It’s June, it’s raining and suddenly everyone’s talking about Andy Murray again – you’ve guessed it; it’s Wimbledon!
And with the world’s most illustrious and renowned tennis competition comes an array of apparel produced by iconic sports fashion labels and adorned by the biggest names the game has to offer.
Here at Wynsors, we’ve taken a look at some of these historic brands who you may not immediately associate with tennis but have a rich heritage on the court.
Adidas has long been linked to mod and casual culture which is why Adidas Originals and retro wear have become such timeless wardrobe staples. As have Adidas Stan Smiths.
Estimated to have sold around 50 million pairs, the simple white leather pump-style trainer is synonymous with the world of sportswear but few recognise its roots in tennis history. Stan Smith was the world’s leading tennis player in the early ’70s winning grand slam titles at Wimbledon and the US Open whilst oozing style and charisma that led to Adidas choosing him as the flag bearer for their popular tennis shoe. According to “Sneaker Report”, this endorsement contract is ’13th place of the 50 most influential sneaker sponsorships in sports history.
In 1966, two budding Swiss entrepreneurs headed to California to pursue their dream of creating a footwear label that was sporty yet fashionable. They designed the first full-leather tennis shoe which made its way onto centre court at Wimbledon that same year and nearly 50 years later, K-Swiss is one of the biggest footwear brands in the world. The brand is currently endorsed by perennial record breakers and no. 1 men’s doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan as well as Mardy Fish, a regular in the mens’ top 10 around 2011, emphasising how the K-Swiss brand has established its mark on the professional scene.
POLO RALPH LAUREN
Wimbledon may be quintessentially British but it’s the world-famous American fashion label that has got the All England Club looking like preppy Hamptons kids. The label has been the official outfitters of Wimbledon since 2006 clothing everyone from the umpires to the linesmen and the ball boys and girls. Their classic polo shirts and plimsolls fit right in with tennis heritage and although they’ve not got history on the court itself, around the court Polo Ralph Lauren is synonymous with modern tennis couture.
The name Fred Perry to most young men today evokes images of polo shirts, Harrington jackets and plimsolls – but tennis fans will have a different picture. As mentioned above, Fred was a legendary men’s singles champion from the 1930s picking up three Wimbledon titles in a row and, like the stars of today, was soon approached to put his name to all manner of sports products. The endorsed Fred Perry range really took off as fashion wear in the 1960s when the casual yet slightly dressed-up look drew particular favour with Mod culture aficionados. Fred Perry clothing in the modern age is still a hugely popular fashion brand with a modern edge that never stands still.
Lastly but by no means least, we arrive at Lacoste. It is no exaggeration to say that René Lacoste is the father of the modern tennis shirt. The son of a wealthy French businessman, Lacoste was an exceptional tennis player who won seven grand slam singles titles in the mid-to-late 1920s. With his father’s help, he decided to revolutionise on-court attire having become fed up with running up and down the court wearing uncomfortable flannel trousers and shirts. He designed a short sleeve ‘piqué’ cotton tennis shirt that became his most ground-breaking creation; sleek, stylish, white, and, unlike anything else on court – comfortable. He debuted the shirt during the 1926 US Open (which he ended up winning), and the new style became a sensation. His tenacity on the court led to him being labelled ‘The Alligator’ which he used as his brand logo – a logo that is renowned around the world today. Lacoste apparel is still visible in the modern game, adorned by players such as John Isner, but it’s just as likely to be seen on the high street having become a real fashion staple.
Guest Post – Written by John Baird – Director at Scotland Debt Solutions.