Made famous by Michael Jordan in the ’96 all star game and pop culture icon Will Smith in Fresh Price of Bel Air, the Columbia returns in a low version with the launch of the Air Jordan 11 Low ‘Legend Blue’.
Champion was founded in Rochester, NY, U.S.A, by the Feinbloom brothers.
Champion’s reputation started to rapidly build from its partnership with the Michigan Wolverines. Renowned for manufacturing quality of sweatshirts and sweatpants, word of the brand began to spread. Coaches from Michigan spoke to coaches from other schools and colleges across the U.S. about the quality of the brand.
Then known as ‘Champion Knitting Mills Inc.’ Champion became the brand of choice for college bookstores right across America. The brands reputation for functionality and durability grew and grew. Champion was then adopted by the US Military academy and its products were used during training exercises and physical education classes.
Labels of Champion garments changed to incorporate the company name of Champion Knitwear Company, with a running man and finish line logo being used. In the 70’s and 80’s the neck labels evolved, with the more familiar classic red and blue fonts on a white background being used.
The iconic and familiar “C” mark appeared for the first time on the left sleeve of Champion sweatshirts. This logo and positioning would become synonymous with the Champion brand.
Champion becomes famous for creating one of the most important athletic garments of the 20th century, the Hooded Sweatshirt. The ‘hoody’ was designed and developed for practical reasons and was first introduced as a warm up or “sideline” garment for athletes to wear in-between game time or practice sessions.
Champion also became the first Company to produce the reversible (or double sided) T-Shirt. Later the brand also developed and manufactured a “Breathable” Nylon Mesh fabric, that would go on to become the staple fabric for basketball kits across the Globe.
Champion further established its position at the forefront of American sport. The iconic brand secured exclusive rights to be the official outfitter of all 27 NBA teams. This was a golden era for the NBA and this partnership established Champion as the authentic and “go to” Brand for all authentic on court and off court merchandise for the NBA.
Even today, many NBA collectors and enthusiasts still hone in on iconic Champion garments from the 90’s, such was the importance and nostalgia of this decade in Basketball and NBA history.
Champion were also the official outfitter for the first (and arguably the best ever) USA Dream Team at the historical Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. The Team went on to secure the Gold Medal and this further aided Champion establish their reputation as an Authentic, Athletic, Apparel brand outside the U.S. in Europe.
To mark the Champion’s 60th Anniversary, the brand rereleased the classic patented Reverse Weave Sweatshirt in Europe. This coincided with the surge in demand from key opinion formers, early adopters, fashion savvy consumers and streetwear fans, who were being influenced by the music and culture of the 1990’s.
The iconic, classic, original, heavyweight and understated line of Sweatshirts, Tees, Sweatpants and Shorts, all bearing the iconic Champion “C” logo, were again introduced to a new generation of consumers, proving that there is only one Champion.
Champion celebrated its 100th anniversary, and continues to produce a range of garments, with emphasis on quality, heritage and originality.