Mitchell & Ness: What You Need to Know About the Company That Rules Branded Sports Apparel
| Matt G
When it comes to vintage and throwback sports apparel, Mitchell & Ness jerseys are considered by many to be among the gold standard, but if you’re only just dipping your toe into the world of sports apparel, you may not be familiar with the company whose history spans more than a century and partnerships with many of the most iconic names in sports.
- What Is Mitchell & Ness?
Mitchell & Ness are an American sports clothing company based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They’re best known for their quality throwback jerseys, which are jerseys bearing team or player names that are no longer active, such as Michael Jordan and Julius Erving, the subjects of their two most popular NBA jerseys.
Mitchell & Ness jerseys make it easier for sports fans to own sports apparel that is out of production or very hard to find. Whilst they’re best known for their NBA jerseys, and in particular for their Hardwood Classics line, they’ve gained significant popularity amongst fans of professional baseball, football, and even hockey.
- How Long Have They Been Around?
Mitchell & Ness was first founded as Mitchell & Ness Sporting Goods way back in 1904 by Frank P. Mitchell and Charles M Ness, themselves avid sportsmen. The company originally made hand-crafted tennis rackets and custom golf clubs, as Mitchell was a former tennis champion and Ness was a passionate golfer.
They eventually began manufacturing uniforms for local baseball and football teams, but it was in 1983 under the leadership of Peter Capolino that Mitchell & Ness first began manufacturing what soon became known as “throwback jerseys”. After a customer in their Philadelphia retail store asked Capolino to restore some vintage baseball gear, Capolino shifted Mitchell & Ness’s business model to crafting new sports gear that was identical to the uniforms players used to wear.
- What Merchandise Do They Make?
Initially, the two-person team of Capolino and his wife were just making baseball gear that was effectively a reproduction of the wool-flannel baseball uniforms Major League Baseball players wore before the advent of double-knit polyester, but they soon expanded their range.
Nowadays, whilst the company is still primarily known for its jerseys and tops, you can find the iconic Mitchell & Ness logo on a vast range of apparel, from jerseys and jackets, to hats, hoodies, shorts, sweat pants, and wool-felt historic pennants.
- Who Do They Make Merchandise For?
Mitchell & Ness have inked license agreements with Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), US-based Major League Soccer (MLS), and the Collegiate Licensing Company, which means you can find Mitchell & Ness apparel for every team from the Chicago Bulls, through to the San Antonio Spurs, Cincinnati Reds, and Los Angeles Kings.
- Why Are They So Respected?
Mitchell & Ness not only craft quality apparel that lasts, they put a tremendous amount of effort into ensuring every detail resembles the genuine article. When Mitchell & Ness first started reproducing classic baseball uniforms, they embarked on a long and arduous process of research, including digging up old news articles and visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame in New York, to ensure their reproduced uniforms were just like the real thing--a reputation that has never withered, much like their apparel.