Sports Insight

March/April 2019

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10 • Sports Insight March/April 2019 S weatshirts are having a bit of a moment right now. On Facebook and Instagram, it's rare NOT to see a celebrity or sports gure donning something eece, cozy or of the athleisure variety. "Sweatshirts are a part of the traditional sports uniform — a piece that not only denes your style, but your identity too," notes Barbara Ebersberger, VP of performance apparel for Reebok. And those tracking the fastest growing apparel categories this past year at retail know that sweatshirts are high on the list. "I think their popularity is a function of the continued dominance of athletes as well as their versatility," comments Matt Powell, senior industry advisor for e NPD Group, adding that "sweatshirts can be comfy and cozy, and can also serve as light outerwear." e rise of the sweatshirt trend is enabling heritage brands to ex their retro cred while also showing o modern designs. Sports Insight takes a look at some power players in the sweatshirt category over the years. The Athletic Influencer One of the earliest sweatshirts in the Reebok archive paid homage to J.W. Foster, who made running shoes by hand in Bolton, England in the 1890s (J.W. Foster & Sons was renamed Reebok in 1958). "e sweatshirt is rooted in our strong running heritage and we've always recognized the needs of consumers," notes Holly Roberge, senior archive specialist for Reebok. With the advent of the running trend in the 1970s, Reebok served everyday athletes with apparel for myriad conditions. Today the rm has sweatpants and sweatshirts which range from training essentials to a collaboration with Victoria Beckham. New oerings meet the needs of a modern con- sumer with voluminous sleeves, along with diverse fabric weights, washes and material combinations. While the Classics Full-Zip is a timeless, slim-tting design, the Training Supply Cowl Neck features shell fabric cus and a relaxed, comfortable t. The Originator Russell Athletic, the eponymous "inventor of the sweatshirt," was founded by 26-year-old Benjamin Russell as the Russell Manufacturing Company in Alexander City, AL in 1902. The factory had 10 sewing machines and eight knitting machines, craing knit shirts for women and children. Russell later made uniforms for teams and apparel for athletes. TRENDS B Y S U Z A N N E B L E C H E R Don't call it a comeback. They've been here for years. The classic sweatshirt is on the rebound. Sweatshirt Redux Champion's Century Collection

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