Founded by the Feinbloom brothers in 1919 as Knickerbocker Knitting Mills, the company focused on athletic apparel such as socks and sweatshirts. During its first years of activity, the brand collaborated with different US universities to create sports team uniforms. In the 1930's the brand started its transition into the iconic brand we know today with the introduction of the hoodie garment design. It also changed its name to 'Champion Knitting Mills'.
The Champion brand expanded its product line to include athletic footwear. During this period, Champion launched its footwear line, providing athletes with quality shoes that would enhance their performance. Among its footwear offerings, the brand likely offered specialized shoes for running, basketball, and tennis. In the late 60's the company's name was officially established as 'Champion' and used the soon-to-be iconic 'C' logo designed in the 50's.
Streetwear and hip-hop culture made Champion sneakers a fashion statement, contributing to its footwear recognition. Champion sneakers became highly sought after during this time and were frequently featured in music videos and embraced as symbols of street style. Champion became an internationally recognized footwear brand because of its classic designs and trademark 'C' logo.
Champion is acquired by HanesBrands Inc., enabling more extensive footwear development. HanesBrands' acquisition gave Champion access to extensive distribution channels and resources. As a result, the company reached a wider audience and invested in the design, production, and marketing of its footwear products.
Streetwear and athleisure trends coincide with Champion's footwear's revival in popularity. The Champion brand became a prominent player in the athleisure and streetwear fashion scene during this time, drawing renewed attention to its footwear offerings. Champion's sneakers and casual shoes are in high demand due to retro-inspired designs, comfortable construction, and the brand's strong reputation.
Throughout the sportswear industry, Champion continues to be a symbol of timeless design. The company continues to expand its creativity through exciting collaborations with recognized names including designer Craig Green, hip-hop group Beastie Boys, Smiley®, Harley-Davidson®, and even the popular series Stranger Things.
Did you know?
Champion was the company that first designed the hoodie. To keep athletes warm during training, they developed the first hooded sweatshirt in the 1930s. Now a staple of streetwear fashion, the hoodie is commonly associated with the Champion brand.
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