Legendary British tennis pro Fred Perry is largely known more for the iconic brand of classic court clothes that bear his name than for his on court exploits. The mists of time have to a degree obscured his notoriety as the last British man to win Wimbledon for 77 years until Andy Murray’s win there in 2013 broke the long standing curse. Perry’s prime tennis years were played in the amateur or pre-open era meaning he would have to start a clothing empire to begin to see any serious income.
The clothes that would become such perennial favourites of tennis players, British Mods, preppies, and style advocates worldwide had an unexpected genesis. Perry tweaked an idea for a wrist-worn anti sweating device devised by Tibby Wegner. This would become the first sweatband and the Fred Perry legend was born. A white cotton pique tennis polo shirt not unlike the very successful shirts by Rene Lacoste debuted at Wimbledon in 1952 and was a smash success. A very accomplished table tennis player before committing fully to lawn tennis at his father’s insistence, Perry would later introduce coloured versions of the tennis polo. The reason for this was that white shirts are not permitted in table tennis. It was this style of polo that was so embraced by British Mods. Picture Oasis and the Union Jack emblazoned on an Epiphone Sheraton guitar. Pure Britpop.
The current Fred Perry line features a staggering number of colour variations on the classic Polo shirt as well as Mod-inspired jumpers and parkas, bomber jackets and track wear. There are also timeless leather and canvas runners for the Fred Perry completist.