A brief history of the varsity jacket

A brief history of the varsity jacket

Andrea Tuzio · 2 years ago · Style

It is undeniable that if there is a garment that carries with it the entire American sports imaginary – and not only – this is undoubtedly the letterman jacket.
Yes, because originally, what we know as a varsity jacket, the wool jacket with leather sleeves and pockets to match, also had a large letter on the chest, hence “letterman jacket”.

Lately, the popularity of the varsity jacket has come back to prominence thanks to operations such as that of NIGO and his HUMANE MADE brand, giving his closest friends a pink varsity jacket with white sleeves with the words “I Know Nigo” on the back and the name of the recipient embroidered on the chest.

Worn by the likes of Elvis Presley, James Dean and Michael Jackson, a symbol of many subcultures over time, today the varsity jacket is back to being a must in the streetwear world and we decided to tell its story.

The first time a letterman jersey was ever worn was by the Harvard University baseball team in 1865. That first distinctive garment and that marked the appearance to a certain group was definitely different from what we know today: it consisted of a very heavy wool sweater and legend has it that it was the players themselves who decided to embroider in the center of their uniforms, a large “H”, thus giving life to everything. 

In the beginning, the uniform had an enormous value and was very prestigious as well as elitist, in fact, it was given to all the members of the team but only the most deserving could keep it, the others – those who sat on the bench for example and played little – had to return it at the end of the season.

In 1891 they began to wear black jerseys off the field, always distinguished by a large “H” embroidered on the chest. This move led to the creation of “Letterman” pullovers and cardigans that had the basic idea of showing pride in belonging to that particular university, something that still happens at all school levels in the United States.

In the early 1900s, the football team of the same university also began to wear their uniforms distinguished by a large embroidered “H”. Here, too, there was a rule that those who did not play had to return their jerseys, while those who were on the field and playing for the good name of the university against historic rivals Yale and Princeton could keep them. 

From then on, a real “regulated customization” of uniforms and jerseys began: other embroideries were adopted to establish the player’s rank – such as a star on the chest to identify the captain – or the result of the matches.  

In 1930 what we know today as the varsity jacket was born.
Athletes were demanding heavier clothing to combat the cold and leather sleeves and buttons were added to the wool jersey, with the letter moving to one side and the letterman jacket became a status item within universities.
Not everyone could have the letter, you had to earn it through performance on the field. Once you got it you could sew it onto the jacket, it was very serious.

This custom had by then taken hold in all Ivy League universities – a group of the 8 most prestigious private universities in the United States (Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth College and Cornell) – in high schools and all other colleges in America. It was during this period that the term “varsity jacket” was born and became popular, and all athletes at the various schools (college or high school that they were) wore one. 

It was in the ’80s that the popularity of the varsity jacket exploded definitively thanks to the attention it aroused in the professional franchises of American sports. The suppliers who produced the merchandising began to make a satin version of the varsity jacket in such a way as to contain costs and expand the catchment area. The Los Angeles Raiders in football, the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics in basketball made their own versions of the varsity, achieving enormous success.

In this way, pop and mainstream culture became acquainted with the varsity jacket, and in 1983 the varsity jacket became a sought-after item: Michael Jackson wore a red and gold one with an “M” on the chest in the video for “Thriller”.

varsity jacket

Hip-hop artists such as Run-D.M.C. and N.W.A. often wore one, transforming it into one of the street items par excellence and making it independent from sports issues.

varsity jacket

The fashion and streetwear world that was emerging at the turn of the late ’80s and early ’90s did not miss the opportunity to “appropriate” that model of an extremely cool jacket.

varsity jacket

In 1987 Stüssy made varsity jackets using old production methods and traditional materials (wool and leather), the Homeboy Jacket and the 1989 One Love are just two examples of reinterpretations of an absolute icon that we are sure will never go out of fashion.

varsity jacket

Read also: The story of Willi Smith, the designer who invented streetwear

A brief history of the varsity jacket
Style
A brief history of the varsity jacket
A brief history of the varsity jacket
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Search for truth and fiction – interview with Enrico Costantini

Search for truth and fiction – interview with Enrico Costantini

Tommaso Berra · 3 days ago · Photography

We intercept Enrico Costantini in one of the few breaks between trips, when the photographer, a “nomad” as he calls himself, recharges his batteries before returning to observe the world from his point of view, which like photography is truth and fiction. Travel and photography for Enrico Costantini are tools through which we can be part of something that does not belong to us but that we can make our own for an instant.
Curious to understand how his relationship with the camera comes about and to discover some secrets with respect to his many travels over the years, Collater.al had a chat with Enrico.

