Mister Freedom® “TRACKMASTER” Tracksuit, cotton fleece jersey, mfsc FW2021 “PODIUM” Collection. Made in Japan

 

 

 

 

 

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Mister Freedom® CONTENDER Attached-Hood zip-front Sweatshirt, 100% cotton yarn-dyed fleeced jersey, mfsc FW2021 “PODIUM” Collection. Made in Japan

Mister Freedom® CONTENDER FW2021 (with Campfire Audio In-Ear-Monitors)

Mister Freedom® CONTENDER FW2021 (with Campfire Audio ARA model In-Ear-Monitors)

Mister Freedom® CONTENDER Attached-Hood zip-front Sweatshirt, 100% cotton yarn-dyed fleeced jersey.
FW2021 mfsc PODIUM collection.
Made in Japan.

The Mister Freedom® CONTENDER blends three all-American old timers: the classic cotton fleeced practice jersey sweatshirt (born ~1920s, see our MEDALIST rendition), the hooded sweatshirt (born ~1930s, “hoodie” in 1990s parlance), and full zip-front sweatshirt (mid 1950s?).

A bit of Clouseau detective work now…
In a Spring & Summer 1928 Montgomery Ward catalog, silver grey crewneck sweatshirts in fleece-lined cotton sold for a whooping 96 cents, two-tone options for $1.28… no mention of hooded options. Same in the company’s Fall & Winter 1929-30 catalog.

In a Fall & Winter 1938-39 Lowe & Campbell Athletic Goods Co catalog, traditional “cotton training suits” (crewneck sweatshirts and sweatpants matching sets) were advertised, still no mention of a hooded option. In the “Sideline Coats” section however, a “Hooded Pull-Over Shirt in School Colors” appears. The “heavy woven wool” shirt boasted a “zipper hood and neck opening”, and a “snug fitting blouse band”. Those, ancestors of the modern “hoodie”, fetch a pretty penny in vintage clothing circles today. 

In a Fall & Winter 1939-40 SEARS, ROEBUCK & Co catalog, crewneck sweatshirts are well-advertised and get a full page spread (page 946, fact!) Interestingly, some 20 pages later, a tiny little insert amidst ice skates and ski gear timidly promotes a “New Hooded Sweatshirt” in “double-thick cotton sweatshirt cloth” with “attached hood”. This novelty shirt was only available in two-tone gun-metal grey and navy, and could be yours for $1.69. There it is, our CONTENDER’s great-grandfather!

By the 1950’s both crewneck and hooded sweatshirts had become a staple of athletic-wear. A 1956 catalog from “SOUTHERN Manufacturing Co, Alexander City, Alabama” mentions “single hoods” and “double hoods” in the “Men’s Sweatshirts  – Sweat Pants – Hoods” section, referring to the layers of fabric in the hood construction.

In 1963, a 21 year-old boxer by the name of Cassius Clay was training in the streets of London alongside heavy-weight fellow boxer Jimmy Ellis. In the publicity shots immortalized by Arthur Sidey, both boxer were wearing what looks like hooded sweatshirts. On closer inspection, if “The Champ” sported a commercially-produced hooded zip sweatshirt, Jimmy Ellis has a terry cloth towel over the head, tucked-in his crewneck sweatshirt in lieu of a hood. Common practice at the time.
Asked about why he had on heavy combat boots while running, the future Mohammed Ali explained that this helped him feel very light on the ring, with regular sport shoes on. One way to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee!

Fast-forward to a 1972 Fall & Winter SEARS catalog featuring some happy-looking fellas, in a different weight division , sporting the season’s finest in fierce and convincing athletic poses. The dude in the green get up kinda takes the cake, although none of the others are too far.
At that point, acrylic and polyester fibers had made their way into active wear (and fashion in general), making it quite impossible for consumers to even find any 100% cotton garments on the market. Cotton blends and synthetics had taken over. To this day, all-cotton athletic gear stays very uncommon.

For our CONTENDER, we opted for the early “attached hood” type pattern, as it was referred-to in the late 1930s – early 40s. “Attached” doesn’t mean detachable, but rather refers to the early days when hoods were merely mounted on crewneck sweatshirts, not part of the neck construction.
The hood was stitched to the body, right below the jersey rib neckband, a quick way to retro-fit a regular crewneck sweatshirt for the colder months. In later models of hooded sweatshirts (1940s onward), the hood would completely replace the rib neckband and be serged directly on the neck line, as on today’s common hoodies.

