Denim and soccer don’t sound like a match made in football heaven, but when paired with English juggernaut Manchester United and its worldwide legion of fans, any collaboration has potential.
As jean maker True Religion continues to rebuild its brand following last year’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it has chosen to partner with the football club (or soccer team, depending on where you’re from) as its official denim partner—a first for the storied sports franchise from Old Trafford in Manchester.
The winner of 66 trophies in its 140-year history and considered to be the world’s most valuable football brand, estimated to be worth $1.2 billion, Manchester United is a valuable marketing ally and boasts a “global community of 659 million followers.”
“We are thrilled to be the official global denim partner for Manchester United. As True Religion continues to evolve and connect with new audiences, it is exciting to offer Manchester United’s global fanbase an innovative line of premium denim for men and women,” True Religion CMO Tara Peyrache said in a statement announcing the upcoming collaboration. “We look forward to this partnership with an iconic club that shares the same values and commitment to performance and quality.”
When True Religion filed for bankruptcy in 2017, reducing its debt by $350 million in the process, CEO John Ermatinger said it was a step to “reinvigorate True Religion’s iconic brand and position the company for future growth and success.” Now, after collaborating with model Bella Hadid in August, True Religion seeks to raise its brand profile in an even bigger way.
Although Manchester United maintains dozens of partnerships with sponsors from around the world, group managing director Richard Arnold said he saw value in working with a denim brand for the first time and giving fans a new way to represent the team.
“True Religion is a well-known, established name in fashion, creating unique designs without compromising on quality,” Arnold said. “The range we have collaborated on includes the same attention to detail and craftsmanship that has made True Religion a global brand, creating a new way for our fans to express their support for their club through everyday, easy-to-wear apparel.”
The collection will consist of women’s and men’s styles branded by both True Religion and Manchester United. Fans will be able to purchase the range of premium jeans, shirts and jackets through the club’s Megastore and through True Religion’s website starting Oct. 26. A junior range is expected to be released later in the season.
The club also is running a competition giving fans a chance to win a portion of the collection through its official website.