How did you get into photography?
Actually it was accidental! I went to an art school in Venice and then continued my studies in Rome where I majored in interior design. I got into the world of fashion and then from there into photography. I bought my first SLR camera when I was 20 years old and started experimenting. I have always had a strong connection with the value of “memory,” and from there perhaps comes my collecting nature. Sometimes one takes photographs out of fear of forgetting or fear of being forgotten. Now I experience photography as a chance to tell without having to use too many words, sometimes through a photo one can steal a moment of someone else’s life and make it one’s own, leaving instead something of our own, of one’s own experience.

With your photographs you take us to faraway places like Socotra, Cuba, Oman, the Philippines and many others. What stories are you looking for? What stories do you want to tell?
Before embarking on a new journey, you never really know what’s coming. I like to reach remote and unspoiled destinations. Perhaps what I really go in search of is authenticity. Similarly, I love architecture and design, so any destination that includes at least one of these components becomes a source of stimulation and research for me.

It goes without saying that while traveling you have very different equipment at your disposal from what that a studio photographer has. What, in your opinion, is the equipment needed for this type of photography?
Personally, as a photographer, I use only natural light. I love natural light and capturing its many and varied nuances. Each moment is never similar to its previous one. That said, I usually travel rather lightly if you can call it that. However, I like to carry several cameras with me. I would say that in this case there is no real need but certainly do not underestimate to equip yourself with multiple batteries and sufficient memory, admittedly in certain travel conditions it helps a lot to save precious time.

Is there a shot you are particularly fond of? Tell us about it.
I don’t think there is one particular shot that I am fond of. Probably in general to all the
shots related to my first reportage trip to Asia. A trip that lasted 4 months from New Delhi to Hong Kong passing 7 states, over 10,000 km on the road. It was my first overseas trip, I was 23 years old, and it was my first real experience where I found myself reporting on the people the places the situations I encountered on my way. It gave me a lot. These are shots that although very simple and of not so good technical achievement, every time I see them again, they arouse something very deep in me.

Search for truth and fiction – interview with Enrico Costantini
Photography
Search for truth and fiction – interview with Enrico Costantini
Search for truth and fiction – interview with Enrico Costantini
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“The Beauty of Imperfection”-the shots of Alina Gross

“The Beauty of Imperfection”-the shots of Alina Gross

Tommaso Berra · 4 days ago · Photography

The female nude body in the photographic shots of Alina Gross becomes an element far from any erotic representation, or rather the language of photography facilitate the attempt to evoke the ambivalences of sexuality and gender.
The Ukrainian photographer and now based in Germany brings to mind erotic elements through the associations of natural shapes and elements, combining them to create an imperfect beauty, the “Beauty of Imperfection” that is also the title of her latest artbook as well as the project the artist has been pursuing for the past four years.
Alina Gross does not show a univocal beauty – and figure of women – to be told only through traditional canons of beauty, but expands the meaning of forms, thanks also to a pictorial rendering of bodies, aided by the use of color that often sprinkles the skin. The disturbing effect of viewing naked parts is not masked, Gross however invites the viewer to review the mental process of analyzing reality and its definition, which leads to breaking down dizzying barriers.

