It’s always a special moment when your first-born starts school isn’t it? And boy how the tears flowed as I looked at my little angel all grown up and then noticed that the label of her brand new school jumper had an unmistakably bold Russell Athletic logo on it.
Yes not only is my beautiful daughter about to embark on her one of life’s landmark events, she’s also doing it in one of her dad’s favourite ever American sporting labels. I felt the same when I went to see the Harlem Globetrotters earlier in the year and they were all decked out in RA and also when I went to SEEK in Berlin in January and Jacket Required in London last week. I see a Russell Athletic sweat and I go all misty eyes and can’t talk for a few minutes. It all harks back to around 1990 and an amazing little shop just off Market street in Manchester (opposite where Piccadilly records used to be, near all the drunk punks) that sold limited amounts of imported American sportswear which doubled up nicely as practical clubbing clobber. This shop was the only place I’d ever seen Russell Athletic sweatshirts, track pants and tees which were all a million times better (and thicker) than anything else around in the UK at the time. Oh and very, very, very few people were onto it back then which is always a bonus when you’re going out raving five nights a week. So yeah there’s a fair degree of sentimentality attached to the appeal RA still has for me these days but what I really love is that they’ve gone back to their roots with their Premium collection in that it looks and feels exactly like genuine sportswear from the twentieth century. Forget about getting on the heritage vibe, I want to feel exactly like I’m living the 1960s American dream and I’m about to win the Superbowl when I put on a sweat-shirt, well either that or that I’m off to see Sasha at Shelleys.