions begin to ease.
“I’ve been working with Manchester United for over 10 years. This season, the team has had great success in reaching the UEFA cup final and I’m delighted they’ll be wearing Paul Smith to arrive at the stadium in Poland,” Smith said.
“I think dressing for an occasion can do more than make you feel smart, it can often make you feel empowered and confident. Hopefully, tonight the players will feel ready for the match ahead, and I wish them every success,” he added.
The partnership between Smith and Manchester United began in 2008 when the designer supplied the team and officials with suits for their UEFA Champions League Final victory in Moscow.
In 2018, Smith took a fresh look at the team’s iconography, creating photographic prints of vintage scarfs and rosettes to embellish a range of accessories including cardholders, a beauty case, a wallet, cuff links and a tie.
European football isn’t Smith’s only sporting milieu. He has worked frequently in the past with Rapha on cycle jerseys and accessories. In spring 2019, the two came out with a collaboration featuring Smith’s unique colored stripes.