​wonderkid x fred butler: kick homophobia out of football

Designer Fred Butler has created a rainbow kit in support of the short film about a young gay footballer.

by Bojana Kozarevic
01 June 2015, 4:18pm

Photography Lydia Garnett, Shirt by Fred Butler

You may have heard of Wonderkid, an upcoming short film about a young gay footballer that has been making big waves, with i-D recently featuring director Rhys Chapman in the Activist issue. The film deals with one of the world's favourite hobbies, football, and simultaneously with one of football's biggest problems: homophobia. An expressive, vital and powerful activist film, Wonderkid is tackling the problems of a gay superstar footballer's life. Because, sadly, these problems are rife within the footballing industry.

As well as the successful Kickstarter campaign that has seen the film gain prominence, Wonderkid production has teamed up with designer Fred Butler to create a unique t-shirt to bring the message to the streets and on people's backs. Fred Butler says, "Football unites so many people from disparate countries, languages, backgrounds & beliefs yet there is one overarching universal acceptance of homophobia which needs to change. From the chants on the terraces to the under-breath snipes on the pitch; it's a tolerated tactical issue for abuse. How is it that It's 2015 and there's still only a handful of professional players who have come out?!"

Wonderkid director Rhys Chapman in i-D's The Activist issue, Photography Oliver Hadlee Pearch, Styling Julia Sarr-Jamois

Wonderkid is a young man who, looking at the commercial standards of football glamourama, has everything, is everything. Yet privately, he's alone and suffering. Fred adds, "Attitudes need challenging and educating which will be kick-started by this campaign. The personal story will resonate and hit the message home to every team and supporters to hopefully reverse this irrational and dangerous fear-mongering. We need to apply that mentality to educating our youth so they don't waste any more time picking up negative prejudice."

The t-shirt created by Fred Butler was made with this aim in mind. Already creating a stir with the Kickstarter campaign, receiving backing from i-D and the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, the t-shirt, film and message are hoping to go sky-high. And so they should! "When we are kids playing with our neighbours on the street we don't question each other's differences, we just enjoy the game. If only we could grow up carrying the same understanding instead of adopting fear like homophobia", says Fred.

Wonderkid's director Rhys Chapman explains, " We asked Fred to collaborate with us so we could use it as a vessel to stimulate conversation about homophobia in football, especially within the women's game, as far too often it gets left behind. We recently started a Wonderkid girls team to encourage female participation in football. If any London based girls would like to come down for a friendly kick-about please get in touch!"

Fred Butler
rhys chapman