Meet the Brand That Invented the Sweatshirt: Russell Athletic

russell athletic basic collection blue tshirt grey shorts
PHOTO CREDIT: Russell Athletic

Heritage sportswear brands don’t come much bigger than Russell Athletic. Its name might not conjure up a myriad of thoughts to you, but the brand is behind copious team’s uniforms and athletic apparel across the States, and is even heralded as the name behind the invention of the sweatshirt. We predict big things in store for Russell Athletic this side of the pond, and we’re proud to introduce the latest collection from the brand. Check it out.

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It goes without saying that today’s sportswear is ubiquitous in all forms of fashion, from the high end to the high street. Both the catwalk and the pavement have crept into sportswear territory, with the almost synonymous ‘streetwear’ being the order of the day across the board. Sweatshirts and cracking quality basics with athletic tinges are unavoidable in the everyday wardrobe, and why would you want to avoid them?

Here at The Idle Man, we think that these subtleties which make up the bulk of the everyman’s wardrobe shouldn’t go without a bit of attention – that’s why we’ve got Russell Athletic on board. With a huge history creating sportswear pieces for athletic apparel and team uniforms, the brand sits up there with the likes of Champion and Kappa if you’re after proper sports pieces for that retro, streetwear look this season.

russell athletic navy sweatshirt mens
Boyd wearing the Russell Athletic sweatshirt in navy.


It might be the brand behind seemingly every team kit in the US, but where exactly did it all start for Russell Athletic? At the turn of the century, cotton was king down in Alabama (granted, this was problematic in more ways than one), but close second was football. We’re talking American football here, of course, not the proper sort… Sorry, we couldn’t resist. Benjamin Russell first started the manufacturing company as an entrepreneurial endeavour to support the livelihoods of the locals in his town.

With a tiny factory, 10 sewing machines and eight knitting machines, he began producing gear that the sports-loving town could really get behind. Providing kit for a whole host of sports, it was in 1926 that Russell’s son Benny came with the idea to replace the itchy, chafing wool uniforms worn at the time. Knowing the comfort and durability of cotton, Russell Athletic came up with an all-cotton practise football jersey, and so was the birth of the first sweatshirt. And where would we be without it today?

russell athletic green zip sweatshirt mens
A zip sweatshirt is a nice alternative to the standard jumper.


Essentially, a cracking range of basic sweats is what is going to set your wardrobe apart. Some brands might dip their toes in and out of the athletic look, toying with trend driven prints and loud fabrics, but Russell Athletic keeps it simple and timeless. It’s perfect for everyday wear, and we reckon its sweatshirts would look just as good with a pair of dark selvedge jeans as they would with joggers lounging about the house. Renowned for quality athletic apparel with technical features and benefits for optimum performance, you could even get away with wearing a Russell Athletic sweatshirt as a serious bit of gym kit. But why would you want to waste it in there, hey? Do yourself a favour and head to our website now to check out the collection, brand new to The Idle Man.


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Heritage sportswear brands don’t come much bigger than Russell Athletic. Its name might not conjure up a myriad of thoughts to you, but the...
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