The logo of this American brand, with the characteristic letter "C" on the front, has already become a symbol of quality and authenticity. No wonder, because Champion brand is over 100 years of experience in the production of sports clothing and footwear. Its inspiring and captivating past reveals a history of innovation, quality and reliability. Over the last century Champion brand it had its boom and bust, but as the saying goes - it's a marathon, not a sprint. In the last decade, Champion has made an unexpected comeback, becoming cool again. How did this brand go from being a family business to becoming a typical example of the American dream? What made it popular again today? And what can other streetwear brands learn from her? You can read about it in the text below.

The history of the Champion brand


Champion was founded in 1919 in Rochester, New York, by Simon Feinbloom and his sons William and Abraham. At that time it was called Knickerbocker Knitting Company. Initially, the brand was supposed to be a clothing wholesaler, but the Feinbloom brothers quickly noticed a quite important niche at that time - the lack of high-quality clothing for athletes available on the market. So they focused on producing comfortable and durable sportswear. First introduced as woolen underwear for outdoor workers, the sweatshirt soon took over as a way to keep people warm while exercising.

Champion sweatshirt  soon after, it was noticed by the University of Michigan football team - the Michigan Wolverines, which became the first of many college sports teams to be dressed by this brand. The company's reputation spread to other colleges and universities across the United States, and soon Champion apparel was worn on all campuses by athletes and non-athletic students alike.

In the 1930s, the Feinbloom brothers changed the name of the company to Champion Knitting Mills Inc. Over the years, the company's name changed twice more - in the 1950s and 1960s it was called Champion Knitwear Company, and it received its current name of Champion Products only in 1967.

Champion logo

The Champion logo was only designed in the 1950s. Initially, the logo depicted a running man crossing the finish line, but the brand gradually changed it to the iconic "C" usually placed on the left sleeve (in the case of sweatshirts). Its characteristic colors – red, white and blue – have remained unchanged.

Gold age

In the 1960s, Champion formed a partnership with the National Collegiate Athletic Association ( NCAA ). After conquering college sports, Champion became the official apparel supplier of the National Football League ( NFL ) in the 1970s. The brand's partnerships with professional sports leagues made it famous for the rest of the century.

Beloved athletes wearing the distinctive logo could be seen on TV in every home. From 1985 to 1988, Champion experienced its greatest growth in popularity, doubling its profits in just a few years.

In the 1990s, when Champion was selected as the official clothing supplier for all 27 teams NBA , his reputation skyrocketed. Champion clothing then spread far beyond the sports industry. Since then, she could be seen in films, at concerts, in skate parks and on the hip-hop scene.

Champion also designed uniforms for the men's Olympic basketball team USA in 1992, known as the "Dream Team". This team featured arguably the greatest basketball players of all time, including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley. Some of this popularity definitely translated into Champion clothing, as every fan wanted to emulate their idols wearing Champion clothing.

Fading glory

In the late 1990s, Champion's popularity began to wane. In 1989, Champion was purchased by Sara Lee Corporation. At that time, the corporation was mainly focused on food, but wanted to expand its reach to the clothing industry as well.

In the 1990s, Sara Lee invested in the development and distribution of Champion, which helped the brand gain momentum. However, Champion became just a small cog in a big machine. In the 2000s, Sara Lee focused on the food industry and no longer paid much attention to the Champion brand.

The 2000s also saw an increase in smaller, niche clothing companies and more stores began carrying sportswear similar to Champion. Under Sara Lee's leadership, Champion failed to keep up with trends. It was not as diverse as the competition and gradually lost its attractiveness.

Champion's popularity has always been greatly influenced by his association with professional athletes. In 2001, Champion was selected to outfit the league XFL . However, the league collapsed after just one season. It is possible that the failure of the league contributed to the decline of the brand. To keep your clothing brand current, you need to keep up with fashion trends, social changes and competition.


Champion's innovative designs changed the sportswear industry for good, so it's no wonder the brand achieved such fame in the 20th century. And because the fashion industry is constantly in love with the nostalgia of the 90s, the somewhat forgotten brand has become cool again and is worn by top celebrities, trendsetters and celebrities.

Collaborations with brands such as Supreme, Vetements, Off-White, Monkey Time, Beams and many others helped the Champion brand regain its former position and turned it into a premium streetwear brand that virtually everyone wants to wear.

July 11, 2023