The pioneer of the cotton sweater, Russell Athletic is a century-old sports clothing brand with roots in Major League Baseball and the NFL. Focusing on wearability, the 90s ushered in a new era of street credibility for the brand, and from those foundations it has built a strong following among those who value comfort and a reliable streetwear aesthetic.
Russell Athletic is the father of the sweatshirt. The first brand ever to conceive the idea and push through all the way to production, the first sweatshirt was an all-cotton remodelling of the traditional woollen football jersey that was common at the time. This change on fabric kicked off the birth of the sweatshirt as is known today. Russell Athletic began as a maker of woven athletic pieces for those participating in basketball, baseball, and football. Pants and jackets mainly. Since, the brand has been there for some of the best, most memorable moments in American sports, emblazoned across jerseys and pants. Russell Athletic reached its peak in the 1990s, becoming manufacturer for a host of teams in NFL,Major League Baseball, and college sports. And it is the 90s that most people will associate with the Russell Athletic brand, and its impact on culture. Alongside its influence on American sport, Russell Athletic became synonymous with 90s hip-hop through appearances in many east coast music videos, which helped to establish its name not just in the mainstream but in a subculture hungry for style, and constantly growing. Russell Athletic will always have its part in the cultural history of American music as well as a firm grasp on its sporting past – and indeed present. Right now, the brand is coming through with super-comfortable streetwear including T-shirts, tracksuit pants and tops, hoodies, and – of course – sweatshirts. We at General Pants are mega-excited to have Russell Athletic on board, so we are offering tons of love to the brand that invented the sweatshirt and played its part in the visuals of generation-defining 90s hip-hop.