A brief history of the Fred Perry Polo Shirt

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If you didn’t already know, we’re teaming up with Fred Perry for a striking ‘Kaleidoscope’ collection, and with this in mind, we thought now would be a pretty apt time to shine a light on their most famous piece of apparel, the polo.

Fred Perry Polo Shirt

At some point or other, we’ve probably all had a Fred Perry Polo Shirt in our wardrobes. They’re a staple here in Britain, appearing on the backs of a whole host of sub-cultures ever since its introduction.

The story begins in 1952 when triple Wimbledon champ Fred Perry designed his first pique tennis shirt. With a focus on lightweight functionality, he wanted to produce something practical for tennis, but just as stylish to wear off the courts too.

So, from its humble sporting origins, the lines between on and off-court wear would continually blur in the ’60s, and the Fred Perry Polo Shirt became part of the British subcultural uniform. It was first adopted by the scores of mods and skins throughout the decade, thanks to it being casual enough for the day and smart enough to wear all night.

On to the ’70s and ’80s, and the prevalence of the Fred Perry Polo in Britains subcultures was still as dominant as ever. The decades were renowned for the football ‘casual’ movement and defined by the fashions that came with it. One group of casuals from Manchester – dubbed the ‘Perry Boys’ – coined their name from, as you might have guessed, their affinity for Fred Perry clothing.

Fred Perry Polo Shirt

Punks, mods and skins – Fred Perry has always found itself involved within the music scene in one manner or another; throughout the late ’90s and ’00s, it transitioned into the era’s Britpop and dance music scenes, appearing on a myriad of different wearers.

From the terraces to the dancefloors, the shirt has always been instantly recognisable by one thing: its Laurel Wreath emblem. To this day, the symbol remains a signature of both individuality and belonging; from elite sportsmen to fringe subcultures the Fred Perry Polo looks to be the one thing that will never fade away.

Take a look at our full range of Fred Perry apparel and accessories here.

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