Since 1919, Champion has inspired athletes and active people on and off the field as one of the America’s most popular sportswear brands. While their clothing was adopted as streetwear as early as the 1970s, in recent years they’ve seen a huge revival as heritage sports brands gain traction among style lovers.
It would be difficult to exaggerate how popular Champion sweats were back in the '90s. Even at the time when there was only a fraction of the number of clothing brands that there are now, there weren't many labels that had Champion's insane demographic reach. It was the uniform for jocks and preps, but also for skaters and hip-hop heads. Champion was all over the hardcore punk scene, but it was just as popular among jam band fans. In 1919 the Feinbloom brothers established the company that would eventually become known as “Champion”. Modern sport was taking its first step, athletes were passionate about sportswear but athletic apparel was often improvised and not fit for purpose. The business of dressing University teams began to gain traction with the first partnership in Michigan. They had noticed that Champion was passionate about sports apparel and manufactured high quality sweatshirts and sweatpants at an affordable price. As time went on, Champion’s reputation started to spread as Coaches from Michigan spoke with coaches from other schools and colleges across the U.S.
Moving swiftly on to the 1930’s the company was renamed Champion Knitting Mills Inc. Well known for sweatshirts, t-shirts & athletic socks, they became the brand of choice for college bookstores right across America. As a prototype of the sweatshirt, they produced wool based underwear designed to protect outdoor workers from cold weather. With time, the reputation for functionality and durability grew and grew and by the mid 1930’s Champion products were adopted by the US Military Academy for use during training exercises and physical education classes. This chain of events led to the introduction of the first ever hooded sweatshirt designed and developed for practical reasons as a warm up or “sideline” garment for athletes to wear in-between game time or practice sessions.
It was around this time that Champion developed the first version of the Reverse Weave Sweatshirt. The idea of the Reverse Weave came from the American coaches of the 40s, the technique allowed coaches wash the entire team of athletes uniforms without damage. That’s why to avoid horizontal shrinkage, the fibre fleece is turned upright at the time of creation, hence the name Reverse Weave. All Reverse Weave sweatshirts are characterised by the two side panels on the sides. Even the cuffs, neck and hem of the Reverse Weave sweatshirts have the same characteristic of the inserts in order to avoid the dispersion of heat during and after training whilst keeping the freedom of movement. The redesigned logo, the now familiar “C” mark appeared for the first time and it was fastened from then on to the left sleeve of the sweatshirt. This logo and positioning would become synonymous with Champion.
The original, heavyweight and understated line of sweatshirts, t-shirts, sweatpants and shorts, all bearing the iconic Champion “C” logo were introduced to a new generation of consumers. Nearly 100 years later, Champion continues to be widely recognised as the pioneer of the sweatshirt and proving yet again that: There are many contenders but only one Champion.
Champion continue to make history with their new and exciting range of clothes. Through a combination of classic aesthetic and innovative design Champion manage to keep producing some of the best streetwear clothing around. Shelflife will be dropping a limited edition Champion clothing range in CPT, JHB and online at 10am. The range will feature hoodies, crew necks and track pants in an assortment of colours.
PLEASE NOTE: This range has been delayed until further notice
Shelflife Champion Reverse Weave Hoodies - R999.00 Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Shelflife Champion Reverse Weave Track Pants - R799.00 Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Shelflife Champion Reverse Weave Crew Neck - R899.00 Sizes: S, M, L, XL