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 subculture, 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.
Fred Perry Brand History
When Was Fred Perry Started?
Fred Perry was formed in the late 1940s to early 1950s. During this period the brand developed 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 such as cameramen and commentators, helped catapult the brand from a small idea to a name strongly associated with Wimbledon and sporting heroes.
In 1952, Fred Perry launched the most famous garment associated with the brand; The Slim Fit Cotton Pique Shirt with the Laurel Wreath embroidery. Crafted from pique cotton, its honeycomb stitching made this garment perfect for sportswear.
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 Fred Perry brand was born.
Fred Perry gets its name from one of the founders, 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. He won 3 consecutive Wimbledon championships between the years 1934 and 1964, being the last British player to win men’s Wimbledon before Andy Murray in 2013. Despite all of his sporting achievements, Fred Perry was never accepted by the tennis hierarchy and even the Wimbledon crowd, mainly because of his working-class background and upbringing.
History Of The Fred Perry Logo
The Fred Perry brand 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 1950s, Northern Soul and Skinheads of the 60s, 70’s Punk and Perry Boys and Brit Pop in the 1990s.
The Mod movement members were very quick to pick up the Fred Perry Polo Shirt 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 polos, to recreate the American and European look and to make it their own with a British twist.
This decision helped the Fred Perry brand 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.
As the skinhead culture started to grow, they turned from shirts and suits to the now recognizable jeans, boots, polos and braces. 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.
Sported by many famous footballers, including Bobby Moore, did nothing but good to the brand’s image. At this time, the Northern Soul Movement was gaining more interest in the North of the country, 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. Many working-class background punks boasted the Fred Perry polo. The Punks designed a look to upset anybody who looked at them, including spiky hair, leather trousers and safety pins.
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 Manchester, and this movement started the casual and rave scenes that would follow.
A new generation saw The Brit Pop scene emerge from the British Indie Music scene in the early 1990s, and yet again the Fred Perry Polo was catapulted into the media. Wanting to edge away from the 80’s casual designer brands and from chasing the latest trends, bands including Oasis, Blur and Ocean Colour Scene took it back to their influences. Choosing fashion and 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 sighted wearing the Fred Perry Laurel Wreath, and today it is just as 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 brand’s 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 on Aphrodite
Aphrodite is an official UK stockist of the Fred Perry brand, browse our collections online including the popular Fred Perry polo shirts and Fred Perry jackets.