This past Sunday I was at Meijer on Lake Lansing Road and I saw this.

McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
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An EMPTY Champion clothing display. Like, they sold all the Champion clothes/gear.

What? Champion is cool again? Did I miss a memo?

No, seriously. Will someone please explain to me when this happened?

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If the saying "don't worry your time will come" were a clothing line, then Champion would be it.

And they say a broken clock or watch is right twice a day. The same could be said here right?

This is not a knock on the brand. I don't think I am alone when I say that "back in the day", Champion was indeed NOT IT. At least not when I could remember it.

Champion Clothing History

In their early beginnings, Champion was indeed a force to be reckoned with. But that was a while back.

Did you know that they pretty much invented "the hoodie"?

The brand’s most famous invention—the hoodie—was born in the early ’30s. By adding hoods to sweatshirts for extra protection against the cold, Champion had unwittingly invented what was to become one of the most popular garments of our time. (Printful)

 

They partnered with the NCAA in the 60's, the NFL in the 70's, had a huge gain in popularity during the 80's, and teamed up with the NBA in the 90's. They even provided the outfits for the "Dream Team" Olympic Teams in 1992 and 1994. (Printful)

Here's Shawn Kemp rockin' that Olympic jersey with the Champion "C" logo on it.

DREAM TEAM TWO
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But then they got bought up by "Sara Lee". As in "nobody does it like Sara Lee". As in these guys.

Yeah. The folks who make bread, desserts, and such.

In the ’90s, Sara Lee invested in expanding and distributing Champion, and gave the brand a boost. However, Champion had become a small cog in a large machine. By the 2000s, Sara Lee returned their focus on the food industry and didn’t pay much attention to Champion anymore. (Printful)

There was also a deal with the ill-fated XFL (Vince McMahon + WWE + football = XFL = FAIL).

And the Champion did seem to fall.

Down, but not out.

HOW DID CHAMPION BECOME COOL AGAIN?

Peep the video above to find out how Sara Lee ended up dumping off Champion to Hanes and after some struggles (and some pretty lucky collaborations), they are again surging in popularity and doing very well financially.

Champion sales are projected to be about $2 billion in 2021, and Hanesbrands HBI, 1.13% is aiming for $3 billion by 2024. (Marketwatch)

They have been embraced by pop culture again. No longer that cheap sports gear you can just get at Walmart or Target, they've teamed up with some pretty impressive names and companies to create some must-have gear worn by athletes, celebrities, and influencers alike.

Chance The Rapper and Kylie Jenner.

Collabs with Oreo and Sesame Street.

Champion is back and it looks like they're here to stay and make some serious cash in the process.

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