The long-standing love affair between fashion and function doesn’t come in a much neater package than the logo sweatshirt. From athletic origins to streetwear staple, wearing your heart on your sleeve (or, in fact, your chest) has never been easier or more stylish. Here’s the story of a cult piece of streetwear history.
INSPIRATION AND ADVICE
CULT ITEM: LOGO SWEATSHIRT
By Style Feed Staff, June 20, 2018
The humble sweatshirt started life in the '20s, a thick, fleecy, cotton pullover, usually in gray, that athletes wore in training to keep warm and, yes, soak up sweat. In the '60s, however, universities cottoned on (sorry) to the fact that their varsity training gear could be used to shout their school pride loud and clear from their chests. The schools’ signature capital-lettered logos made their way over all over the world and into Gap stores (remember that craze?) and now your aunt can't go anywhere without buying you a sweat emblazoned with the city’s name from a street-corner shop.
'90s cult classics
Come the '90s, the simultaneous rise of hip-hop and the lasting dominance of skate and sportswear meant the logo sweat was pretty much a mandatory piece in every well-dressed man’s wardrobe. Brands like Champion (who were dressing the top NBA and NFL teams at the time), Ellesse and Fila brought a sporty edge to street-based wardrobes (baggy jeans and logo caps were the order of the day) while Calvin Klein’s iconic sweats were the top choice for the fashion kids. In the last couple of years, with the '90s redux in full flow, you’ve probably copped a fair few original or rebooted versions yourself.
Believe the hype
The cult-mainstream-cult cycle has come all the way back around again recently, meaning there’s still space for hype streetwear brands to carve a niche in the logomania trend. New York skate brand Supreme’s box-logo range is perhaps the streetwear fanatic's favorite example of this, but Stussy, Thrasher, Palace and other sidewalk-surfing labels have all had a bite of the cherry too.
Sweats on tour
Band merch has always been a low-key cool way to show your band allegiance, but as of late, artists have been capitalizing on the opportunity to brand their fans — cue waiting lists, huge queues outside pop-ups and eye-popping graphics. Now, wearing a piece of Kanye West's "Wyoming" merch signals more than just fandom — it's a sign you're tapped into the sartorial street culture that goes with it.
Novelty and retro
It’s not just about tasteful insignias, though. With the re-emergence of logomania in recent years comes an inevitable backlash, with some men preferring the authentic credibility of old-school picks and vintage logos. Step into any Brooklyn vintage den and you’ll see scores of people combing the racks for old Scout uniforms, summer camp sweats or a rare '90s find from the likes of Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren. The logo sweat has come full circle.