Martine Rose: the future of football for a better Britain

On Sunday, before the Euros 2020 final, Rose launched The Lost Lionesses – a virtual experience bringing together her spirited community and presenting an optimistic vision of the future.

The mood of the country has changed since last night. In large part, it’s the pride we feel for the England team going head to head with Italy. Sure, we didn’t win, but the players reminded us of the unwavering spirit of hard work, dedication and talent.

A few hours before kick-off on Sunday, Martine Rose launched The Lost Lionesses, a virtual experience celebrating the power of sport as a unifier.

Collaborating with Nike, International Magic and photographer Rosie Marks, the immersive project is inspired by the 14 women aged 13 – 21 who travelled to Mexico City in 1971 to play in the Women’s World Cup, at the Azteca Stadium. Just after the cultural liberation of the Swinging 60s, women were still very much discouraged in football – it was a milestone moment.

And so Rose tells the future of football – one that won’t be decided on the pitch. Instead, it’s made from the fans wearing their shirts on the terraces, at home, having a kick about with their mates in the park or sat downing pints at the pub. The ordinary folk.

Rose has always cheered for the underdog, and this project is no different. With stories brought to life by Black and Brown communities and the sartorial styles of the everyday person walking to work – often rooted in research looking at working-class subcultures – The Lost Lionesses goes through a familiar landscape, presented through Tube stops, shop fronts and British estates, heralding the ordinary as extraordinary.

Walking” through the virtual amphitheatre, where narration starts with a brief story of The Lost Lionesses and photos of Rose’s community (many of whom appeared in our last issue, where Rose featured on the cover and spoke about the project) shot by Marks plaster the wall, and screening of Rose and Marks’ film takes centre stage. The Story of the Lost Lionesses is a short film about sport being used as a tool for societal change: to diversify, bring communities together and put an end to discrimination both on and off the pitch.

And it’s presented in the collection, too, comprising of a genderless cap and football jersey which Rose designed in collaboration with Nike. A reconstruction of the classic England shirt, it features a double-crested, reversible jersey and, in honour of a better future, it welcomes anyone.

Since Sunday night, we’ve seen unforgivable racial attacks on Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka. Rose’s message couldn’t come at a better time: that the future of football is unity and, in short, has no place for discrimination in her – and our – vision of a Better Britain.

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