Champion has reached a new audience of style conscious wearers in recent years thanks to new product designs and trendy collaborations with the likes of Supreme and Vetements. However the company has a history that almost stretches back a century. The “Knickerbocker Knitting Company” was founded in 1919 by two brothers, Abe and Bill Feinbloom, in Rochester, New York. The company found a market for its products providing college athletes with high-quality sporting apparel and patented its reverse weave technology in 1938, a method of knitting garments that minimized shrinking and optimized durability. This lead to the creation of its now-famous hoodies, which became a popular workwear staple for cold winter conditions. Its appeal translated over to the East Coast rap scene, with the brand being pretty much ubiquitous in rap videos during the ‘90s. The toughness and durability of Champion brand staples were a perfect compliment to the raw energy of the era.
On the track “7th Chamber” Raekwon spits “Champion gear that I rock, you get your boots knocked.” The spirit of competition is a recurring theme in hip-hop since its inception and Champion is a physical embodiment of that. Champion has been a reliable choice for the entire Wu-Tang Clan over the years, popping up again and again in public photos of the group. As the hoodies blur the line between absolute utility and the comfort of streetwear (not to mention general affordability), it’s no wonder that rappers today are still making their Champion hoodies a staple of their wardrobes.