Three Burning Questions About The Sweatshirt

Where does the sweatshirt come from?

A mainstay of any modern wardrobe, the sweatshirt’s continuous popularity crosses all generations and social backgrounds.

To get to the origins of the sweatshirt, we’ll have to venture back to 1920s Alabama, when Benjamin Russell, an owner of a women’s and children’s underwear factory was presented with a problem by his son. Bennie Russell Jr, a football player with the University of Alabama, had grown frustrated with the highly uncomfortable wool jerseys sported by the players. These were itchy, and prone to shrinking after washing.

Benjamin set about developing a comfortable alternative, using women’s underwear material as football shirts. The sweatshirt’s popularity amongst the sporting fraternity was immediate. Adopted amongst football and baseball players across the country, the sweatshirt became synonymous with American sport and comfort. Incidentally, it picked up it’s not so glamorous sounding name from factory workers who commented on its apparent state post-game.

What is ‘Loopback’?

The term ‘Loopback’ is a literal description of the particular knit that features loops on the underside of the fabric and is the technical term given to the fabric commonly used for sweatshirts. The name comes from ‘Loopwheel’, the traditional knitting machine that was historically used to knit the fabric.

The traditional Loopwheel minimised the tension of the knit. Conversely, the face of our modern ‘Q40 Loopback’ is tightly knitted from two fine yarns, creating a fabric that is more resistant to pilling (getting bobbles) which creates a less stodgy feel than typical sweatshirt fabric.

Having the loops on the back of the fabric was originally designed to allow the sweatshirt to absorb sweat from your body and pass it into the garment to keep you cool. Our sweat top traps warm air to provide an insulating layer.

What is that triangle on the sweatshirt?

‘That triangle’ has been a subject of debate within the Sunspel offices. The ‘Triangle’ or ‘Dorito’ as it’s been affectionately named, is a design feature that has appeared on sweatshirts since their inception.

The technical name is the ‘V-Stitch’ or ‘V-Insert’, a piece of ribbed cotton jersey or elasticised material commonly found in waistbands. These were originally used as a means of collecting sweat around the chest and neckline after exercise.

Further to their practical uses, the V-Stitch was put in as a way of controlling the stretch of the neckline when pulling the garment on. Today, with improvements on design of the sweatshirts the triangle is more of a visual feature harking back to collegial sportswear.

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