Umbro is celebrating its 100th anniversary with an archive exhibition at Ambika P3 – part of the University of Westminster in London’s Marylebone, from 12-28 April 2024.

The ‘UMBRO 100: Sportswear x Fashion Exhibition – Westminster Menswear Archive’ will explore 100 years of British sportswear and its influence on fashion, curated by Professor Andrew Groves and Dr Danielle Sprecher. It will be presented in five sections: Manchester, England, Tailored, Replica, and Diamond.

According to Westminster Menswear Archive, Umbro, which was founded in Manchester in 1914, has helped evolve sportswear from its functional, athletic, and sporting roots to become “the daily uniform for billions of people around the world”.

In the exhibition, Westminster Menswear Archive points to Umbro’s collaboration with Paul Smith in 2002 as the start of the now ubiquitous trend for sportswear companies collaborating with fashion brands and designers.

Since then, Umbro has partnered with over 60 renowned designers and brands including Christopher Raeburn, Nigel Cabourn, Kim Jones, Off-White, Peter Saville, Supreme, Patta, Palace, Rowing Blazers and Vetements, and the exhibition includes plenty of examples of such collaborations.

There will also be archive football shirts from Manchester United, Manchester City, Ajax, England and Scotland, as well as sportswear from 1936 to the present day, including items created for athletics, boxing, hockey and basketball.

There will even be a section dedicated to Aitor Throup’s highly influential Archive Research Project from 2011, which focused on England’s football kit and tracksuit – taking design cues from the past (including the 1966 Alf Ramsey tracksuit jacket) and reinterpreting them for a modern audience.

Anthony Little, Global Managing Director of Umbro. said: “We are thrilled that Westminster Menswear Archive has placed its exhibition spotlight on Umbro in the brand’s centenary year.

“It’s the perfect way to chronicle the brand’s design achievements whilst underlining the pivotal part Umbro has played in bringing sportswear into the global fashion trend narrative.”

Co-Curator of the exhibition, Professor Andrew Groves, added: “Though collaborations between sportswear companies and fashion designers are now commonplace, Umbro was at the forefront of this, with its collaboration with Paul Smith in 2002.

“While other sportswear companies had previously produced footwear for designers, the Paul Smith collaboration was the first to result in a full collection between a designer and a sportswear company being produced. As such it is a landmark moment and led to later collaborations with some of the world’s most important fashion brands, including Off-White, Vetements, and Supreme.”

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