The Mister Freedom® CONTENDER old-school attached hood is lined with a contrasting heather grey cotton knit jersey, of average T-shirt weight.

Instead of the classic pull-over hooded sweatshirt pattern, we opted for a zip-front closure. Buttoned-front cardigans are quite common in 1930s-40s menswear, but full zip-front sweatshirts with rib knit neckbands seem to have entered American sportswear fashion in the mid 1950s (Pilgrim, Akom, etc…), only preceded by occasional home-made protos with DIY zipper jobs. Full zip-front sweatshirts with hoods appear to have been introduced later, sometime in the early 1960s, and grew in popularity in the 1970s-80s.

We worked on the design of the split muff pockets of our CONTENDER for some time, and settled on a curved shape with flat-lock stitch construction, elegantly blending-in the waistband.
Just like our MEDALIST crewneck sweatshirts and GYMSTAR sweatpants, all the rib knit parts of the CONTENDER are made from a fancy 1950s-style all-cotton 1×5 needle-out ribbing, color-matching the blue/grey contrast fleece hood and pockets.

The body of the CONTENDER is cut from a yarn-dyed heather grey all-cotton 12 Oz. tubular fleeced jersey knit, and the sturdy construction guaranteed by old-school four-needle flat lock stitching.

The MF® CONTENDER Attached-Hood Zip-Front Sweatshirt, in all-cotton two-tone tubular fleeced jersey, is designed by Mister Freedom® in California, USA, and produced in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.

SPECS:
FABRIC:
Body: Heavy weight 12 Oz. 100% cotton tubular fleeced jersey knit, yarn-dyed Heather Grey, soft brushed pile back for warmth and absorbency. Milled in Japan.
Hood shell/muff pockets: Contrasting blue/grey 100% cotton fleeced jersey knit.
Hood lining: 100% cotton heather grey knit jersey.

DETAILS:
* An original mfsc pattern inspired by vintage 1940s-50s classic American crewneck & hooded sweatshirts and period athletic wear.
* Tubular body (no side seams).
* 1930s fashion “attached hood” pattern, draw string cinch.
* Full-zip front opening, with 1950s-style “Universal” cotton-tape metal zipper.
* “Drop shoulder” pattern.
* Fancy all-cotton 1×5 needle-out ribbing waistband, cuffs, and neckband.
* Original curved split muff pocket design.
* Vintage-style extra-long waistband and cuffs.
* Four-needle flat lock stitching construction.
* Original mfsc “PODIUM” rayon woven label.
* Made in Japan

SIZING/FIT:
The MF® CONTENDER Attached-Hood Zip-Front Sweatshirt comes raw (un-rinsed) and we recommend this protocol before wearing, so that the garment shrinks to tagged size:
* Full machine wash, fully un-zipped, cold water, delicate cycle, no detergent necessary.
* Use a tumble dryer on low heat until fully-dry.

Depending on your own personal style, preference of silhouette, body type, and whether you’re going old-school vintage or contemporary streetwear, the size that will work for you is subjective.

I opted for a size SMALL in the CONTENDER, for a shorter “period” look, matching one’s natural waist rather than covering the back pockets of jeans. Just a personal preference for the vintage vibe. I am 5’7 / 145 lbs.

CARE:
Low maintenance garment. Launder when needed, always fully un-zipped.
Machine wash, normal cycle, cold water, mild eco-friendly detergent. Tumble dry or lay flat to dry on clean towel.

Do not include fragile garments in the same wash/dry load, as the metal zipper pull and teeth may snag delicate knit fabrics.

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®
©2021

 

 

 

 

Mister Freedom® GYMSTAR Sweatpants, all-cotton yarn-dyed fleeced jersey, mfsc FW2021 “PODIUM” Collection. Made in Japan

MF® GYMSTAR, official equipment of the French Can-Can Sport Federation.

 

 

Mister Freedom® GYMSTAR and Campfire Audio® ARA in-ear-monitors (IEM).

Mister Freedom® GYMSTAR Sweatpants, all-cotton yarn-dyed fleeced jersey.
FW2021 mfsc PODIUM collection.
Made in Japan.

The Mister Freedom® GYMSTAR Sweatpants are inspired by a pair of 1991 US Army-issued PFU (Physical Fitness Uniform) sweatpants, with a design origin in 1951 courtesy of the mighty Champion®.