Alina Gross | Collater.al
Alina Gross | Collater.al
Alina Gross | Collater.al
Alina Gross | Collater.al
Alina Gross | Collater.al
Alina Gross | Collater.al
Alina Gross | Collater.al
Alina Gross | Collater.al
Alina Gross | Collater.al
Alina Gross | Collater.al
Alina Gross | Collater.al
Alina Gross | Collater.al
“The Beauty of Imperfection”-the shots of Alina Gross
Photography
“The Beauty of Imperfection”-the shots of Alina Gross
“The Beauty of Imperfection”-the shots of Alina Gross
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“Don’t Worry Darling” in 10 frames 

“Don’t Worry Darling” in 10 frames 

Giulia Guido · 7 days ago · Photography

Don’t Worry Darling is one of those cases where one watches the film more out of curiosity than healthy interest. The film, which arrived in theaters last Sept. 22 and was presented at the Venice Film Festival last Sept. 5, began to be talked about long before the trailer, teaser and first photos from the set. 

In fact, the controversies began right at the beginning of filming, when Olivia Wilde, who signs off as director, fired Shia LaBeouf, justifying this decision to the actor’s method of working, which according to Wilde did not fit her modus operandi.
Olivia Wilde’s problems also continued with the leading lady, Florence Pugh, with whom she seems to have had several tensions (never publicly confirmed).
Rounding out this complicated production phase came the director’s choice to replace LaBeouf with then-partner Harry Styles

Inevitably, all these events also took their toll on the promotion phase, which, however, shifted the focus from the actual film to pure gossip. 

A shame? Perhaps not. 

Alice and Jack Chambers are a happily married couple living in Victory, an experimental 1950s community where the men spend all day at work, while the women take care of the house, and then spend their free time with their neighbors. Something suddenly changes, however, and Alice begins to feel constrained in that life, with an increasing desire to discover what lies beyond the city limits. This is the plot, which in itself also hides something potentially interesting, unfortunately it is the development that is lacking. It’s like when teachers in school used to say “he has potential but he doesn’t apply himself.” 

Of all that Don’t Worry Darling puts on the table-which seems more like a need for redemption on Wilde’s part-something is saved and it is the reason why the film lets you watch it to the end: the aesthetics

In fact, the director used the work of Matthew Libatique, an American cinematographer and regular collaborator of Darren Aronofsky, to take care of the photography. In nearly three decades of work, Libatique has handled the cinematography for such films as Requiem for a Dream and The Black Swan, experience that led him to be prepared for the eerie reality brought to the big screen in Don’t Worry Darling. It is immediately noticeable how the warm light that illuminates the entire town becomes cold and gloomy when Alice is alone with herself, and becomes colder and colder as time passes. The use of light, then, goes hand in hand with the colors of the places: for example, the bathroom tiles are green, reminiscent of hospital uniforms. 

For this reason, it was particularly difficult to select only 10 frames from the film, which perhaps focused heavily on aesthetics and too little on content. 

“Don’t Worry Darling” in 10 frames 
Photography
“Don’t Worry Darling” in 10 frames 
“Don’t Worry Darling” in 10 frames 
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Salt pans as mosaics in Tom Hegen’s shots

Salt pans as mosaics in Tom Hegen’s shots

Tommaso Berra · 1 week ago · Photography

Beginning in 2018, German photographer Tom Hegen traveled between Australia, Senegal, France, and Spain, observing from above the landscape and morphology of these territories, particularly the salt marshes, fascinating places that appear like precious mosaics from the sky.
The geometries and network of paths makes these landscapes almost abstract when observed from above, and the painterly hues that push the colors toward yellow, blue and the typical pink look like palettes of some watercolorist with a delicate style.
The series of photographs tells a very peculiar element of the landscape, in which nature, in all its barrenness, manages to show energy and creativity, which Hegen succeeds in highlighting by giving us an unusual and unique point of view.

Tom Hegen | Collater.al
Tom Hegen | Collater.al
Tom Hegen | Collater.al
Tom Hegen | Collater.al
Tom Hegen | Collater.al
Tom Hegen | Collater.al
Salt pans as mosaics in Tom Hegen’s shots
Photography
Salt pans as mosaics in Tom Hegen’s shots
Salt pans as mosaics in Tom Hegen’s shots
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