ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA (June 22, 2022) — From world-famous photos from the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup to gyms worldwide, the sports bra has helped provide sports equity, health and quality of life for women and girls worldwide. In recognition of this invention and the contributions of women innovators, the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Museum, in partnership with the global lifestyle and athletic wear brand Champion®, announces a new exhibit, “Champions of Innovation.”
This exhibit, now available for viewing in the newly reopened NIHF Museum, celebrates groundbreaking women including NIHF inductees Lisa Lindahl, Hinda Miller and Polly Smith, inventors of the Jogbra® — the world’s first sports bra.
To tell the story of the sports bra, this exhibit highlights its inventors and features artifacts that show its evolution.
Among the garments featured is a prototype replica of the original Jogbra, which was constructed out of two jockstraps. The original Jogbra was developed in 1977, when Lindahl wanted to develop a more supportive bra for greater comfort while she ran. She then teamed up with Smith, who sewed the original prototype.
The sports bra was patented in 1979. Miller and Lindahl commercialized the invention as the Jogbra and co-founded their company, Jogbra Inc., which was later renamed JBI.
The Jogbra launched a multi-billion-dollar industry. Playtex Apparel bought JBI Inc. in 1990, and in 1991, Sara Lee — the owner of Champion Products Inc. — bought Playtex and formed the Champion Jogbra division.
A wall-sized timeline spanning the Champion brand’s history traces how the brand has continued to raise the bar in comfort, style and innovation.
Another key feature of the “Champions of Innovation” exhibit is a panel honoring women in diverse fields who have persevered by meeting challenges with integrity. These icons include Wilma Rudolph, the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at a single Olympics; Junko Tabei, the first woman to summit Mount Everest; and Sonia Sotomayor, the third woman and first Hispanic justice appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Additionally, the exhibit features an interactive “Create-a-Champion” experience, challenging everyone to be an innovator. Visitors are invited to swap out pieces of Champion fabric to make their own designs, pair them with a number of inspiring qualities and then share their creations on social media using #createachampion.
“Champion stands for inclusion in sports,” said Maria Teza, senior vice president of Champion North America. “We’re proud to partner with the National Inventors Hall of Fame to honor women in sports and from all walks of life who exemplify an entrepreneurial spirit, and the heart of a champion.”
“At the National Inventors Hall of Fame, we have the privilege of honoring the lives and accomplishments of some of the world’s greatest innovators,” said NIHF CEO Michael Oister. “As we highlight women trailblazers in the ‘Champions of Innovation’ exhibit, NIHF is proud to honor these extraordinary innovators who are inspiring tomorrow’s leaders.”
The National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum is located at the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Madison Building in Alexandria, Virginia. For more information visit invent.org/museum.