As an improvement over bygone “Utes & Boots” PT outfits (un-bloused utility trousers, regulation undershirt and combat boots), by October 1991, all US Army active duty soldiers were required to own a regulation set of PFU grey T-shirt/trunks/sweatshirt/sweatpants.

Recruiter Journal, Volume 43, 1990.

Issued to new recruits in basic training or as a mandatory purchase via PX for active duty personnel, heather grey was the latest makeover of US Army physical training gear. The 1990s PFU ensemble underwent several modifications until it started getting phased-out in 2014, officially ending in 2017, to be replaced by the IPFU (Improved Physical Fitness Uniform). Hard to keep-up with military “fashion” sometimes…
Most of us civvies, especially those haunting vintage clothing stores rather than malls, are familiar with the undershirt part of the 1990s PFU: the common silver heather grey T-shirt silkscreened in black ARMY lettering in front. The PFU sweat bottoms, although not uncommon in the used market, are somewhat scarce these days.
Two characteristic features are the reverse-weave leg construction, and the four-point star-shaped crotch rib gusset.
The PFU contract may have been scored by Champion® at the time (need conf on that), although the iconic brand had by then off-shored most production, contrary to US Department of Defense policy to favor domestic manufacturing since the 1941 Berry Amendment, an effort to promote made-in-USA as the provenance of choice for US military uniforms.

On a side note, the iconic Champion® brand, American maker of traditional athletic apparel and today both a sportswear and hip streetwear staple – the ultimate revival success story – was once a small privately-owned company founded in 1919 by the Feinbloom Brothers. Abraham and William Feinbloom were two American football fanatics from Rochester, NY, and had an educated opinion on how to better equip sport amateurs and pros. Both Champion® and competitor Russel Athletic® pioneered in the inception and introduction of the classic cotton sweatsuit (aka warm-up suit) in American athletics during the 1930s.

In 1938, Champion® devised a clever way of cutting circular jersey knit fleece in a cross-grain manner. This technique limited vertical shrinkage and guaranteed long-lasting fits of their products. The company managed to get a patent granted from the US Patent Office on their ‘Reverse Weave’ technology in 1952 for both sweatshirt and sweatpants.

Champion “Reverse-Weave” US Patent 2,613,360 filed in 1951, courtesy US Pattern Office.

Champion® has been engulfed since 1989 in the Sara Lee Corporation, a conglomerate specializing in frozen food, and apparently keen and skilled at diversifying!

For our Mister Freedom® GYMSTAR, we played around with an original 1991 US Army PFU sweatpants pattern and fit. We adopted the expansion “action gusset”, cross-grain wrap leg (displaying horizontal wales), elastic cinch bottoms and draw-string elastic waist, and tweaked it all to our liking. Our gusset is cut from the same fancy all-cotton 1×5 needle-out ribbing featured on our MEDALIST, and is ideal for French Can-Can training.
For practicality, we wanted pockets, so we drew-up an original simple pattern using flat lock stitch construction, and flanked the GYMSTAR with a smartphone-size side pocket and a rear patch pocket.

The fabric of our GYMSTAR is old-school sweatshirt material to keep it simple, and technically a single-knit fabric with a flat texture jersey on the face (outside) backed with French Terry reverse with loops mechanically shredded/brushed into a soft fleece pile (inside). More specifically, a yarn-dyed heather grey heavy weight 12 Oz. 100% cotton tubular fleeced jersey knit. Same fabric as our heather grey MEDALIST.

The MF® GYMSTAR Sweatpants, in all-cotton tubular fleeced jersey knit, is designed by Mister Freedom® in California, USA, and produced in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.

SPECS:
FABRIC:
Heavy weight 12 Oz. 100% cotton tubular fleeced jersey knit, yarn-dyed Heather Grey, soft brushed pile back for warmth and absorbency. Milled in Japan.
DETAILS:
* Inspired by vintage US Army PFU sweatpants and other vintage athletic garments.
* Cut from tubular knit fleeced jersey.
* Cross-grain wrap leg displaying horizontal jersey wales.
* Expanding “Action gusset” on inside leg seam/seat/crotch, with double layer of all-cotton 1×5 needle-out ribbing.
* Elastic cinch bottoms.
* Elastic waist with cotton draw-string cinch.
* Original construction patch pockets, one smartphone-size side pocket and one back pocket.
* Flat lock stitch construction.
* Four-needle flat lock stitching construction.
* Original mfsc “PODIUM” rayon woven label.
* Made in Japan

SIZING/FIT:
The MF® GYMSTAR Sweatpants come raw (un-rinsed) and we recommend this protocol before wearing, so that the garment shrinks to tagged size:
* Full machine wash, cold water, delicate cycle, no detergent necessary.
* Use a tumble dryer on low heat until fully-dry.

