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Logo of Champion

Championing Music and Its Global Influence

Let's take a trip across time, space, and music. First, we find ourselves in England—Knebworth, to be exact. It's 1986, and Queen, London's chart-topping super band of the last decade-plus, takes the stage to perform for upwards of 120,000 adoring acolytes. Leading the effort for the revered quartet, as always, is the inimitable Freddie Mercury in what would end up being his final performance with the group he helped bring global recognition. Dressed in a vibrant yellow, C-emblazoned tank top, the melodic maestro swings, jumps, and shimmies all about the venue—giving those in attendance everything he has left from start to finish. 


Fast forward a few years to the turn of the century, and we're in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. A 20-something-year-old Shawn Carter finds himself in the mix of the bustling neighborhood, teeming with native New Yorkers and lifelong community members going about their daily routines. Stepping out in a leather overcoat and a script Champion tee, the future Grammy-winning lyricist patrols Marcy Ave, taking in experiences that would later guide his hand as he puts pen to pad—crafting witty punchlines and playful double entendres. 

Finally, we head out to the West Coast, ending in sunny Santa Monica, California. The year is 1995, and TLC's titillating trio struts down the award show carpet, arm in arm, clad in syncopated fluorescent crop tops and matching sweatpants supplied by the heritage brand—a true taste of that beloved 90s aura. Positioning and posing, the R&B mavens woo everyone with the enchanting "same girls from the block" energy fans have come to expect of the group's celebrated members—oh, how we miss those times. 

Highsnobiety, Highsnobiety

Threading together these moments in music history is the identifiable "C" logo, synonymous with Champion’s storied legacy and influence. Throughout its century-long existence, the American-born sportswear brand has transcended beyond its athletic origins, playing an integral role in supporting some of music's most fabled figures at various junctures in their iconic careers. 

"The brand shared a connection with the community," David Payne, Champion's dedicated archivist, points out. "And a lot of these musicians trusted Champion for its quality; they wore it like a badge of honor." 

Highsnobiety, Highsnobiety

Heralded names such as Wu-Tang Clan, The Gorilla Biscuits, and Outkast leaned on Champion for its reliability and ubiquitous aesthetic, elevating the brand's status as a staple within various budding scenes and cult subgenres in the process. Allowing artists to express themselves naturally, the classic brand exists as one of the foundational pieces thriving upstarts have used to build out their visual language en route to becoming the industry legends we know and love today. 

Even in 2024, Champion continues to bolster booming movements in the wide world of music. Following collaborations with famed American acts like The Beastie Boys, Naughty By Nature, and J. Cole's Dreamville faction, the mark of the "C" is ready to head overseas. Touching down in Paris, Champion is teaming up with Highsnobiety for the multi-disciplinary Not In Paris event series over a busy Paris Fashion Week. Featuring a custom clothing collection exclusive to the French fashion festivities, this distinctive collab adds another colorful dimension to the historic tumult occurring across la ville de l'amour this summer.

For Champion, it's never been about hype or manufactured attention, though. Instead, through its dedication to sincere storytelling, the athleisure mainstay hopes to build organic connections through its collabs, attracting lifelong admirers rather than seasonal passersby. Seeking to inject this capsule with a similar shot of originality and effervescence, Champion tapped the Ivorian creative collective La Sunday to harness its Amapiano influence—highlighting the African Diaspora through dress and sound during fashion's seminal weeklong showcase. 

Highsnobiety, Highsnobiety

Over the last century, Africa's unabashed aura has steadily accumulated an audience that extends far beyond its continental borders. From up-tempo breakbeats and soulful rhythmic runs to melodious harmonies and unconventional tonalities, the sonic scenery of Africa is unique to its rich soil. In this way, "The Motherland's" musical melange works as a calling card for its distant descendants all around the world, providing them with a space to reconnect to their ancestral roots and share in the lively contemporary essence currently being cultivated. Marked by genres like Amapiano and Afrobeats along with international icons like Burna Boy, Tems, Asake, and many more, the unifying energy brewing in Africa for years has finally completed its global takeover—which is cause enough for celebration.

Connecting with the Abidjan-based party series to help guide the project, Champion x Highsnobiety x La Sunday's coveted Not In Paris collection utilizes specific elements and intentional motifs that represent the larger cultural conversation—the distinguishable green, red, and yellow color palette says it all. Including a run of T-shirts, shorts, and jerseys all encoded with gestures toward West Africa and its bubbling musical oasis, the bespoke capsule is an ode to the continent's unwavering nature—a virtue with which Champion profoundly resonates. 

As a canvas for aspiring and established movements, Champion is attentive to those who continuously rely on the brand as an aid in their journey. "One thing that Champion has done from the beginning is listen," Payne remarks. "Listen to the artist, the [creative], the musician to really understand their needs and how to support their mission." 

To consummate the encompassing collaboration, Champion, Highsnobiety, and La Sunday are uniting for a one-night affair in Paris. At La Caserne on June 21, during Fete de la Musique, the eclectic triad is set to host the grand finale event to Not In Paris in the heart of the city, culminating a week of multimedia madness. Soundtracked by La Sunday and friends, the universal soiree serves as a spirited summarization of Africa's undying essence and Champion's devotion to servicing those using their platform to create meaningful impact. 

And who would've thought the letter C could cause such a commotion?

On se voit là-bas.

  • Senior EditorCzar Van Gaal
  • Creative DirectorNikki Mirsaeid
  • Creative LeadBrandon Bostic
  • Art DirectorSara Park
  • PhotographyAxle Jozeph
  • StylistGuy Tahi Roland
  • Makeup ArtistAlexia Amzallag
  • HairstylistAurore Lebacle
  • Set Design Michal Zomer & Zuza Wodoracka
  • VP of ProductionKatie Karole
  • Account DirectorJohanna Gerhardt
  • Senior Account ManagerJasmine Hill
  • Photo AssistantsThomas Jardin & Enora Portier
  • Stylist AssistantsAlex Duval & Mathis Supplison
  • Hairstylist AssistantCeline Decruz
  • Set Design AssistantTiago Paes
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