With the FIFA World Cup just round the corner, we see one of those childhood brands come forward in a major way – Umbro. Which got us at Pocket-lint thinking – where are the rest of the playground classics?
Yes, Umbro was, and still is, a major football brand that never really broke out of the sport and into more mainstream fashion. Die-hard sporties will applaud this whilst eschewing the likes of adidas and Nike, who are as much sports wear as they are street wear. Of course, the mainstream sports wear companies had a presence in the playground, but that was shared with other makes; now if it ain’t Nike, it ain’t cool – or so it might seem.
Retro brands and fashions appear in a big way now, thanks to trend-setting bands and “celebrities”. It only takes a minute [girl] from Robbie Williams playing tennis in Green Flash shoes, to them appearing all over the place. Pocket-lint covered this some months back.
So what else is missing? Puma, again, were a dominant playground brand at my school, and now seem to be represented by the ubiquitous shoes gracing every dancefloor. Puma remain a major player in the global football scene.
One of the most interesting redirections of the 80s was Reebok, who seemed to falter, especially in the UK, but their strength in the US, especially in American Football has seen the brand grow into one of the largest players on the field. Rbk fashion is now also a big deal, and the fact we have a Reebok Stadium in the UK hints at their enormity.
Donnay was a playground brand, especially in tennis racquets and lining up against the likes of Head and Slazenger. Donnay seem to have become a little more than socks in Sports World. In fact, http://www.donnay.com takes you to the Sports World website.
Slazenger is another misnomer, although they are still producing all the things they used to – cricket bats and golf stuff especially. A quick browse to Slazenger.com (I won’t link it), takes you to Network Solutions page containing a number of links. I remember wearing a Slazenger jumper of an evening, and it seems I’d be hard pressed to find one today.
Other cricket classics have faired better. Gunn & Moore obviously couldn’t use the GM moniker because General Motors are living there, but http://www.gm-cricket.com/ is the place to be. We’ve even noticed an increase in youngsters wearing cricket jumpers out in the evening. Thanks Freddie, for that.
So what about Pony? They provided our school football kit – as well as West Ham’s. In the US, of course, Pony is massive, again heavily involved with the NFL. The brand survives, despite an almost complete disappearance from the UK high street, and resides at http://www.pony.com.
So what about British Knights? Yes, they were the definitive playground fashion of the 80s, backed by some of the greatest urban legends. They found fame in the US, and the http://www.british-knights.de site suggests the Germans are still feeling that vibe. If you head over to http://www.british-knights.co.uk you arrive at a Battlefield 2 clan site, presumably run by some kids who don’t know their named after a shoe, and bk.com is the burger chain. But can you buy the iconic shoes? If you find any, let us know.