|Product type||Sports equipment, clothing, footwear|
by Bernard Hart
|Markets||Boxing, mixed martial arts|
Lonsdale is a British sports equipment, textile and footwear brand focused on boxing and mixed martial arts established in London in 1960. Former boxer Bernard Hart started the brand as a boxing equipment company, but it eventually branched out into clothing as well. The company is named after Hugh Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale, who in 1891 set up the first organised boxing matches with gloves, following the deaths of three boxers in bare-knuckle fights. As of 2020[update] the Lonsdale brand is owned and operated by Sports Direct owner the Frasers Group (formerly "Sports Direct International").
Products commercialised by Lonsdale include gloves, shorts, headguards, shin guards, hand wraps, jockstraps, punching bags, sneakers and boxing boots. The clothing line is composed of t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, leggings, shorts, and underwear.
In 1959, former professional welterweight boxer Bernard Hart was granted permission to use the Lonsdale name by James Lowther, 7th Earl of Lonsdale. In 1960, business commenced for the brand at 21 Beak St., Soho, London.
Lonsdale became ingrained into 1960s popular fashion due to its location near Carnaby Street. Celebrities who publicly wore the brand included Paul McCartney, Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn and Tony Curtis. In 1979, mod revival icon Paul Weller visited the store and bought Lonsdale T-shirts to wear on a tour of Japan, which led to an increase in sales for the brand in both the UK and Asia.
In the 1990s, Lonsdale expanded to new markets in Europe, and by 1998, the brand had expanded to Australia. In 2002 it was acquired by Sports Direct.
During the 2005–06 English football season, Lonsdale was the kit provider for Blackburn Rovers Football Club. In 2006, Lonsdale stores opened in Singapore, Taiwan and other parts of Asia. As of 2007[update], a division of Lonsdale produces football kits for Brentford, Swindon Town and Millwall.
On 25 March 2010, Lonsdale celebrated the 50th anniversary of the brand by holding the Lonsdale Challenge at the Liberty Boxing Gym in Nottingham, England. The event featured Lonsdale-sponsored boxers Carl Froch, James DeGale and Tony Jeffries in various boxing-related challenges.
The following fighters have worn Lonsdale clothing during bouts:
In the early 2000s, the brand became popular among some European neo-Nazis, allegedly because a carefully placed outer jacket leaves only the letters NSDA showing; one letter short of NSDAP, the initials of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei—the Nazi Party. Wearing a brand with no Nazi links to express Nazi sympathies helped bypass strict laws concerning the public display of Nazi symbolism. In the Netherlands, Belgium, northern France, Spain and Germany, the term Lonsdale youth became widely used to describe teenagers with far right tendencies, and the brand was banned from certain schools in the Netherlands and Germany .
Lonsdale reacted to this trend by sponsoring anti-racist events and campaigns, and by refusing to deliver products to known neo-Nazi retailers. In 2003, the "Lonsdale Loves All Colours" campaign was launched, emphasising non-white fashion models, along with increased support for initiatives that combat racism.
- Lonsdale (clothing) on Sports Direct Int., retrieved 29 September 2020
- Bernard Hart – Boxer Box Rec. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
- History on Truestore
- Happy 50th Birthday Lonsdale URN. Retrieved 10 May 2010
- "BAMMA announced renewed partnership with Lonsdale". fullmount.co.uk. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2012.[permanent dead link]
- Asthana, Anushka (9 April 2005). "Neo-Nazi teenagers fight in British boxing's No 1 brand". The Times. London. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
- Cleaver, Hannah (22 February 2001). "German Nazis' dress code angers British firm". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
- Paterson, Tony (22 March 2006). "Lonsdale faces ban over 'neo-Nazi associations'". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 17 January 2008.
- "Thor Steinar and the Changing Look of the German Far Right". Der SpiegelPENE. 20 November 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
- "Branded youths". Daily News. 7 February 2005. Retrieved 5 January 2010.