LONDON — One British label is hoping to prove that soccer supporters can show an allegiance to their team without compromising on style. Grosvenor Shirts, a London-based company that manufactures men’s shirts and accessories, has partnered with Global Brands Group, the worldwide master licensee for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), to produce a line of limited edition shirts and other apparel to celebrate the 2010 FIFA World Cup of soccer, which takes place in June and July in South Africa.
For each of the 32 countries who have qualified for the World Cup, Grosvenor Shirts has designed a different shirt, whose plackets are embroidered with the colors of that country’s flag. The England shirt, for example, has the red and white England flag alternating with panels of red and white embroidered along its plackets.
Karl Dunkley, founder and owner of Grosvenor Shirts, said the items, which are made in two-fold royal twill white cotton, are aimed at a soccer supporter “who wants to dress up.”
Dunkley said he’d been prompted to design the shirts after one of his wholesale customers in South Africa predicted that next year’s World Cup would bring a boost to business in the region. “I [then] thought that the colors of the South African flag were very pretty, and wouldn’t it be nice to do them on one of our shirts?” said Dunkley, whose label is known for details such as incorporating different colors into the plackets or offering shirts with contrasting patterns.
Each country’s shirt comes in a limited, numbered edition of 210 for men and 50 for women, and they are manufactured at Dunkley’s factory in Northern Ireland. Both the men’s and women’s shirts will retail for 200 pounds, or $325, each, and Dunkley has also designed boxer shorts, pajama trousers and socks, all embroidered with each country’s colors.
The collection will be sold beginning this week at Grosvenor Shirts’ two stand-alone stores in London and via the company’s e-commerce site, grosvenorshirts.com. Dunkley said he’s also in discussions with retailers in each qualifying country to carry a number of the shirts next year.
Neal Rudge, senior vice president of licensing at Global Brands Group, described the line as “a stylish yet formal collection for businessmen with a passion for football.”
Grosvenor Shirts has a license to produce the shirts through 2010, but Dunkley said he hopes to have “other opportunities to work with Global Brands and FIFA” beyond that. “We have a nice relationship already but we need to see how this goes,” he said.