In this episode of ‘NFLGirlUK meets…’ (now The Cleats Off Podcast), I chat with Chris Milner. Chris is one half of the National Vintage League – a 90s-era sports store dealing in authentic jerseys and apparel from the NFL and NCAA.
National Vintage League was first launched by Hugh Coles in 2017. It’s incredible to see how it’s grown to where it is today. Chris shares:
- their journey so far
- where you can find vintage wear
- what their personal favourite vintage era is
- and what’s next for the store.
Chris Milner, is one half of the National Vintage League. He joined the business in 2018 after being introduced to its founder Hugh at an NFL UK Fan Meet Up organised by yours truly.
National Vintage League launched in 2017 and it all started with selling authentic vintage NFL jerseys online. The idea came about because, as a self-confessed NFL Jersey nerd he wanted to create an alternative to the other expensive options for buying jerseys as a UK fan. Interest grew quickly so Hugh needed to invest in some warehouse space to house the stock he was accumulating. Since launching in 2017, National Vintage League has grown to 25,000+ followers across their social media channels, and their online store receives thousands of hits per week.
The future of fashion
Aside from the witty banter on social media, and the general nicety of both Hugh and Chris (because truly, they are lovely guys who I always am so happy to see when out and about at events), the other fact that makes me love what they do is that they try to be as environmentally conscious as possible. They source 90% of their stock from inside the UK and use biodegradable packaging. Fast fashion is the 2nd most polluting industry in the world and National Vintage League try to slow down clothes ending up in landfill by repairing, cleaning, steaming and stitching up forgotten gems.
Earlier this year, the duo entered a Twitter battle with Carl Banks, former New York Giant and CEO of Starter. When asked about it, Hugh said: “The issue we had with Carl was that he refused to acknowledge that Starter could be more sustainable, we wanted Starter to take a stand against using virgin plastics but he refused”. You can see how it all went down on Twitter here.
Love received from NFL players
The hard work and effort that Hugh and Chris put in to National Vintage League doesn’t go unnoticed – they’ve regularly hooked up current NFL players with items from their store. “Our best relationship is with Efe Obada, who is a great friend of the store – we sorted him out with a London Monarchs jersey and a vintage Panthers Jacket (which apparently sent the Panthers locker room mad!) and he gave us a signed ball to giveaway. Jalen Mills of the Eagles has had an LSU leather jacket, 4-time Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo asked us to source him one of the Travis Scott Texas Longhorns Starter jacket (sorry Carl!), we got Jamie Gillan of the Browns a Scottish Claymores jersey and we can’t forget hooking up our boy Vernon Kay with a Bears Chalk Line bomber – and yes he WAS a player!”
Listen to the interview
To ensure our podcast is accessible to every listener, I have transcribed the podcast interview. It is important to me that no-one misses out, so if you are deaf or have a significant hearing loss, I hope you find this helpful.