The brand history of Fred Perry
The Fred Perry laurel wreath has developed into one of the best known and most instantly recognisable logos in the fashion world. The origins of the laurel were, perhaps not surprisingly, derived from Fred’s sporting pedigree as a three-times winner of Wimbledon and a Davis Cup champion.
In the late 1940s Fred Perry was approached by Tibby Wegner, an Austrian footballer who had invented an anti-perspirant device worn around the wrist. Perry made a few changes and invented the sweatband. Wegner's next idea was to produce a sports shirt which was to be made from white knitted cotton pique with short sleeves and buttons down the front. Launched at Wimbledon in 1952, the Fred Perry polo shirt was an immediate success.
The brand is best known for its laurel logo, which appears on the left breast of the tennis shirts. The laurel logo (based on the old Wimbledon symbol) was stitched into the fabric of the shirt instead of merely ironed on. The polo shirt was only available in white until the late 50s when the mods picked up on it and demanded a more varied colour palette.
It was the shirt of choice for diverse groups of teenagers throughout the 1960s and 70s, ranging from the skinheads to the Northern Soul scene and Manchester's very own "Perry Boys", a group of violent football supporters whose exploits were recently documented in the book of that name by author Ian Hough.
The clothing brand has also become popular amongst young teens in Ireland. This subdivision group has become recognisable by the Fred Perry knitwear generally purple in color with white strips. This attire can be a way of recognising the Irish working class citizens from the more "upper class".
It started one of the most enduring and affectionate relationships between British youth culture and a sportswear brand.
As British street fashion and music influenced the rest of the world, the Fred Perry shirt was noticed, adopted and worn in numerous countries around the globe.
One thing remains constant. The original slim fit cotton pique shirt is still made in England to the same shape, using the same fabric as it was when the Fred Perry shirt was first launched, way back in 1952.
Fashions may come and go, but style is timeless.