Guillermo Andrade is once again bringing his creative prowess to the soccer pitch.
Andrade, the founder and creative director of fashion label 424, has been named creative advisor of Leagues Cup, the annual, month-long tournament featuring teams from U.S. professional soccer league MLS and Mexican football league Liga MX.
In this role, Andrade will be tasked with creating and consulting on cultural and storytelling opportunities that sit at the intersection of soccer, fashion, art and design. Also, Andrade will lead the design and development of limited-edition collections for significant moments surrounding Leagues Cup. His designs will be available for purchase both in stadiums and with third-party retail partners when the tournament begins on July 21.
“We’re going to use this opportunity to unite people,” Andrade told FN. “We’re going to do our best to bring to life the message behind the tournament, and that is the celebration of two cultures coming together for one month and showing the world you know this new energy for soccer between the States and Mexico. It’s Latin and American cultures clashing together all in the spirit of unity and love for the sport.”
This new role is fitting, given his lifelong adoration of the sport.
“Soccer is my first love. It was the first thing when I was a kid that made me feel completely alive,” Andrade said. “The players were my first superheroes, and it has never stopped. It has always represented a positive thing in my life.”
Andrade emigrated from Guatemala to the United States at the age 9, arriving through San Ysidro, a district in San Diego near the Mexico border. He spent most of his time during his formative years playing soccer, and eventually landed on a select team in Los Angeles, the Central Marin Jaguars, playing for the club from the age of 12 to 19.
Aside from being his first love, both Andrade and David Bruce, the MLS senior VP of brand and integrated marketing, believe soccer offers something unique to the fashion-focused.
“Soccer, much like other sports, is about attitude. But soccer has particular iconic stars who also happen to be incredibly charming, and that’s on and off the pitch,” Andrade explained. “You want to see what they’re dressed like coming onto the field as well as outside. I think of [Johan] Cruyff, although I never got to see him play I would see pictures of him in a mink coat at halftime sitting and then coming on to score a hat trick. That kind of character really draws you in. And the jerseys represent the energy of the club. When you see a massive wave of blue and yellow in the stadium, you’re like, ‘Oh wow, I need that kit.'”
Bruce added, “Jerseys change all the time and they’re typically very expressive of the culture of the city. The jersey is such an amazing canvas for expression. It comes to life through the player who is on the field for 90 minutes, which then becomes something that the fans proudly want to represent.”
Although this role with Leagues Cup is new, Andrade has long married his 424 imprint to soccer.
For instance, 424 collaborated with sportswear brand Hummel in 2018 on a soccer collection. The range was part of Hummel Hive, an arm of the brand dedicated to special projects and collaborations. A year later, Andrade’s 424 imprint was named the official formalwear partner of Arsenal F.C. Not only did 424 design suits for men, his label also created formalwear for the women’s team, Arsenal Women. And in 2021, 424 teamed up with both Adidas and Arsenal on a collection that included a new kit, footwear and more.
“Football [soccer] is a part of that attitude that my brand has. Partnering up with MLS and Leagues Cup is a no brainer. It just only adds more depth to my sauce,” Andrade said.
Today’s announcement is 100 days out from the start of Leagues Cup 2023, which begins on July 21. Beginning this year, all 47 MLS and Liga MX clubs will pause their respective seasons and compete in Leagues Cup, with games being played across the U.S. and Canada. The champion, as well as the second and third-place finishers, will qualify for the Concacaf Champions League and have an opportunity to earn a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup.
Leagues Cup will be available via the MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app. Also, TelevisaUnivision, Fox Sports, TSN and RDS will be the linear broadcast home for select Leagues Cup matches. Individual tickets to attend games live will be available to fans via the hosting MLS club.