Ever-growing and certainly accelerated by the absence of live sports, the esports category positions gamers as athletes and builds entire leagues around the various video games they play. From first-person, team strategy and shooter games to sport simulations, matches are televised, streamed on platforms like Twitch and YouTube and attended (when in-person attendance was permitted) by thousands. Unsurprisingly, there is a large industry of products and packages that cater to the esports. Champion (the beloved American athletic wear brand founded in 1919) has just released their Gamer Collection, which has been specifically designed for video game players.
Born from the brand’s first sweatshirt design patent since 1952—a garment that’s gone relatively unchanged with the exception of adding or subtracting a hood and kangaroo pocket—Champion’s newest super-soft fleece iteration features an expanded hood meant to cover headphones and narrow the wearer’s field of vision, encouraging concentration in competition. Plus, the top-loading, front-facing pocket comes lined with hand-warming micro-fleece.
“I’ve always loved hoodies, but this the first hoodie I’ve seen that was designed for gamers,” FaZe Clan Fortnite player Nate Hill says. “It’s unique in a lot of ways from the oversized hood that you can wear with a headset to the oversized pockets large enough to hold my controller.”
Champion’s newest sweatshirt also allows for customizability, ensuring each player’s apparel represents them, their team, and their mindset for the given match. Patches on the front and arms can be replaced with team insignias or player logos or removed altogether. “I’ve never had a customizable hoodie where you can take off and add different style patches for different looks,” Hill continues.
“Gaming is a unique lifestyle all to itself and Champion wants to celebrate the hobbies, interests and work of gamers. Through research and wear tests, the gamers and athletes emphasized that they wanted a blend of streetwear, comfort and functionality. They were looking for specific details that currently were not built into the sweats that they like to wear,” David Robertson, Champion’s Director of Global Brand Marketing, tells CH.
Brands like Herman Miller and K-Swiss have also catered new collections to the needs of professional video game players. Like the Embody Gaming Chair and the One-Tap sneakers, released by the aforementioned brands respectively, Champion’s new clothing was developed in partnership with athletes and Esports analysts and insiders: HyperX, Dignitas, VENN, PlayVS, the Esports Awards all participated in the design and production processes.
“Champion has begun engaging the gaming space for the past few years to learn about the consumer needs and to do their best to provide innovative solutions for them,” Robertson tells us. “As Champion is the ‘King of Sweatshirts,’ they decided to create the ultimate hoodie for gamers. Champion partnered with Esports athletes in high school, college amateur level and pro levels for feedback on the design. The emergence of Esports has brought forth a new social entity that is on the rise; one that is now being recognized globally. Champion wants to meet the needs of gamers with apparel that tells their story.”
Champion’s Gaming Collection features the Gamer Hoodie as a full-zip or pullover and two pairs of matching pants—in black or heather grey. All items are available to purchase at 9 AM EST on 26 August.
Images courtesy of Champion