Manu a fashion trendsetter...?
Manusamoa Tuilagi, the member of the legendary rugby family from Fatausi, Savai’i, has become perhaps the only Samoan to earn super-celebrity status in Britain and have his life scrutinised in their infamous tabloids.
But it turns out that recently the England centre has been representing Samoa in more ways than just his performance at the Rugby World Cup.
Last week he and fellow England stars, Ben Youngs, Tom Curry and Joe Marler were interviewed by legendary British television presenter Jonathan Ross about what might have been in their loss to South Africa in the Cup final.
The British comedian's jovial post-mortem led to a surge in response from British social media, not least of all because of Tuilagi’s defence of England’s controversial decision to meet New Zealand’s haka with a controversial V-formation in the semi-finals for which they were fined by World Rugby.
“It’s a war dance. You need a response to it. That’s what we did to show them we were ready,” Tuilagi said.
But one of Samoa’s oldest institutions says Tuilagi’s choice of clothing has prompted an online surge of interest in its fashion range: Eveni Carruthers.
Tuilagi wore one of Eveni’s classic Pacific white elei shirts for his appearance and even paired it with an ula fala.
The famous Samoan outfitters say they’ve experienced a surge of interest from new markets ever since.
“The Eveni Pacific team is excited to be trending recently on social media showing some of the England rugby team," said the company's export representative, Lisa Vaai.
“The England players were [even] seen wearing the EveniPacific shirts to the social events immediately after the recent Rugby World Cup finals against the Springboks.”
That may read like opportunistic marketing spin. But numbers don’t lie.
Exactly since Tuilagi’s appearance on November 8th Google trends data shows that searches for “Eveni” in the United Kingdom doubled the day after his appearance and reached their highest level this year.
The brand already has a distributor in Fukushima, Japan. Could London, England be next?