Sports Studio – Lettermen Jackets and the Camera

Hollywood and clothing, its something that most people don’t think about. But some of the most iconic characters in movies were made iconic by the very clothes they wore. Neo with his all black trench coat from the first Matrix movie. Tyler Durden with his bright red leather jacket in Fight Club. More recently Jackie Robinson from 42 decked out head to toe in his 40s era Dodgers uniform. What do all these memorable characters have in common, albeit their clothes looks great, moreover it helps emphasize who they are. Neo’s trench coat is long and sturdy, which provokes a sense of power and mystery. Tyler’s jacket looks like it’ll last him a lifetime, he even mentions it, likewise its rough and jaded just like him. Jackie’s uniform looks like something a pro athlete would wear, definitely not something you can buy in just any store, giving  Jackie the sense of being an elite Baseball player. Hollywood has always needed good clothing to shape the world of a movie, and they usually go for the best not the cheapest. In order to meet their demand for quality clothing some studios actually hired their own people that made, dyed, and even tailored the clothing. Major studios typically have their own wardrobe department with their own artisans who make clothing specifically for certain shoots.

Quite the opposite of today’s average American who look at whats the cheapest and what gives them the most purchasing power. In the early 20th century clothing was a blob of impartial-ness, there was no want or need of identification with its customers. As the 50s rolled around brands began to pop up which sought to identity themselves with Americans, usually by naming their clothing products the best. Finally the 70s came, and with it America was at the height of its manufacturing prowess. Every brand had good to great products that sold, it all boiled down to advertising and branding. There were many artisans that specialized in making tees, suits, shoes, jackets, jeans, etc. Today the artisan is all but gone, due to many brands outsourcing the manufacturing of their products overseas to third world countries. In more recent years this has created a demand for quality made products, by a newer generation of Americans who have become dissatisfied by readily available poorly constructed clothing. This is a prevailing truth in fashion.

In the world of streetwear the word sports is synonymous with a few select names. Hall of Fame Ltd, Undftd, New Era, Mitchell & Ness, and slowly but surely Ebbets Field Flannels has earned their own spot. Each of these brands boasts quality as their main goal. However its quite questionable. Both HOF and Undftd sell products that are heavily influenced by sports, but for what they charge for their clothing, the quality just isn’t there. As the materials they use are cheap and thin, and most of their clothing is made in China. Both New Era and Mitchell & Ness offer American made products, however New Era’s products have been declining in quality for sometime now, and most of their workforce has been outsourced. Whereas Mitchell & Ness offer quality American made products that often sell out quickly. Then theres Ebbets who have recently found notoriety, their products are consistently made in America with great quality materials. However they garner little attention from either the world of fashion or the streetwear community, but they continue unabated. Since streetwear and fashion both take cues from sports in the media such as movies, tv, the internet, etc. Why isn’t quality a priority and what are they missing?

Looking at commercials, movies, or tv everything looks so top notice. You may find yourself thinking I want that. But often times the actual product is nothing like what you see on screen or in magazines. If the companies themselves aren’t actually making them, then who actually makes this stuff? Two words: Sports Studio.

Don’t know them? Well you’re kinda not supposed to. This isn’t really uncommon. Many clothing brands today don’t actually make their own clothing. They usually draw up the blueprints, or designs, then go to a factory or possibly artisans and have them make the their clothing. Sports Studio makes sportswear products, or adds to them, in order to make them look better on video or photoshoots. They do this for big and smaller brands alike, chances are you’ve seen their work on tv or in magazines.

Sports Studio is a company, currently based in California. Founded in 2007 their main focus has been to provide Hollywood with quality sports costumes/clothing. Basically production companies or brands would contact them, and ask them to manufacture uniforms, letterman jackets, jerseys, hats, etc. Like back in the old days Sports Studio gets the materials, dyes them, cuts the fabrics, and sew them together. This is the artisan way to make products which employs using skilled people to make any single article of clothing, as they are able to pay more attention to detail and less mistakes are made. While the more general way is to employ an assembly line with unskilled workers, who more often than not unintentionally add minor blemishes or variations often overlooked by customers.  Through them many producers have rented sports apparel from Sports Studio or had custom made orders. Probably their greatest asset has been having a license to make products for  various Major League Sports. So chances are you have seen pro athletes wearing Sports Studio clothing.

