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Retro Sportswear Has Made a Comeback

A revival of 90s culture has seen once forgotten sportswear brands thrusted back into the fashion limelight. Brands such as Fila, Donnay and Champion are major players experiencing a renaissance from a dying fragment of the industry, due in part, to pop culture and the yearning for nostalgia. Guys raised in 80s and 90s begin their upsurge; re-introducing those sporting labels in an ode to their upbringing. We’ve seen big jackets, retro shirts and sneaker trends all follow suit over recent years. So now is the time of sportswear.

Arguably the greatest factor in sportswear brands rising to prominence again is the multiple streetwear collaborations these brands have been involved in. Off-White x Umbro, Gosha x Kappa, Fila x Akomplice, Supreme x Champion... the list goes on. Some of these brands never really had a sporting heritage in the first place yet were associated with sporting spectators such as the “footy casual” due to designs at the time and constantly in the shadow of the monopoly brands i.e. Nike and Adidas.

Gosha Rubchinskiy is the touted as the godfather of the revival of sportswear, yet brands like Palace and Supreme have been collaborating with these lost companies since they were last relevant in the 90s and throughout the 00s, all be it not entirely legally. Even Balenciaga and Vetements have jumped on the bandwagon of recent styling aesthetics. They released shoes with Reebok that were able to gather quite a cult following due to scarcity of the product, yet being worn by big celebrity names. Celebrities haven’t been ones to evade this retrogression either. With such highly touted designers bringing instant relevance to a fading section of sportswear, they have adopted this nostalgic culture in a way we haven’t seen on this scale ever before.

From A$AP Rocky to the Kardashians, big names are rocking these selective savvy pieces, acting as influential fashion figures for the youth to thrive in search of new trends. Coinciding with the fashion resurgence is the 90s rap and hip hop boom. It’s played in clubs across the country, those party bangers we heard growing up are now staples for any DJ to get a crowd going. Wu-tang Clan, Nas and Tupac all payed vital roles when the brands were first adopted for a streetwear purpose rather than for sportswear, and now those kids who grew up listening to these musical sensations are firmly cemented in the celebrity limelight. Bieber to Lil Yachty and even Gigi Hadid; retro sportswear has infected every aspect of pop culture.

Moreover, this type of fashion is ludicrously cheap. A 5 pack of Champion socks retail for $5. That’s crazy! Modern day shopping has meant clothes are more accessible than ever before, allowing for people from all walks of life to get their hands on them. Once looked down upon as items that had overstayed their welcome in a modern-day wardrobe, the mass exodus of old sportswear began causing an over saturation on the market. I mean charity shops still stock this stuff. Tops, Jackets and headwear are somewhat bargains compared to other fashion trends of recent, you just need to look in the right places.

The trend doesn’t look as though its slowing down either. Expect to see teenagers from Sydney to LA, London to Beijing all dressed as 90s European football fanatics. Online clothing superstores are cashing in too with Urban Outfitters and ASOS releasing exclusive pieces sporting large, printed logos that are selling like hotcakes. Adidas and Nike are joining the party re-releasing classic shoes. Air Max 97’s are a must have, along with the rest of the air max range, with rumoured never before seen colourways making an appearance later this year. All things Adidas is a staple, from Gazelles to Oregon Ultratechs, even Reebok are re-living the glory days with Reebok Pumps coming back. We miss the 90s, no security risks at the airport, superb television, video cameras, film photographs, Britpop, R&B, Grunge, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Moss, J-LO, a real mixing pot of cultures. What a time to be alive.


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