Is this the fabric to define a century?
Starting as a robust dependable pure twisted wool fabric in 1922, aimed at outdoor pursuits, woven in its UK mills, Sportex® fabric is now also found in a wide variety of edgy international collections, from upmarket tailors and chic menswear stores to designer collections, accessories and footwear, worn by celebrities on social media and studied widely.
Sportex® was from the offset a winner. Providing real comfort combined with protection from the elements, first snapped up by country pursuits enthusiasts. Durable and crease resistant, woven from pure wool, its robust and heavy element-defying construction weighed a hefty 600 gms making it ideal for outdoor sports.
It hit perfectly the glamorous side of the growing leisure market, particularly golf, where players like Arnaud Massy were treated like filmstars, with devoted followers and fans and golf courses burgeoning all across Europe and beyond. From the 1920s player fame gave rise to a whole new revolutionary leisure market and Sportex® was very much part of it.
Popularity was further increased by astute advertising. Celebrity graphic designers and artists were commissioned to create images of luxury and leisure, some of which have become collectors’ items. Ads featured golf celebrities, suave players dressed in Sportex®, and images of champions such as Arnaud Massy. Everyone wanted a Sportex® jacket.
Chale, Pat Sullivan, creator of Felix the Cat, and artist Riley, made illustrations of golfers and technique in the 1920s, wearing Sportex® leisurewear combining quality with colour, pattern, and individuality unusual at that time.
The artistic connection continued throughout the following decades with campaigns featuring ads and designs by up-and-coming talented illustrators, celebrity fashion photographers like Alex Murray in 1970s Swinging London. The styles reflect changes and the ‘in crowd’ mentality of the 60s, with a light touch, subtly reflecting the message of quality and pure new wool.
Sportex® today is half as heavy, at 300 gms; softer, malleable and with technical advantages for extra comfort like stretch and breathability, still made in the UK. These days it is very popular with present day eco-savvy generations seeking sustainability assurances and having great expectations of their purchases. Sportex® is increasingly used for sneakers and bomber jackets, a sign of getting ready to make its mark on the next 100 years.