Founded in Rochester, New York almost a century ago, Champion started out life crafting high-quality sweatshirts and sweatpants for University and College sports teams local to New York City. The brand’s reputation soon spread, and before long Champion was the go-to apparel sportswear manufacturer for sports teams across the US. The brand expanded its range while retaining its focus on premium quality sportswear, and Champion’s fame continued to grow as it was adopted by professional sports teams and the US Military Academy as their official uniform maker.
A Brief History of Champion Apparel
The Feinbloom brothers establish the company that would become known as “Champion” in Rochester, New York, crafting sweatshirts and sweatpants for University and College sports team in New York City
Business expands across American Universities, beginning with Champion’s first partnership with the University of Michigan. The University had noticed that Champion was passionate about sports apparel and was impressed by the quality of its innovative new sweatpants and sweatshirts.
Champion’s reputation quickly started to spread as Coaches from Michigan spoke with coaches from other schools and colleges across the U.S. Champion becomes the go-to manufacturer of sports apparel across the US University sports scene.
Renamed as Champion Knitting Mills Inc, the brand expands its range to take on T-shirts, athletic socks and more. Champion also developed woollen underwear as a prototype for the sweatshirt, protecting outdoor workers against the cold and increasing its reputation for function, durable apparel. It is not long before Champion products are adopted by the US Military Academy to be used during training exercises and physical education classes.
The redesigned logo, the now iconic “C” mark, appears for the first time is affixed from then on to the left sleeve of the sweatshirt. This logo and positioning would become synonymous with Champion.
Champion’s now famous Reverse Weave technique is finalised and becomes the brand’s signature design process.
The Champion Reverse Weave— A History
Since it was first imagined in 1934, the Reverse Weave technique has been regarded as a pioneering method in manufacturing sports sweatshirts. The idea of the Reverse Weave came from the American coaches of the 1940s in order to be able to wash the uniforms of their athletes all together without the risk of damaging them. To avoid horizontal shrinkage, the fibre fleece is turned upright at the time of creation, hence the name Reverse Weave.
To avoid shrinkage instead in the opposite direction all Reverse Weave sweatshirts, are characterized by the two side panels on the sides. Even cuffs, neck and bottom of the sweatshirts Reverse Weave have the same characteristic of the inserts in order to avoid the dispersion of heat during and after training, keeping the freedom of movement.
During the 1960s Champion entered into an intensive licensing program, which started with the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) and expanded in the 1970s with a partnership with the National Football League (NFL).
Champion becomes famous for creating one of the most important athletic garments of the 20th century: the Hooded Sweatshirt.
The hoodie was designed and developed for practical reasons and was first introduced as a warm up or “sideline” garment for athletes to wear between games or practice sessions.
Champion transcended what it meant to be an athletic brand by becoming the first Company to produce the Double Sided (or reversible) T-Shirt and the first to develop and manufacture a “Breathable” Nylon Mesh fabric, that would go on to become the staple fabric for basketball Uniforms across the Globe.