Nike has enlisted Martine Rose to make a new jersey for England’s national football team — but instead of the players, it’s been designed solely for the fans. The oversized and unisex shirt bypasses the pitch in a bid for more style points than any other “official” uniform. It’s also reversible, with one side paying tribute to the pioneering Lost Lionesses team of 1971.
Despite not being officially recognized by the Football Association, England’s governing body of soccer that had banned the women’s game for 50 years, a group of female English players competed at the 1971 World Cup in Mexico City as an independent team. The FA had just rescinded its ban a year prior, but instead of waiting for a sanctioned team, Harry Batt put together his own squad consisting primarily of players from Chiltern Valley to compete in the 1970 and 1971 World Cups. (FIFA wouldn’t hold its own Women’s World Cup until 1991.)
They called themselves the British Independents and didn’t wear the country’s Three Lions logo so as not upset the FA. An estimated 90,000 to 95,000 fans showed up for their game against the hosting Mexican team, which is still a record for the England Women’s team today. It was then that the legend of the Lost Lionesses began.
Paying tribute to the pioneers — One side of Martine Rose’s jersey commemorates the Lost Lionesses with a special edition badge and the number “71” in reference to the World Cup. The badge looks familiar as England’s but doesn’t actually include lions, while the nickname is also printed onto the shirt’s cuffs.
The flip side is done up in more traditional style of England’s jersey, including the official badge with “The Lost Lionesses” inscribed directly underneath. Further down is a handwritten note from the namesake designer reading, “All the Best, Martine Rose x.”
Martine Rose is accepting pre-orders for the jersey, as well as a distressed hat to match, through its website until July 10. The shirt’s cut will make it easy to style for both men and women, and it should be as close to a must-cop as possible for anyone who’s a fan of the beautiful game. Women’s soccer still has a long way to go to get the respect it fully deserves, and Martine Rose’s design does its part in bringing the Lost Lionesses story to a new audience.