An obscure piece of news from within Japan’s fashion industry hit the country’s business headlines last week—one with a motor racing angle: Renown filed for bankruptcy.
The 118-year-old brand became the first major company to file for bankruptcy protection in Japan since 2019, citing a rapid decline in sales as a result of the coronavirus.
You probably know the name from one of racing’s most iconic liveries. The Renown-sponsored factory entries from Mazda made an immeasurable impact at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
“The Renown livery became iconic over the years as much for its vibrant distinctive hues as for the success of the cars at Le Mans,” noted livery designer Andy Blackmore told Road & Track. “The orange and green along with the abstract stitching helped to convey the company was in textiles. It always reminded me of a sweater. The orange was also a great hue to stand out on the tree-lined course at La Sarthe.
Although the Renown livery underwent a few variations on the different prototype models it dressed, 1991’s 2.6-liter four-rotor Mazda 787B stands above the rest as one of the sport’s most popular designs. Thanks in part to the Le Mans victory in 1991, Renown experienced a surge in sales and recognition after the historic result at the great 24-hour endurance race.
The popularity of the 787B’s livery also led the company down a protective path with the design as it aggressively pursued copycats with cease-and-desist orders. In what became a decades-long association with Mazda’s racing endeavors across the globe, use of the Renown livery was done through special licensing by the brand, and resulted in modern cars, including Mazda’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship prototype, sporting the iconic colors a few years ago in a one-off tribute.
“Over time it became more of a Mazda livery than Renown, with the Japanese company approving its use on various IMSA chassis and MX-5 Cup cars,” Blackmore added.
Depending on where Renown finds itself in bankruptcy protection, purchasing the rights to the Le Mans livery could be of interest for an enterprising fan or business.
Source: Read Full Article