The OG of athleisure, the sweater made its debut in American Football in the 1920’s and was designed with both performance and comfort in mind. Cut from strong and durable cotton on the outside and the iconic loopback knit inside, the sweatshirt knit is excellent for absorbing sweat and keeping you comfortable. Through its 100 years of history it still sits strong with athletes but has also gained traction among people wearing hip-hop, streetsmart and athleisure attire. Despite it’s casual roots, the sweatshirt has continued to evolve into everyday wear and with more clean cuts and contemporary styles available, the classic sweatshirt can now be mixed and matched to suit nearly any occasion. Take a look below to read more about our take on the sweatshirt:
The Sweatshirt originated on the American football field in the 1920’s, where Bennie Russel Jr first used it. He and his team mates at the University of Alabama football team were frustrated by the wool jerseys they were using. They were itchy, prone to shrinking and certainly not as easy to wash as a garment made out of cotton. The new design, known as The Sweatshirt was manufactured by Bennie Russel’s father and was immediately adopted by other athletes and fans.
Prints on sweatshirts became the norm during the 1960’s and 70’s. Sports teams and fans had previously printed the name of their team to show their affiliation but during the 60’s and 70’s this continued to evolve with brands putting their logos and slogans on the garment. With it the Sweatshirt became a portable marketing tool. Just head to your nearest thrift shop and you’ll be sure to find some prime examples.
The Sweatshirt eventually became a vehicle for self expression. Brand logotypes were exchanged for catch phrases and simple graphical elements reflecting the person and designer’s beliefs and stand points. From here The Sweatshirt’s way into subcultures were not far away. The first to adopt it were skateboarders and surfers. The original fabric properties which helped absorb sweat and keep athletes warm was equally efficient in drying up and keeping surfers snug once they were out of the water.
While, skateboarders were more keen on the durability of the garment. A long sleeve of sturdy cotton offered a layer of protection against the hard concrete and helped prevent grazes. The ‘skateboard-look’ became popular through lifestyle magazines and was adopted by young adults wanted to adopt the effortly cool skateboarder look without having to master the kick-flip.
Simultaneously, a new subculture was emerging in the Bronx. Hip-hop culture first started in the 80’s, with artists adopting a baggy look with oversized sweatshirts and pants, also known as the sweatsuit. Fashion brands were watching closely, wanting to tap into the level of cool this “old-skool” style had among young consumers. Designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Vivianne Westwood made their own versions of the traditional sportswear garment in novel materials while other brands printed their own messaging across the chest and arms.
In under 100 years, The Sweatshirt has made an impressive journey from the dirty football fields into other sports and subcultures, to become a mainstay in almost every collection. The history of the sweatshirt is constantly evolving and we continue to keep a close eye on the development, while launching our contemporary take on a now timeless classic.
Originating in the world of sport functionality is built into every part of the garment’s design. The key features are durability, fluidity and keeping the wearers’ temperature comfortable regardless if they’re the ones exercising or cheering from the supporter bleachers.
The only material a sweatshirt should be made of is cotton. A cotton fabric knit lends a stretchy property to the garment that allows an ease movement, essential for sportswear. Garments made of cotton are also airy, with the of the fabric affecting how light the garment is; anything under 200g/sqm is considered lightweight and anything over 300g/sqm is considered heavy and better for keeping the wearer warm.
When it comes to the construction of the garments, the sweatshirt has some distinct criteria. The inside has a different knit to the outside. The Loopback knit, named after how it looks, minimizes the tension of the fabric, making the fabric more stretchyas well as offering an even softer feel on the skin. The two different cotton knit structures go hand-in-hand, with the outer fabric offering protection from the elements, while the inside knit is excellent for absorbing sweat and dissipating any heat through the outside layer of the garment.
Some sweatshirts feature an inverted-triangle detail stitched on the neck line, pointing down toward the top of the chest, the idea being that the additional stitching will help wick sweat as well as reinforce the neckline. Today the Sweatshirt most sweatshirts are worn as a relaxed office outfit or loungewear and the need for this unsightly detail has disappeared from the garment outside of sports.
Another key design consideration for garments originating for sports use, is that the garment needs to sit tight and does not flap around. To achieve this sweatshirts commonly feature ribbed hems and cuffs, to ensure the garment sits tight around the hips and wrist, while the elasticity of the rib allows the garments to flex when it is pulled on or off.
A final design consideration is around the sleeve and whether to develop a pattern with a raglan or a set-in sleeve design. With a raglan sleeve, the sleeve merges and ends at the neckline whereas a set-in sleeve introduces a hem on the shoulder. The core benefit of a raglan sleeve is that it offers more movement than the set-in sleeve. The raglan sleeve is also seen as less formal and more sporty than the set-in sleeve. Sweatshirts designed for off the football field typically feature a set-in sleeve, as it offers a cleaner look.
At ASKET we have created our minimalist and contemporary take on a sportswear classic. . Our sweatshirt is cut from a380g/sqm 100% cotton fabric and features the iconic loopback knit. The loopback is unbrushed to prevent pilling and offers warmth and comfort. We have pre-washed the garment to give it a softer feel on the body and prevent it from shrinking. While, our sweatshirt is not made for the sports field and is instead a more dressed version, we still pay homage to its athletic origins, with ribbed hems, cuffs and neckline. We added lycra to lend both more strength and elasticity and this also made it possible to remove the triangle just under the neckline for a cleaner look. The Sweatshirt, as with all ASKET products, is designed with longevity in mind, so you can wear this heavy duty garment for many many years to come.
All our garments are co-developed with our customers. With our permanent collection we’re able to continue to develop, evaluate and improve our garments. We work closely with you, obtaining feedback and work to constantly iterate and improve our garments with every restock..