Sales of T-shirts and sweatshirts in support of England footballers who were targeted by racists after the team’s Euro 2020 defeat have increased hugely, according to online clothing retailers.
The tops were inspired by the actor Jason Sudeikis, who wore a sweatshirt with their names on to an event celebrating the second season of his football comedy, Ted Lasso, on Thursday.
Versions of Sudeikis’s self-made sweatshirt – which bore the names of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka – have been selling on Redbubble, Etsy and other sites.
The founder of Notjustclothing, which describes itself as a social enterprise committed to creating ethical products, said he was inspired to produce a version of Sudeikis’s top after seeing it trending on Instagram “but we couldn’t find a link to buy one for ourselves”.
Mike Harding said the company wanted to help people get behind the message and that its web store had sold “almost 100” shirts since it started selling them last Friday and traffic to its Etsy page had increased tenfold over the weekend.
“T-shirts like this offer everyday fans a way of showing their respect and joining the movement. Anything that helps to spread and raise awareness of the anti-racism message is to be welcomed,” he said.
“Professional footballers have worn anti-racism T-shirts as part of initiatives for many years now, the reason they continue to do this is because they are effective.”
Matthew Fairchild, the founder of another outlet, SportsTees4U, said “sales are tremendous”, with more than 450 shirts sold.
Racist messages were sent to Rashford, Sancho and Saka after they missed England’s last three penalties in the shootout defeat against Italy. Saka said he “knew instantly” he would receive racist abuse after missing the kick.
Sudeikis, who had previously worn a Gucci jumper featuring the pro-choice logo “My Body My Choice” to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards in the US, told British Vogue he made the football sweatshirt himself.
“The idea struck me the day before our show’s premiere,” he said.
“I just felt it was necessary to use the platform of our big, fancy ‘worldwide premiere’ to try and personify our show’s support of those three young men. Which is why I chose to put their three names on the sweatshirt. The names their parents gave them.”
The T-shirt style featuring bold type names separated by a “&” was created in 2001 by the Amsterdam-based design company Experimental Jetset and has been widely used including for hen dos and celebrations of the cult book A Little Life.
Enis Yasharovski, who works for campaign group Show Racism the Red Card, said the charity had seen an uptick in public engagement since the Euros.
“More individuals have come forward to offer their time or donate money,” he said. “And a number of people have set up JustGiving campaigns to undertake personal challenges to help raise funds.”
He said the money raised would be redirected into “anti-racism education delivering workshops for young people across the UK”.
However, there was a danger that wearing a T-shirt could show support but not have a bigger impact, he added, unlike buying clothing from a recognised charity that fights racism.
“The act of buying anti-racism merchandise such as Show Racism the Red Card T-shirts mean that the money raised goes directly towards anti-racism eduction,” said Yasharovski.