Wimbledon greats wipe with towels from Welspun
The Wimbledon Championships in London are still the most famous of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments – they started in 1877 and next year will be the 125th Championships. They are a potent mix of tradition with progress – for example last year the new Centre Court retractable roof was initiated meaning no more “rain stopping play”.
The Wimbledon towel is one of the most iconic images of the Wimbledon Championships –there are so many wonderful photos of the players throwing their towels into the crowd in joy and also draped in their towel when things have gone badly. Welspun UK Ltd, formerly known as Christy, was acquired by the Welspun group in 2006.
Towels are produced under the Christy Brand under Licence to the AELTC. This year the towels have been made at Welpun's towel manufacturing facility at Vapi. Christy have been manufacturing the towels since 1988 and in 1998 the Christy name replaced the previous sponsor's name on the towel itself.
The AELTC look to sign Licences with only well known and internationally respected companies who mirror the traditional values of the Championships. Unlike other Grand Slams there are only a limited amount of Sponsors and Licensees whose names appear on Court – Rolex, Slazenger, IBM, Robinsons and Christy. This further enhances the importance of the towel, which never seems as prominent at the other Grand slam events against a background of a multitude of advertising boards.
The towel's design changes every 3 years but the Men's towels are always in the iconic club colours of Dark green and Purple enhanced by Gold. The colours of the Ladies' towel change every year – this year they are Pink, Blue and Vanilla.
The Wimbledon Account Manager Kathryn Keogh regularly visits the factory at Vapi and works closely with the Production and QC departments to ensure that the towel meets the standards required. Kathryn Keogh says, “we have been very happy with the quality of the towels produced at Vapi. The key requirements are absorbency and consistency and fastness of colour and these standards have been achieved”.
Thousands of towels are sold during the Championships – in the 3 major shops as well as the various kiosks dotted around the grounds. There are also major sales online at www.winbledon.org. At the Championships in 2009 the towels were the biggest selling line in both volume and value.
The question everyone asks is “are they the same towels as used by the players?” – yes exactly the same the only difference is that the ones in the shops are put in duffel bags. Christy also supply towels to the changing rooms to be used by all the players – from the Number 1 seed down to all the Juniors plus all the Umpires and Ball boys and girls.
All the players love the towels – Djokovic claimed a couple of years ago that that was all his friends wanted him to get them and Laura Robson (the GB Junior Wimbledon Champion) mentioned in an interview in Vogue recently that all the girls talk about in the Changing Rooms are the towels.
Many towels go missing from the changing rooms each year despite strict security and rules about how many towels everyone can have – they really are the must have item.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India