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Posts tagged as 'Fred Perry'

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Fred Perry - The Tennis Champion

Born in 1909 in the industrial town of Stockport, Frederick John Perry grew up to be the most successful British tennis player of all time.

The son of a cotton spinner, Fred's working class roots made him an unlikely champion in a sport traditionally revered by the upper classes. Ironically it was his father's dedication to 'working man's' politics that paved the way for Fred's success. Fred's father, Sam, was an active and dedicated member of the local Co-operative Party. He was offered and accepted a job in the London party headquarters, a relocation that unknowingly would result in a lifelong love affair between his son and racket sports.

Fred Full Flight

The family moved to West London and Fred attended a school in Ealing, where he discovered table tennis and developed his voracious appetite to win. Each evening he would set up his dining room table and obsessively practice for hours. In 1928, Fred became the World Table Tennis Champion. Next, he moved his attention to lawn tennis.

He had discovered tennis a few years earlier whilst on holiday in Eastbourne with his parents. Stumbling across a local tournament he had noticed all the cars parked near the courts and asked his father if they belonged to the players or the spectators. Sam told his son they belonged to the players, to which Fred replied ‘I will become a tennis player’. It was an audacious ambition. Tennis was 'owned' by the upper classes - the sport inhabited a world where he did not belong and would not be welcome. Fred did not care for obstacles and against the odds his ascent to glory was swift. He had a natural ability and equally important he had steely determination;

'I made up my mind early on, that I wasn’t going to let people order me about…bloody mindedness was one of my specialities and revenge was never against my principles either’.

Fred gained notoriety on the court, not just for his wins, but also for his behaviour. He refused to shake hands with his opponents prior to a match, ‘I wasn’t being snooty, but you could lose some of the feeling in your hand’ he explained. He played in buckskin tennis shoes and if a game reached a fourth set, he would change into dazzling white trousers and a new shirt to emphasise his freshness. It was this kind of ‘vulgar‘ behaviour that led him to be snubbed by the class conscious Wimbledon crowd, the chairman of the Lawn Tennis Association reputedly muttered ‘he is not one of us!’.

 

Fred Perry Medal

The snubs merely acted as a propeller for Fred. During his sporting career, he was the winner of 10 Majors including eight Grand Slams, two Pro Slams and three Wimbledon titles from 1934 to 1936; he is also the only player in history to have won at least one Major tournament in both tennis and table tennis.

His unrivalled skill on the courts attracted attention on both sides of the ‘pond’; he dated Hollywood starlets, including Jean Harlow and Marlene Dietrich and became one of the world's first truly international sportsmen. Fred's charisma and dashing looks would even lead him to be offered a two year deal with Paramount Films amongst others - offers he refused due to commitment to his sport. 

Fred Perry Choice Stars

Fred’s popularity with the people did not go unnoticed and during the late 1940s Toby Wegner, a former Austrian football player, approached him with an idea for marketing a sweatband bearing the Fred Perry name. They adopted the Laurel Wreath as a logo, synonymous with tennis and an ancient symbol of sporting excellence, it was perfectly befitting.

First off they produced a batch of sweatbands and gave them to all the top players to wear in major tournaments. The sweatbands were a huge success and in 1952, the Fred Perry Sportswear label officially launched. Next came an innovative performance shirt, one with a lightweight and breathable honeycomb structure. Fred wore the shirt whilst he commentated and players followed suit, eager to replace their baggy, ill-fitting alternatives. The Fred Perry logo soon became associated with Wimbledon, the world’s leading tennis tournament; customers saw it, liked it and bought it.

Fred Perry Lawn Tennis

From day one, the company enjoyed nothing but success. Its name even reached the highest levels of society. The Queen Mother once asked Fred why his shirt was better than anyone else’s, to which he replied ‘Ma'am, it’s the shirt that fits’, cheekily quoting the company’s ad line of the day.

Archive Tennis Advert

Fred went onto live in various parts of the world, but he always returned to Wimbledon to commentate. Remarkably he never bore any grudges for the LTA’s cursory treatment of him as a player. On the fiftieth anniversary of his 1934 Wimbledon triumph, the Somerset Road entrance was renamed the Fred Perry Gates and a statue of the player unveiled. It was Fred Perry’s greatest triumph.

60 years on the Fred Perry Tennis Collection blends clean contemporary silhouettes with heritage inspired styling details.

View the men's Tennis Collection here and the women's Tennis Collection here.

