A mystery to some and an obsession for others, following trends in the fashion industry is a never ending task that is often more surprising than predictable, and one of our favourite out-of-nowhere trends is the retro sportswear revival movement. Led by heritage sportswear brands that had mostly fallen out of favour by the end of the twentieth century, this trend saw a huge resurgence in popularity for athleisure brands and their signature collections of retro men’s designs, with Ellesse among the most popular revivals.
In this post, we’re looking into Ellesse’s impressive history as one of the most influential sportswear manufacturers of the 80s and 90s, answering some of the most asked questions about their legacy and taking a closer look at some classic Ellesse menswear revivals that are as popular today as they ever were.
What does Ellesse mean?
Despite being an incredibly well known and widely respected brand, the origin of the name ‘Ellesse’ isn’t exactly common knowledge. Originally founded by Italian Leonardo Servadio, the Ellesse brand name simply comes from the phonetic pronunciation of its creator’s initials; L.S.
Is Ellesse a good brand?
All you need to do before deciding whether or not Ellesse is a good brand is take a look at their brand values and everything they’ve achieved in the last 40 years. Originally founded as a manufacturer of skiing sportswear, which successfully innovated ski wear by introducing both style and functionality to their collection, the Ellesse brand didn’t take long to expand into other sports, the next target being tennis.
Beyond their base goal of creating stylish, unique sportswear, Ellesse are also accredited with a pretty impressive legacy. Today, branded wear is an entirely common concept, with almost every sweatshirt, t-shirt and accessory sporting logo branding somewhere visible but in the 80s, this wasn’t a popular concept. Part of Ellesse’s impressive legacy lies in the popularisation of the branded logo, the classic half tennis ball and ski tips logo design being one of the first to be proudly displayed on the garments themselves.
How does Ellesse fit?
As their sporting history demands, Ellesse menswear prioritises comfort and freedom of movement to allow all of their popular styles to be perfect for both sports and lounging, the result of which is a breathable fit that isn’t too tight or too loose.
Why is Ellesse so popular?
While it’s undeniable that Ellesse spent the beginning of this century largely forgotten, it’s styles and history ignored in favour of larger sportswear brands that successfully monopolised the markets, their popularity today is more in line with their original successes in the 80s and 90s. There’s no definitive reason for their increasing popularity and the revival of their unique style, fashion is usually elusive in that way, but there is a correlation to be seen between the rise of 90s nostalgia and Ellesse’s return to the spotlight that could be used as an explanation.
Ellesse was able to capitalise on the increasing trend for retro athleisure on the back of this 90s nostalgia trip with their heritage collections which, after an exclusive collaboration with ASOS, which was further supported by high street stores such as Topshop and Urban Outfitters, managed to appeal to a new, younger group instead of their original older target audience. Now, Ellesse’s uniquely vintage style is iconic, their track jackets, polo neck shirts and retro accessories a major part of the still-rising revival movement.
If you still need any more reasons for why the Ellesse brand has featured so prominently in the revival of heritage sportswear brands, just take a look at some of their most popular styles below.
The Ellesse Hoodie
An essential item in the wardrobe of any fashion-forward man that loves casual styles and loungewear, men’s hoodies make up a large part of the retro sportswear revival movement. Comfortable, stylish and a trend that hasn’t faded and likely won’t anytime soon, the sporty hoodie is something Ellesse does incredibly well, with popular styles ranging everywhere from modern simplicity to 90s nostalgia.
Whether you prefer the classic track style or are more comfortable in the modern update graphic logo hoodie, there’s an Ellesse hoodie for you. Take the Ellesse Caproni Track Zip Hoodie in navy, for example which, with it’s bold, retro revival style, draws on 90s nostalgia and perfectly reimagines the designs of the brand’s history. Also featuring comfortable elasticated cuffs, a convenient zipper and the famous logo branding on the chest, this Ellesse track hoodie is perfect for those seeking a modern take on a retro style. For those men that want in on the athleisure trend but prefer a more subtle look, we recommend the Ellesse Toce Left Logo Hoodie. Classic, comfortable and featuring that all important Ellesse logo on the top left of the chest, this Ellesse grey hoodie is also available in similarly understated black and blue colourways, perfect for indulging in a subtly sporty look.
The Ellesse track jacket
An essential staple of the athleisure trend, men’s track jackets fell out of favour in the late 1990s and it’s safe to say they’ve been missed. Now a popular piece of menswear once again, and perfectly suited to layering, this retro revival gem is a firm vintage favourite.
When it comes to Ellesse track jackets, there are two main routes to go – 80s retro or full 90s nostalgia. If you’re looking for the first, our top choice is the boldly striped, red, black and white Ellesse Score Track Jacket. Super sporty, this men’s track jacket features the high elasticated collar and branded zip that the style is known for. For a look that is closer to the ‘leisure’ side of ‘athleisure’, the Ellesse Vischio Track Jacket is another increasingly popular choice. Available in a black colourway with gold embellishments on the chest logo, stripe detailing and a branded zip, this simple track jacket is perfect for achieving that casual sporty trend.
The Ellesse Polo Shirt
We couldn’t look at the Ellesse revival trend without paying homage to the iconic men’s white polo shirt. One of the first looks to really make their name, the Ellesse polo shirt was made famous in the worlds of fashion and sport in one single photograph – the moment Boris Becker, fully dressed in Ellesse sportswear, won the Wimbledon title on the 7th July 1985.
While the original white polo neck work by Becker in the Wimbledon final featured blue edging on the sleeves, the revival Ellesse look strives for a more modern, clean look. Available in both the classic white and black, the Ellesse Montura Polo Shirt is the ultimate in athleisure revival. Featuring short elasticated sleeves, a classic buttoned collar and embroidered brand logos on the chest, Ellesse have perfectly updated their original styles and given modern men the chance to indulge in some true 80s nostalgia.
Discover Ellesse menswear at Standout
At Standout, we have all the Ellesse revival essentials from the classic white polo shirt to the heritage track jacket, alongside contemporary accessories including backpacks and cross body bags, all of which feature the Ellesse logo.