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Champion is one of the many brands seeing a revival these days, thanks to Vetements making it fashion and Urban Outfitters hitting on the nostalgia notes. But to me, Champion’s always going to be a Dad Brand thanks to that one gray sweatshirt that my mom added to my dad’s wardrobe probably in the early ’90s, and that I added to my wardrobe on Christmas Eve Eve in 2010.
I remember the date because Christmas Eve Eve (that’s December 23rd) is the day my family drives from New York to New Hampshire to spend the holidays with my mom’s family every year. And I acquired it in the way that most personal items from your loved ones are acquired: I stole it. My dad runs hot and removed it at a stoplight about four minutes into the trip, tossing it next to me in the backseat; I run cold and put it on. And that was it. It was mine.
It’s lost some of its best qualities over the past six and a half years. For starters, it doesn’t smell like him anymore, and the combination of detergent and the shitty washing machines of the New York City buildings I’ve rented in has made it a bit stiff. But that doesn’t change its origin, and it doesn’t change the person I’ll always associate Champion with.
So this Father’s Day, get your dad a Champion sweatshirt (a classic one, of course, in the best color ever), and then set a reminder in your phone for 10 years from now to take it back from him. If he’s anything like my dad, he might not even know that it’s gone — or how much it means to you.