Pep Guardiola is a man with influence and has been somewhat of a style icon since joining Manchester City and the Premier League back in 2016 – and his latest fashion choice has fans everywhere in football talking.
His recent touchline uniform has come in the form of a jumper which dons a melted Manchester City badge, but while millions assume that the obscure badge is simply a printing error, there is actually a lot of history behind it.
The jumper, which comes in black as well as grey, is part of a deal between Manchester City, Puma and JD, but is spearheaded by legendary fashion brand founders Anthony and Christopher Donnelly.
The Manchester-born Donnelly brothers recently released their MDCR clothing collection, which celebrates the generation-defining indie-dance scene that put Manchester on the map and took the world by storm – something that the Donnelly brothers were an instrumental part of. MDCR is an abbreviation of Donnelly brothers brand madchester.com.
In Anthony Donnelly’s own words, the melted crest on the jumper is based on a t-shirt from the acid house period “when nightclubs such as Stuffed Olives and the Hacienda had no air conditioning” and “being p*ss wet through, melting on the dance floor, smiling like Cheshire cats” was the norm.
The design was created by Anthony’s brother, Christopher, along with designers from Puma HQ in Germany. Christopher is also responsible for the many iconic designs behind Gio-Goi – his and Anthony’s iconic British fashion brand that originated here in Manchester.
Anthony and Christopher are the proud sons of scrap metal merchant Arthur Donnelly and hard-working straight-laced mum June Donnelly. They were raised in the south of Manchester in Benchill with sister Tracey and quickly made a name for themselves in both the British fashion industry with Gio-Goi and the thriving rave scene here in Manchester and London.
It is worth noting that Pep Guardiola has been wearing the MDCR collection out of personal choice, which has driven droves of Manchester City fans to go out and purchase a piece of authentic Manchester music history – it is believed that this is the first time ever in the history of the Football Association that a club has allowed outside parties to dramatically change a club’s badge design.
But this is the exact kind of disruption and influence that drove the Donnelly brothers to create Madchester, along with a small group of others, in the late 1980s – a movement and collective that fought the government for your right to party with Sweat It Out, Manchester’s first illegal rave.
The brothers have an unmatched reputation for effective marketing campaigns, which includes the time they got themselves on the front page of Vogue magazine with Gio-Goi and Dior, photographed by legendary portrait photographer Mario Testino, so it was no surprise to find that Anthony and Christopher were behind the MCFC x PUMA collaboration.
The Madchester music scene gave birth to the illegal rave and its protests against the authorities are what made an acid house rave so alluring for young (and old) partygoers back in the day. The Donnelly’s were instrumental during this time and quickly rose to prominence.
On what Madchester means to the Donnelly’s, Anthony says: “Madchester to myself and Christopher brings back memories that are mad and brilliant at the same time – never to be repeated I would imagine.
“However, Madchester is often hijacked by brands everywhere who were not even there. Most recently, a famous deodorant used the brand without permission – which was one of the reasons behind creating Madchester as a brand so that we can ensure the intellectual property is protected.
“It can be annoying in some cases, for example, how our councils are using the history of Madchester as something they are proud of in order to sell the city. I suppose this is understandable given what we created, however, those same councils were actually instrumental in trying to crush Madchester, the Hacienda, and our illegal Sweat It Out raves.”
To date, the Donnelly brothers and Madchester exist predominantly as a live events brand that leans more towards tourism and there is a lot planned on the horizon that Anthony and Christopher believe will bring much-needed revenue to Manchester’s Night Time Economy.
A spokesperson for the Madchester brand says: “Madchester is to Manchester what the Beatles are to Liverpool, or Nirvana is to Seattle. People flock here in their thousands and we are expected to give them a good time.”
Anthony and Chris are deep in their plans to bring Madchester to the masses with an event at Depot Mayfield next April, alongside the founders of The Warehouse Project. There is also a second MDCR clothing collection dropping in November, which is part of the same collaboration with MCFC, JD and PUMA, and is more of a fashion-led line inspired by the era which will include staple items such as bucket hats and parka jackets.
With the Donnelly’s, one thing is for sure, you’ll be seeing a lot of them in the coming months and in 2022 – and while Manchester as a city grows and grows, the Donnelly’s will be working hard to keep its historic roots intact.
Watch the story of Joy, the first outdoor rave up North, organised by Anthony and Christopher Donnelly, below.