Lonsdale Clothing sportswear is making a resurgence due to a continued interest in Euro-chic clothing. Lonsdale clothing sportswear is a casual, trendy boxing-inspired collection of clothes with a long history and a troubled past.
The Lonsdale name has been associated with boxing since the early 1900s. Around the turn of the century, the Earl of Lonsdale organized some of the first boxing matches fought with gloves. The Earl also sponsored an elaborate championship belt known as the Lonsdale belt. Champions were identified as Lonsdale champs when they wore the belt. This is still a boxing tradition today. The Earl went on to become the first president of the British Boxing Board of Control.
Many years later, a clothing company purchased the rights to the name Lonsdale and founded a company that sold boxing equipment and clothes. In the 1960s, the collection was popular with professional boxers such as Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson. Soon after, celebrities started mixing some of the Lonsdale items into their wardrobes. Later, Mike Tyson, Marvin Hagler and Evander Holyfield all wore Lonsdale clothing for competition and training.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the Lonsdale brand received some negative publicity when Nazi youth and racist groups in Germany and the Netherlands adopted the clothing line as their "uniform." These youth were known as Lonsdalers or Lonsdale-youth and their hateful behaviors caused several schools to ban the clothing. At least one major sports clothing distributor threatened to ban Lonsdale clothing from its catalog. The company countered this image by sponsoring peaceful events, launching anti-racism advertising campaigns and working hard to recapture their brand. However, the brand is still tarnished today and the company stopped selling its clothes altogether in Holland. Today, it is still controversial to wear Lonsdale clothing on the European continent.
The company has also suffered some financial controversy. In 2003, the Lonsdale brand was acquired by UK-based sports retailer Sports Direct International. This company also owns other popular niche brands such as Kangol, No Fear and Dunlop. CEO Mike Ashley took Sports Direct public and the earnings have suffered ever since. Ashley is an outspoken and sometimes outrageous public personality and his comments often upset investors.
Today the company sponsors British heavyweight Michael Sprott and English football club, The Blackburn Rovers. Sports Direct plans to broaden the distribution for Lonsdale and eventually expand into footwear.
Recently, there has been renewed interest in Lonsdale clothing sportswear. This is due to the fact that the clothing collection matches many of the popular trends seen on young male celebrities.
Lonsdale clothing is casual and unfussy. Most of the items are gray, black or white and made in cotton. A few items have the company logo splashed across the chest, but for the most part, the items are unadorned. Several of the shirts are striped black and gray.
When layering is a trendy look, Lonsdale clothing can be worn untucked and loose or the tees can be worn tight against the chest. The items look good with jeans and baggy pants. Lonsdale also makes tight fitting caps that can be worn over closely shaved heads or wild, unruly hair.
Lonsdale is harder to find than clothing from the more traditional boxing company, Everlast. This adds to its exclusivity and international cache. Lonsdale hoodies sell for approximately $50 and tees are approximately $35. These prices are competitive with Everlast.
Where to Buy Lonsdale Clothing Sportswear
Currently, Lonsdale clothing can be found for sale on the following sites:
Lonsdale clothing is also available in select boutiques including Lillywhites and Sports World in the UK, South Africa and Australia.