In the last few years, as many of us have noticed, Champion has made a comeback! While Champion items used to be seen as stores such as Target and Walmart, they are now being worn by many celebrity icons… to name a few: Kylie Jenner, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Justin Bieber. You might be wondering (as I was), how did this HUGE rebranding happen? Well, I’m here to tell you exactly how Champion has made its mark.
It all started in 1919 when the Feinbloom brothers established the brand “Champion” in Rochester, New York. The brand was always known to have high-quality sweatpants and sweatshirts, so they quickly caught people’s eye and began to partner up with university sports teams. Its first partnership began with a team in Michigan, and it was through the word of mouth of these coaches that the brand began to expand even further.
Later in the 1930s, the brand went under a minor name change to Champion Knitting Mills Inc. and they became the brand of choice for university bookstores across America! A little glimpse to the future—Mercyhurst currently has Champion apparel located in our own bookstore today!
In the 1950s, Champion redesigned its logo, which is the now-familiar “C” which everyone recognizes. It was at this time that the “C” was placed on the left sleeve of the sweatshirt, and if you own any Champion items today, it can still be found there. Fast-forwarding to the 1990s, Champion was in its prime. With limited competition it was able to take over the sports market, as well as making itself the brand of choice for everyday consumers.
It was this time that everyone could be seen wearing Champion—it reached such a wide demographic that everyone wanted it. It was stated that if a shipment of Champion came into a store, customers would buy the box without opening it, as long as there were Champion goods inside! Champion was at its peak, however, at the turn of the century that status began to change.
As we reached the 2000s the market became saturated with new brands that targeted specific niches and groups, and Champion no longer appealed to all consumers. This is where we began to see the brand sold at places such as Walmart and Target at inexpensive prices. It no longer had that prestigious effect, and no one was interested in Champion goods. With the brand noticing this change, it began to re-brand itself. As consumers ourselves, we did not really see the effects of the brand’s work until the last few years, which has recently become highly apparent.
The main contribution to its success was collaborating with other established brands such as Urban Outfitters, Vetements, A Bathing Ape, and Supreme. The Champion logo began to be viewed in a new light, people now thought of it as a new and trendy brand, when in reality it has been around for almost 100 years. Many celebrities now wear the brand, and what is interesting is that it is not due to the fact that it is a collaboration, however, they are wearing it because they really love the brand. Champion now offers of wide variety of styles and prints that give its apparel a new look.
Champion has really come a long way in the past couple of years. As a brand, it has gone through many ups and downs, while phasing in and out of popularity, but through it all, it has held its name as an authentic and original brand.