Fred Perry Brand Guide
What Is Fred Perry?
The Fred Perry brand is one of the most iconic British heritage brands in history. Known for its effortless blend of streetwear and sportswear, the label is famed for its ethos of authenticity and integrity mixed with just the right amount of attitude. Largely tied to the worlds of tennis and the UK sub-culture, you would be hard-pressed not to find the brand at the helm of some of the most iconic menswear silhouettes of all time. From uncomplicated Harrington jackets to versatile parkas and timeless polo shirts, it is no doubt that Fred Perry has left an impression on the industry as a whole which continues to be felt to this day.
When was Fred Perry Started?
Fred Perry was formed in the late 1940’s to early 1950’s. 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 cameramen 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 honeycomb stitching made this garment perfect for sportswear.
Where does Fred Perry Get Its Name From?
Fred Perry gets its name from its founder Frederick John Perry. A world-famous Tennis Player Perry 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.
Who Founded Fred Perry?
Fred Perry was founded by 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 brand was born.
History Of The Fred Perry Logo?
The Fred Perry logo is the now iconic Laurel Wreath. Found embroidered to the chest of many of their garments it was based on the original icon for Wimbledon but also stands as an ancient symbol for victory and triumph.
Fred Perry Subculture
The Fred Perry brand 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 streetwear, which was a 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, polos and braces. This was a style the London based travelling football fans would introduce to the rest of Britain. The Fred Perry brand 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 brand’s 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 skinheads 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 in 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 looking for brands with authenticity, meaning and class behind them. The Fred Perry Shirts were at the ‘Brit Pop’ core.
Celebrities Wearing Fred Perry
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 Laurel Wreath for the brands authenticity, style and timeless design. Over the years the Fred Perry brand has 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.
Fred Perry Collaborations
Over the decades in which the brand have operated, they have teamed up with musicians, creatives and fellow designers to deliver fresh and exciting collaborative interpretations of their pieces. From their long-standing relationship with Belgian designer Raf Simons, Art Comes First and musician Miles Kane, the brand has managed to hone in on pivotal moments in their past, exploring them through a different perspective and channelling their experiences into new and diverse collections. Fred Perry has also worked with the likes of Comme des Garcons, Margaret Howell, George Cox, Beams Plus and many many more.
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