Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Fred Perry!

The British tennis superstar Frederick John Perry was born 100 years ago in Stockport near Manchester. The Fred Perry brand began in the late 40s when Perry was approached by Tibby Wegner who had invented an anti-perspirant device worn around the waist. With Wegner's permission, Perry altered the design, making it suitable for the wrists and head, thereby inventing the sweatband. Their next idea was to produce sports shirts made from white knitted cotton pique with short sleeves and buttons down the front.  This was launched at Wimbledon in 1952 to immediate success. The Laurel logo stitched into the material on the left breast, soon became a symbol of the Fred Perry brand. 

Up until the late 50s, the polo shirt was only available in white until the early mods of the 50s adopted them and demanded more choice. Since then, many youth cultures of the UK have adorned the Fred Perry logo, including the skinheads and the Northern Soul scene (with the likes of The Specials being largely responsible for its popularity). 
I got my first Fred Perry top when I was 15 and wore it to gym class. It still fits so whenever I get the notion, I decide to sport it again. The polo shirts have become particularly popular again in the last few years as today's "indie" bands adopt the same approach the mods and skinheads did before them. 
Fred Perry currently have a limited edition 100th birthday collection available with the laurel logo also including '100' underneath. 

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