Fred Perry – The Man Behind The Brand

Fred perry at footasylum

Fred perry at footasylum
To modern day kids, Fred Perry means polo shirts and super-cool minimalist plims. But for older generations, Fred Perry was a true sporting hero.

Fred Perry – Tennis giant

Fred Perry is one of the most successful tennis players of all time, and comfortably the most successful male British tennis player. An eight-time Grand Slam winner, Fred Perry won all 4 majors in his career, including Wimbledon. In fact, Perry was the last British player to win the Wimbledon Men’s Singles title, taking the honours in 1934, 1935, and 1936 – all while still an amateur. He turned pro in 1937 and never won another Grand Slam before his retirement from the sport in 1939.

Duelling with Elly Vines

After officially turning pro in 1937, Perry went to America to take on Elly Vines in a tour that lasted for 61 matches. Perry came out slightly for the worst on the US tour, going down 29 to 32, but after a further nine match tour in Britain at the end of 1937 where Perry won six matches out of nine, the two men ended the year honours evens on 35 matches each, leaving them tied at number one in the world rankings. The following year’s tour saw the addition of Don Budge, an American player who Perry never managed to get the better of, and although ranked as world number one going into 1938, Perry finished the year ranked second behind Vines, slipping further to number three in 1939 behind both Vines and Budge.

Criticism

Despite citing him as one of the greatest players of all time, tennis promoter and former player Jack Kramer slammed Perry in his 1979 biography, calling him “opportunist” and “a selfish and egotistical person” who never had respect for the professional game. He went on: “He was a great champion, and he could have helped tennis, but it wasn’t in his interest so he didn’t bother.”

The birth of the Fred Perry clothing brand

The Fred Perry clothing brand came a decade after the player’s retirement, and was started with with his invention of the sweatband, which was a variation on a design by Austrian footballer Tibby Wegner. Following on the success of the sweatband, Wegner produced a white cotton sports shirt with a buttoned neck, short sleeves and collar, and launched it at Wimbledon in 1952 to resounding success. The brand has remained popular in the years since its launch, finding particular notoriety with the Mod movement, and later Britpop. Recently, British tennis star Andy Murray has helped Fred Perry clothing – best known for its stitched laurel logo – to surge to popularity yet again by choosing it the company as his official shirt sponsor.

Buy Fred Perry at Footasylum

At Footasylum, we sell an unrivalled range of gear from the best brands around. Shop online with us for Fred Perry, Adidas, Nike, Lacoste, G-Star and loads more.