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Nobody does merch quite like Wimbledon

Towels, hats and tote bags that become a status symbol

Nobody does merch quite like Wimbledon Towels, hats and tote bags that become a status symbol

Always one of the most ancient, elite, and aristocratic tournaments in the world, the Wimbledon Tournament seems to have crystallized over time. Only here, in fact, among events organized by champagne brands and exclusive boxes, you can meet a very high concentration of noble titles, duchesses, dukes, counts and countesses, heirs to the throne and ousted cousins, a cast worthy of The Crown which together with celebs of various titles try to bring to the stands an old elegance made of tailored suits in pastel colors for men and light midi dresses for women. If Wimbledon has been this for a long time, the audience and the direction of the tournament itself have led to a more democratic evolution, which corresponded also to an aesthetic transformation into a specific type of clothing, the one that Martin Parr has photographed for his latest book: the average tourist and the merch

Photographed a few days ago in the stands of Central Court, Pete Davidson, an American from Staten Island, actor, and comedian, a style that is anything but sophisticated (and British), has shown how far the merch of an event of this type can go, especially if combined with painted nails and necklaces of various sizes. In addition to the historic collection created together with Polo Ralph Lauren, the English tournament has also been offering a wide range of gadgets, souvenirs, and merch for some time, even in the physical store located in the structure of the event, certainly not a revolutionary operation, but which has had and continues to have great success among tennis fans and non. Between those who choose to take sides wearing a hat engraved with the initials RF and those who prefer one depicting a stylized bull, there is a transversal and varied audience that wants to communicate only one thing: the passion for tennis, even if you've never actually been to Wimbledon, there's why all this merch can be purchased online as well. 

The merch, therefore, becomes a very effective means of translating the history and values of the tournament, making them accessible and appealing to a wide audience. Starting from the colors chosen for the items, the purple, and green that traditionally represent the event, to the items themselves, the goal seems to be to give a Wimbledon experience also for the Sunday player, offering them garments that make them live the illusion of playing on the grass of the English town, cheered by thousands of people while hitting the final point. The merch thus becomes a symbol of belonging, a declaration of intent even for those who would like to enter that world, and are still a neophyte, a clear and unequivocal manifesto. 

But it's perhaps in the aesthetic component that the Wimbledon merch has its greatest strength. Starting from the towels, huge, in shades of green and purple, or in yellow and blue, as they are the same used by tennis players on the field, almost wanting to give the illusion of being able to throw it to the ball boy during the game after work with a colleague. The tote bag couldn't be missing, an essential accessory for any type of merch; the hats, casual, easy to match, even in the version with only the visor, designed for the field; and again the T-shirts in tech fabric, the straw hats, like those worn by many gentlemen guests of the event, the mugs, the brooches, as if it were a city, a world apart from which to bring back all kinds of memories. For the really hardcore fan there is also The Ultimate Wimbledon Fan Pack, as it's called on the website, consisting of caps, towels, water bottles, balls, tote bags, just missing a racket. 

The Wimbledon Tournament is a world apart, a universe made up of rigid rules and centuries-old traditions, in which, paradoxically, the merch is not proposed as a kitsch accessory, it's not made of items of dubious taste, worthy of being touristcore, but instead stands out thanks to the intrinsic elegance of the tournament, to that refinement that even a simple guy from Staten Island can long for.