These are not Lulu Lemon leggings. The cut and length are quite generous, and the size that will work for you will depend on your desired silhouette and intended use. I opted for a size SMALL, with ample room to move around and an old-school fit. I am approx 5’7 /145 lbs.

CARE:
Low maintenance garment. Launder when needed.
Machine wash, normal cycle, cold water, mild eco-friendly detergent. Tumble dry on low heat.

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®
©2021

 

Mister Freedom® MEDALIST Crewneck Sweatshirt, all-cotton tubular fleeced jersey, mfsc FW2021 “PODIUM” Collection. Made in Japan

 

 

MF® Medalist red naturally sun-faded.

MF® Medalist UCLA blue naturally sun-faded.

 

MF® Medalist Olive Green naturally sun-faded.

 

Buncha winners.

Mister Freedom® MEDALIST Crew Sweatshirt, all-cotton tubular fleeced jersey
FW2021 mfsc PODIUM collection.
Made in Japan.

The Mister Freedom® MEDALIST is our take on the iconic American SWEATSHIRT (or “sweat shirt”, “sweat-shirt”, the top part of a “sweat suit” or “training suit”… just don’t call them “sweaters”). We’ve been working on this one for a while, as plenty of contemporary options already exist and we wanted to make sure that our version be classic yet special. 

First, if you get asked on Jeopardy and your friend Bob can’t get to the phone, sweatshirt material consists of a single knit fabric, with a flat texture jersey on the face (outside), and a French Terry reverse with loops mechanically shredded/brushed into a soft fleece pile (inside). It has been the fabric of choice for warm-up athletic gear for about a century.

Classic vintage sweatshirts (~ pre-1970s) are usually cut from tubular fleeced jersey, meaning the sock-like cylinder body has no side seams.

With roots in the 1920s, modern tubular fleece has been produced since the 1950s on elaborate single-jersey circular knitting machines, puzzling pieces of engineering resembling the 1969 Apollo LEM, and, I suppose, about as equally easy to operate and maintain.
Using this knitting technology, and due to the cylinder shape and fixed circumference of the finished material, several machines and tedious set-ups are required to produce different sizes of the same tubular sweatshirt fabric. Meaning, the body of a size Small tubular sweatshirt is knitted on a different machine than the Medium. This doesn’t help with cost of production, but vintage clothing purists will appreciate the seamless tube body.

To add to the challenge of milling this special fleece fabric, we also insisted that our waistband ribbing be tubular, without the joining side seam typical of modern fashion sweatshirts. We also were set on a special “5×1 needle-out” type of ribbing, a cool feature of certain rare and desirable vintage 1940s-50s specimen. With this tall order, we sent our friends at Toyo Enterprise on a double wild-goose chase, and, as always, they sourced-out not only the perfect tubular fleece, but managed to mill the special needle-out tubular ribbing.

For the design and construction of our MEDALIST, we wanted to stay away from anything contemporary. So we scrutinized and dissected several vintage specimen collected over the years, studied classic proportions and cuts, found inspiration in period silhouettes from old photos and athletic goods 1930s-1960s catalogs, tested prototypes with traditional stitching options… and basically came up with a very old-school looking winner, the MF® MEDALIST!

Pattern-wise, one of the key point for us was the “drop shoulder” look. Modern sweatshirts and even contemporary vintage replicas tend to prefer an updated non-slouching shoulder seam, for a “more tailored” look. The drop shoulder cut may be an acquired taste, like the leg twist on a pair of old Levi’s for instance, but we went for the “anti-fit” cut of authentic 1940s-50s vintage sweatshirts.

Regarding the double neck insert detail, scoring a “double V” sweatshirts in my 1990s rag-picking days always meant bingo! Double Vs were to vintage sweats what XXs were to vintage Levi’s, an extra $500+ at the flea market.
Initially intended as a stretch gusset on the neck band so that the pull-over warm-up shirt (made of wool in the early days) would fit over, say, a football helmet, the “V” was a good substitute to a ½ zipper. Our MEDALIST 40s-style double Vs are of the “functioning” type, as they actually are double-layer stretchy ribbing inserts, and not just the decorative V-shaped flat lock stitching typical of later productions of sweatshirts. Many “V”s on contemporary sweats are also purely decorative.