A 60 Second Guide To: The Giro d’Italia

The Giro d’Italia or the Tour of Italy is one of the greatest cycling races in the world; along with the Tour de France and Vuelta a España it forms part of the Triple Crown of Cycling.

Created in 1909, the race was originally designed to boost circulation of the Italian sports newspaper ‘La Gazetto dello Sport’ – to this day the winner wears a pink jersey (Maglia Rosa) to represent the colour of the founding newspaper.

A 60 Second Guide to: The Giro d'Italia

Easy to romanticise by onlookers, the gruelling 21 stage race unravels across a backdrop of glorious Italian landscapes, taking in many of the momentous Dolomite mountain climbs and those of neighbouring countries. Spanning approximately 3500 kilometres, the intensity of the race is enhanced by its unfortunate end date. Riders completing the Giro are expected just one month later to begin the punishing Le Tour de France – this overwhelming prospect often results in a decision to target winning one race and forgoing the other. Riders that complete both races successfully are given extra kudos. Riders that win both races within their careers become heroes. And those that champion both races in the same season, they become legends.

Although the start, the route and the finish point vary from year to year the race is always made up of the same components – Sprint Stages, Mountain Stages and Time Trials. The different stages play out in different ways, with riders excelling in one particular area; it is unusual for a rider to excel in every type of stage and this is why strategy becomes imperative to success.

This year 23 teams made up of 207 international riders will enter the race. Before and during the race each team will work together and decide who has the best chance of winning, the team must then dedicate themselves to helping their leader win.

There are various jerseys to be won throughout the race, the most coveted being the Maglia Rosa - which goes to the stage winner. Following on from the stage winners jersey is the Maglia Rosso Passione, whose name arguably loses some of its charm when translated into English - the red passion knit - this goes to the rider with the highest points overall; points are awarded to riders according to their ranking in each stage. Then there is Maglia Azzura, which goes to the best climber classification and the Maglia Bianca for bright young things (the best young rider).

A 60 Second Guide to: The Giro d'Italia

The overall winner of the race is the competitor with the lowest cumulative time to complete all stages. Coverage of the event usually focuses around a few firm favourites and the battles between arch-rivals can make compelling viewing. Perhaps one of the most famous Giros of all was in 1949, when Italian national heroes Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali pitted against each other for three long weeks across post-war Italy. Coppi took the title then followed it up with a Le Tour win, earning him the nickname the Il Campionissimo – the champion of champions. Strong contenders for this years giro title include 2012 Tour de France winner, Olympic cycling champion and Fred Perry collaborator Bradley Wiggins.

See the latest Fred Perry and Bradley Wiggins Collection here.

A 60 Second Guide To: Gingham

The 60s kids kept it slim and tailored. The skins slipped theirs on under braces and wore it buttoned up. Marilyn Monroe famously tied hers at the waist. A recent rockabilly revival has seen it peeking beneath heavy leathers. An absolute classic, the gingham check shirt has been a mainstay of the youth wardrobe for decades; its enduring appeal recognised by each generation.

Women's Gingham Shirts

Women's Classic Gingham Shirt 

With a history as chequered as the pattern itself, gingham's exact origins are unknown. Countries worldwide, each with their own gingham 'customs' lay claim to founding the fabric. The African Masaï tribe have used the pattern for thousands of years and it even features in the national costume. In Indonesia the pattern takes on a spiritual meaning; the contrasting colours represent the battle between good and evil. In India it is referred to as Gamucha and is simply a towel used to dry the body.

The word itself, thought to derive from the Malaysian word genggang meaning ‘striped’, first appeared in the English language in the early 17th Century. The brightly coloured fabric was imported to Britain under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I, who notoriously created strong trade links with the Far East during this period. However the fabric's popularity truly flourished during the 18th Century when mills around the Manchester area began producing the brightly coloured check from imported dyes and cotton.  

Gingham Shirts

Men's Authentic Gingham Shirts 

It was during the mid 20th Century that the gingham shirt truly came to the fore with the cult of the teenager - tribes emerged each with a unifying sense of style. Some were influenced by Hollywood, some took sartorial tips from the early Nashville musicians, others looked to the Italians and French. Each tribe found a way to wear the gingham shirt and in turn passed it down through the generations. The classic check shirt remains largely unchanged – a button down collar, the locker hoop at the yoke, an open chest pocket.

Shop the Men's Authentic Gingham Shirt

Shop the Women's Authentic Gingham Shirt