Champion Brand Guide
Fashion’s preoccupation with sportswear and comfort – some call it streetwear, others athleisure – doesn’t seem to be dissipating any time soon; 80s and 90s style ‘power dressing’ looks to be firmly confined to the past, as creatives, office workers and everyone in between turns to athletic brands for their everyday wardrobe. For this reason, it’s no surprise to see such brands releasing tweaked cuts and updated takes on classic pieces to appeal to a more style-conscious customer, and the Champion brand fits into this niche perfectly.
Beginning life in 1912 in Rochester, NY, the brand that would become Champion was founded by the Feinbloom brothers, who got their first big break manufacturing athletic gear to be sold directly to schools and colleges, a highly competitive industry at the time. The Feinblooms soon discovered that coaches were a very demanding customer base, and were constantly tweaking and improving their range based on the coaches’ requests and feedback. The need for an all-weather warmup garment for the sidelines led to Champion developing the first hooded sweatshirt, for instance, while the brand’s signature Reverse Weave knitting technique was also born of this period of innovation. Coaches were looking for a solution for team jerseys shrinking too much in the laundry when washed en masse; the Feinblooms developed a horizontal knitting technique which not only minimised shrinkage but made the garments more durable. This Reverse Weave technique was patented in 1938 (though not finalised until 1951) and has been the core of the Champion brand ever since, proving its effectiveness through the sheer number of vintage Champion sweats that are still perfectly wearable despite being decades old.
This durability, coupled with the brand’s easy availability Stateside and range of colour options, made Champion a favourite of subcultures across the board, from rappers to skaters to straight-edge hardcore bands. Given these associations, it’s no surprise that street culture titans like Supreme, A Bathing Ape and w)taps have collaborated with Champion on a number of occasions, helping elevate the Champion brand from basics to a bona fide fashion essential.
As it always has, the Reverse Weave sweatshirt remains the core of the Champion collection, coming in a range of seasonal colours in both crew-neck and hooded variations. The unique horizontal-grain loopback fabric feels reassuringly sturdy in the hand, becoming softer and softer with each wash, while the oversized cut is designed to shrink to a more athletic fit after the first wash. Whether you choose a classic grey or navy or a more exuberant colour, opt for the full script logo or stick to the iconic small ‘C’, you can’t go wrong with a Champion Reverse Weave sweatshirt.