The enterprise that would eventually be known as Champion came to fruition in 1919, brainchild of the Feinbloom brothers based in the city of Rochester, New York.
In-line with a burgeoning culture of professional/semi-professional sports in the USA, a sizeable demand emerged for well-made, uniform athletic apparel which the brothers rose to meet and by the 1930s ‘Champion Knitting Mills Inc’ was a staple across American Universities. They were renowned for durable products made from technical fabrics, so much so that the brand was adopted as the official outfitter for the US Military’s Academy for training and physical education purposes. Around this time, they were responsible for a revolutionary fabric still in production today known as “reverse weave”. This is a name given to a particular cotton fabric in which the grain runs horizontally as opposed to vertically, virtually eliminating horizontal shrinkage and ensuring the garment maintains its shape for years to come. Champion was a mainstay throughout the 20th century, picking up the iconic ‘C’ branding in the 1960s and becoming the official uniform manufacturer for many sports teams, notably the entire NBA during the 90s and… Wigan Athletic in the noughties. Like many other fit-for-purpose American brands, Champion was also adopted by streetwear/music culture towards the turn of the century, particularly in hip-hop circles, and it’s perhaps these associations that are responsible for the birth of the cultural icon the brand has become.
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