However it doesn’t stop there. Sports Studio also does photo shoots and product placements for brands, such as Nike, Reebok, and Puma. Their greatest ambition has been to be a one stop shop for Hollywood, from providing them with costumes to doing castings for tv or commercial shoots. As well as having a casting network with more than 15,000 actors waiting to be called for a shoot. Something some people might say is unnecessary. But they’re legacy will probably speak for itself in the coming years. However if you’re wondering how a company so new could be so connected and organized you need to look closer at their origin.

Back in 2008, a year after their initial founding, Sports Studio purchased Sportsrobe. Predating Sports Studio, Sportsrobe was itself founded in 1972. Originally a retail store open to the public, they eventually made themselves available exclusively to Hollywood in the 80s. They worked on many iconic sports movies.  Some of the well known movies they made costumes for  were The Mighty Ducks, Space Jam, and Remember the Titans. They are the backbone which has helped to propel Sports Studio to great success in Hollywood. Another reason being that Sportsrobe kept many of the clothing that they made for Hollywood productions. Thus giving customers a wide varieties of costumes to rent. Renting out costumes has been a main advantage for Sports Studio, as making costumes might not be time flexible for certain shoots.

However there is another dimension to Sports Studio that the company themselves, have perhaps unintentionally  overlooked. How do they function as a brand, moreover what kind of brand are they? Like Golden Bear of San Francisco or Mitchell & Ness they specialize in making sportswear, even more specialized is how they also make reproductions of classic sports apparel like in 42, of course they also offer contemporary takes on classic sports apparel. However the fact that they employee artisans could probably classify them as an Artisan Sportswear manufacturer. 42 is a prime example of Sports Studio’s Artisans at their best. The clothing that was made for the movie was made with materials indicative of the Brooklyn Dodgers uniforms of the late 1940s. Close attention was paid to the stitching, color of the wool uniforms ( although this is true for every piece of garment they made for the film), oz of the various wools used, the undershirts, and even the belts! However the piece de resistance is the Brooklyn Dodgers on field fitted hat. The color of the cap was spot on, a green undervisor is present, a soft crown is utilized, it spots a leather sweatband, and of course theres the B logo.  The quality is definitely something that many companies, big or small, could never hope to  achieve in todays modern era of outsourcing and survivalist instincts. However for a more down to earth example Sports Studio made a varsity jacket for D’Jango Unchained. The jacket sported a black wool body with lambskin leather sleeves, a red chenille D’Jango is rendered on the front, and intricate embroidery that emphasizes the movies theme on the back. Overall a very wearable jacket for any person. In either case Sports Studio’s status as an Artisan clothier is obvious and should be accepted.

The colors and wool letters bring about a feeling of the great depression going on the downswing. Furthermore the way the letters are cut just feels very much like an early 20th century design.

Every detail counts.

Probably the most sought after hat. An incredible reproduction. There are seven other different samples out there. A felt “B” was used to make the hat look better for the camera.

The leather sweatband helps bring new life to the 1940s.

Note that a the backing of the crown is soft, also the brim has more stitching on it than modern fitted caps.

The red D’Jango chenille patches help make the varsity jacket pop.

The back helps to symbolize D’Jango’s freedom and rage.

Probably the most interesting fact is that Sports Studio, while are dedicated to catering to sports productions, welcomes clothing brands and businesses alike to meet their manufacturing needs. In this trending atmosphere of people seeking quality products, a company like Sports Studio is especially relevant. Theres always a brand thats trying to make a dope hat or bold jacket. It all boils down to what company can make it the way they want it to look.  Sports Studio may never collaborate with a luxury brand, but they could easily be welcomed into the world of streetwear. Likely by Raised by Wolves, Supreme, or Acapulco Gold. While they are widely unknown to the average person, their products are easily on par with Mitchell & Ness, Golden Bear, or Ebbets Field Flannels. So go look them up sometime.


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