Fred Perry clothing is one of the most iconic British heritage brands that successfully blend street wear with sportswear and have always stayed true to their original ethos of authenticity, integrity mixed with just enough attitude.
The brand was formed in the late 1940’s to early 1950’s between Fred Perry and Australian footballer Tibby Wenger when they produced the first ever sweatband. This was instantly a hit with tennis players all over Britain; thus, the Fred Perry Brand was born. From this band grew the idea of designing new Tennis Sportswear, which was a refreshing change to the ill-fitting, baggy alternatives available. Clever marketing and exposure of the brand including giving garments to upcoming young tennis players, BBC workers including camera men and commentators helped catapult the brand from a small idea in the two men’s heads to a name strongly associated with Wimbledon and the Sporting Hero’s. 1952 saw the launch of the most famous garment associated with Fred Perry, The Slim Fit Cotton Pique Shirt with the Laurel Wreath Embroidery. Crafted from pique cotton, its honey comb stitching made this garment perfect for sportswear.
Frederick John Perry was a world famous Tennis Player who won 10 majors including 8 Grand Slams, two Pro Slams and was World Number 1 four years in a row. Along with these achievements he went on to win what every British Tennis Player most values, Wimbledon. He won 3 consecutive Wimbledon championships between the years 1934 and 1964 and has become the last British Player to win the men’s Wimbledon Championship. Despite all his sporting achievement, Fred Perry was never accepted by the tennis hierarchy and even the Wimbledon crowd, mainly because of his working class background and upbringing.
Fred Perry Subculture Over The Years
Fred Perry, unintentionally became associated with a number of subcultures and British street styles along with the music which young people chose to define and express themselves. Fred Perry played a massive part in the looks of groups including the original Mods of the 1950’s, Northern Soul and Skinheads of the 60’s, 70’s Punk and Perry Boys and Brit Pop in the 1990’s.
Mods: The Mod movement members were very quick to pick up the Fred Perry Polo for its stylish, top button, durable capabilities. The Mods displayed an obsessive attention to detail, making the polo shirt ideal for their gathering. They subsequently asked Fred Perry to produce and supply a range of different coloured polo’s, to recreate the American and European look and to make it their own with a British twist. This decision helped Fred Perry on its way to start a revolution, to become the first crossover brand from sportswear to street wear, which was fundamental part of the teenage look at the time, and the start of one of the most enduring relationships between fashion and music.
Skinheads: As the skinhead culture started to grow, they turned from shirts and suits to the now recognizable jeans, boots, polo’s and braces. This was a style the London based travelling football fans would introduce to the rest of Britain. Fred Perry had started adding tipping to the polo shirts, which matched major football clubs colours, and these were commonly worn with jeans and braces, whilst leaving the iconic Laurel Wreath clearly visible. Favourite by many famous footballers including Bobby Moore, who was classed as the golden boy of football, did nothing but good to the brands image. At this time, the Northern Soul Movement was taking place in the North of the country, gaining more and more interest, but was largely ignored by the southern based media, ultimately being passed on by word of mouth. The shirt of choice for these ‘all-nighters’ was again the Fred Perry Polo Shirts.
Punk and Perry Boys: As the demise of the skin heads took hold, a new movement was taking shape in London, named Punk. The Punks designed a look to upset anybody who looked at them, including spikey hair, leather trousers and safety pins, and many working class background punks boasted the Fred Perry Polo. The Perry Boys, based in Manchester wore Fred Perry polo shirts, designer jeans, trainers and sporting a wedge haircut, they wanted to rebel against everything around them at that time. They became trendsetters on the terraces and nightclubs of the City, and this movement started the Casual and Rave scenes that would follow.
Brit Pop: The Brit Pop scene emerged from the British Indie Music scene the early 1990’s, this was the new generation, and yet again the Fred Perry Polo was catapulted into the media. Wanting to edge away from the 80’ casuals designer brands and away from chasing the latest trends, bands including oasis, blur and Ocean Colour Scene wanted to take it back to their influences, including fashion and looked for brands with authenticity, meaning and class behind them. The Fred Perry Shirts were at the ‘Brit Pop’ core
Celebrities and Media
A number of Celebrities over the years have been seen sporting the Fred Perry Laurel Wreath, and today it is as just popular, if not more than ever before. Celebrities including Paul Weller, Vinnie Jones, Ewan McGregor, Kelly Jones and bands including Oasis, Blur and Ocean Colour Scene have all chosen the Fred Perry Lauren Wreath for the brands authenticity, style and timeless design. Over the years Fred Perry have not relied that much on the media for coverage and exposure of the brand, they haven’t used big billboards to gain popularity, they have relied on its timeless qualities to appeal to every generation.
Browse this seasons full range of Fred Perry