On that note, some of you may remember that, during a 2010 interview with Valet Magazine, yours truly asserted that the “V”s on sweatshirts were originally designed to, wait for it, sponge-up sweat. An opinion, as they say, is the perfect compromise between knowledge and ignorance.

Online Valet Magazine, April 2010, and 2017 Sponge Bob IG post.

Another feature of our MEDALIST is the underarm expansion gusset, a detail and intricate construction challenge lifted from a rare 1950s vintage sweat from our archives. Like the double Vs, these arms gussets are also double-layer inserts of needle-out rib.

Anyone familiar with vintage sweats knows of the common sleeves-are-too-short issue, the result of excessive shrinkage and improper shrink tests from the maker. McQueen was a specialist at quickly solving that problem, on and off screen, and is probably responsible for a few chopped-off vintage sweats out there!

SMcQ, 1963 (John Dominis, courtesy GETTY IMAGES)

This is one of the liberties we took with “authenticity”, as we carefully balanced the drop of the shoulder seam, calculated optimal sleeve length while considering the extra-long (foldable) ribbed cuffs, factored-in fabric shrinkage, adjusted sleeve width… to achieve a proper post-wash fit that will work for most.

As a touch of modern practicability, we mounted a back pocket to the MEDALIST rear panel, with an original flat-lock construction “sandwiched” in the waistband. This discreet storage will come handy when cycling, to carry a smart phone or small bidon without obstructing the front of the shirt. Just avoid using it for your phone or wallet while riding the metro in Paris…

We are introducing the MEDALIST in six original yet classic color options. The heather grey is yarn-dyed, a much darker shade than the traditional “silver” heather grey of Champion® sweats, a fleece color characteristic of some older athletic collectibles. The Arctic White model features contrasting oatmeal heather grey ribbing trims, for an attractive subtle two-tone effect.
The Scarlet Red, “UCLA” Blue, Gold Yellow and “Nam” Olive Green MEDALISTS will fade over time with normal wash/wear routine and sun exposure, just like your favorite butter-soft sun-bleached vintage sweatshirt. For reference, we included some naturally-faded prototypes in the photos above.

Pair it with blue jeans, khaki chinos, piques… for the gym, the beach or to lounge around at home, our MEDALIST is versatile, comfortable, functional, ethically-produced… and just ridiculously good looking!

The MF® MEDALIST Crewneck Sweatshirt, in all-cotton tubular fleeced jersey, is designed by Mister Freedom® in California, USA, and produced in Japan in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co.

SPECS:
FABRIC:
Heavy weight 12 Oz. 100% cotton tubular fleeced jersey knit, soft brushed pile back for warmth and absorbency. Milled in Japan.
Color options:
a) Yarn-dyed Heather Grey.
b) Arctic White with contrast oatmeal needle-out ribbing.
c) UCLA Blue.
d) Scarlet Red.
e) Gold Yellow.
f) “Nam” Olive Green.

DETAILS:
* An original mfsc pattern inspired by vintage 1940s-50s classic American sweatshirts and period athletic wear.
* Tubular body (no side seams).
* “Drop shoulder” pattern.
* Fancy all-cotton 1×5 needle-out ribbing waistband, cuffs, neckband and gussets.
* Double “V” neck inserts, dual layers of stretchy ribbed knit.
* Vintage-style extra-long waistband and cuffs.
* Underarm expansion gussets.
* Rear panel smartphone or bidon pocket.
* Four-needle flat lock stitching construction.
* Original mfsc “PODIUM” rayon woven label.
* Made in Japan

SIZING/FIT:
The MF® MEDALIST Sweatshirt comes pre-rinsed (i.e. pre-shrunk), and is ready-to-wear. No need for any initial soaking process.
All different color options fit the same.
Depending on your own personal style, preference of silhouette, body type, and whether you’re going old-school vintage or contemporary streetwear, the size that will work for you is subjective.

I opted for a size SMALL in all color options, for a shorter “period” look, matching one’s natural waist rather than covering the back pockets of jeans. Just a personal preference for the vintage vibe. I am 5’7 / 145 lbs.

CARE:
Low maintenance garment. Launder when needed.
Machine wash, normal cycle, cold water, mild eco-friendly detergent. Tumble dry or lay flat to dry on clean towel.

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®
©2021