Amid clothing brands shifting online because of the pandemic, American sportswear brand Champion just opened its first physical store in Manila. The brand, part of Anthem Group which also handles Original Penguin, Perry Ellis, Ben Sherman, and Nautica among others, confirmed the launch via its Facebook page.
Right inside SM Megamall's style stop — Fashion Hall, Champion's store seems like a long overdue. The brand was previously only available at Rustan's Department Store.
Champion, with most of the younger gen now only discovering its signature red-blue-white "C" logo as the hypebeast style stays in session, actually dates 100 years back. Established in 1919 in Rochester, New York, it only gained renown in the late 20s as a sweatshirt brand. It later found itself worn by the US military — and soon by American children for their PE classes in the 1950s.
Champion became a bigger brand in the 80s and 90s. It was the official outfitter of 27 NBA teams, even supplying the jerseys of the American national basketball team from 1989 to 2001. In 1996, Champion had the first men's "Dream Team" (the States' first Olympic basketball team comprising then-active NBA players) plus the first women's Dream Team wear its jerseys.
It marked its relaunch as a premium athleisure brand in 2017, with the opening of its first European store in London. The brand also made its 2012-born Reverse Weave Hoodie — then displayed at the Museum of Modern Art — a permanent part of its collection.
The past years, in an effort to expand its aesthetic and reach the more style-inclined market, Champion has collaborated with the likes of Clothsurgeon, Rick Owens, Chiara Ferragn, and Craig Green.
Banner image from Champion Philippines