Who is Suzi Wong ?

Posted on May 6th, 2020.


We often get asked this question, who is Suzi Wong?

Suzi Wong, have been making custom boxing shorts for over 20 years.

Located in North West England the company was started by husband and wife John and Susan. Still working in the business along side their two daughters Melissa and Rebecca and their team of amazing skilled staff.

Suzi Wong is the name Johns Father gave to Susan when they first started dating and it stuck from there.

Whilst thinking of a name for the company, Suzi Wong seemed to fit, it was a name linked with China (many people believe boxing shorts are all made there) and it was catchy, it stuck with people.

Known world wide for custom boxing shorts made bespoke for fighters such as Dillian Whyte, Tyson Fury, Sunny Edwards, Zelfa Barrett, Liam Williams, Terri Harper, Sophie Alisch and many more, the brand has grown from humble beginnings.

From Humble Beginnings

Manufacturing is in the blood of the Suzi Wong family.

John worked as a designer for Ellgren a sportswear company and Susan sewing since leaving school at the age of 15 together they had helped run huge factories in the North West alongside Johns Mum Mary and Susan’s Mum Francis, making sportswear for the likes of Nike, Adidas, Puma and many more brands when manufacturing was at its peak in the UK.

They made everything from motocross trails pants, tops and jackets, to rugby shirts, football shirts and cricket whites.

The family home was always a hive of activity with athletes from all sports coming in and out from Martin Offiah one of the best Rugby League players ever and Eddy Lejeune the Belgium motocross trails champion.

Sponsored under the brand Ellgren, the company was a force in the sportswear industry, sponsoring Rugby League teams from Wigan to Leeds and having stands at all major Motocross Championships.

The Birth of British Made Fightwear Suzi Wong

Suzi Wong, was the brain child of John. Working for a sportswear company in Manchester called Streetwise Sports, the directors where sponsoring a boxer called Steve Foster Jnr. They had a brand name under Carlotti and wanted to display the logo on his boxing shorts.

John was managing marketing with football teams and athletes and was given the task of finding Steve some shorts to wear and getting the logo embroidered or printed on.

He headed off to the shops (this was the late 90’s and no real internet shopping) JJB, and all the usual sports shops where the first port of call. Nothing was suitable, just the standard black boxing short embossed with Everlast was on the shelves.

So he went to the family home in Bolton, Greater Manchester, and spoke to Suzi about the lack of product on the market. The both saw a space for something bespoke and after making bespoke playing kits for athletes and trials rider, they believed they could be onto something. They went to a fabric shop bought some satin, made a pattern and some samples, got Steves name embroidered on the waistband and the company logo Carlotti and as they say the rest is history.

During the start up of Suzi Wong the company had great support from the owners of Streetwise Sports, and they helped with some of the first orders, going onto sponsor the likes of Ricky Hatton, Michael Gomez, and Anthony Farnell and Carl Thompson.

With the likes of Ricky Hatton on the rise, Carl Thompson, Jamie Moore, Matthew Macklin, Michael Gomez, Amir Khan and many more fighters training in the Manchester area, everyone wanted to know where Steve got his shorts and Suzi Wong was born.

Photograph by Howard Barlow Melissa and her mum Susan at home in Bolton making custom made boxing shorts for Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton – Photographed for a feature in The Independent Newspaper

John continued to work for Streetwise Sports until it was sold to Sports Direct, he would work in the garage in the evening cutting orders and embroidering (they managed to save and buy one single head embroidery machine and a computer to run it). Francis, Susan’s mum bought her a new flat sewing machine (we still have this to the day stored safely away) and Suzi worked from home with the help of Melissa who was also studying Fashion at college at the time and learning from her Dad in the evenings.

The Growth of Suzi Wong

Suzi Wong continued to grow, Melissa went off to The University of the Arts in London to study Menswear at London College of Fashion and the family never expected her to return to the family business.

Now working from the garage and a little out house, John would cut and embroider and Susan would make the boxing shorts.

The client list grew, they began making boxing shorts for Title (now Lonsdale) in Sunderland, Pro-Am in Liverpool and Ireland and fighters all over the country.

Susan’s sister Christine came in a few days a week to help with sewing, until Maureen, the Scouse wonder joined the team full time.

Now making for the likes of Joe Calzaghe, Carl Froch, George Groves, James Degale, Frankie Gavin, Tony Bellew, Anthony Crolla, Derry Mathews, Billy Jnr Saunders, Tyson Fury and amateur fighters all over the country, Suzi Wong was starting to become a world recognised brand in the boxing industry for bespoke custom made boxing shorts.

A small website was set up by Melissa, just one page that displayed custom made boxing shorts and ring jackets the team had made and a contact number.

In those days the team could only accept cheques as payment and we used to get a small drawing and cheque in the post to bank.

We would walk down to our local post office daily with 2 or 3 parcels to post out.

These days where special, the beginning of British Made Boxing Shorts being seen world wide, in newspapers, publications and on major TV networks from BBC, ITV and Sky Sports.

Lancashire became our home

When Melissa left The University of the Arts, London College of Fashion, she went to work for Ministry of Defence, as part of Defence clothing development. A job she dreamed of, military clothing was and is still a massive inspiration to her. Based in Oxford, her parents were happy doing what they were doing from home.

The MOD position was moving to Bath and Melissa not that keen on leaving the South and working for her parents doing designs in the evening and sending them back via email, discussed and decided to move back up North and help run and develop Suzi Wong further.

They started looking at small units to move into, to separate family time from work and eventually found the perfect unit on the border of Lancashire, just 5 minutes from the family home.

This is still our home to date and we have been in our now 3 units (we expanded as the company grew and we got more machinery and staff) for nearly 10 years.

Moving into the first unit was a huge step, we had one full time member of staff outside family in Maureen and a family friend Gemma worked a few days a week on embroidery whilst finishing her University degree.

As a result of the bold move to the unit, Suzi Wong has grown into a global leader in the unique, bespoke manufacture of custom made boxing shorts and fightwear globally.

The Past and The Future

The team have been fortunate to work with some of the world’s greatest fighters to ever grace the ring, making ringwear for huge occasions from Carl Froch and George Groves, to Dillian Whyte and Anthony Joshua.

We have been featured in many publications, on BBC news, Granada Reports, Sky Sports, Soccer AM, Lad Bible, and Boxing News.

Featured in Vogue magazine when we made custom boxing shorts and a vest for Naomi Campbell and gowns for the Girls Aloud World Tour.

Our boxing shorts have featured in films and TV shows such as Creed, Creed 2, Coronation Street, Peaky Blinders and many more.

The team have met and worked with some incredible athletes, seeing fighters from being 10 years old fighting at their amateur boxing clubs, to winning medals at the Olympic Games and becoming world champions as professional fighters.

The team work within a sport like no other, and develop a special relationship with fighters. The ring wear is a sacred thing, it can be a warrior style uniform, gladiatorial entering the ring ready for battle. Many fighters have an idea or an inspiration they want to include in their fight kit and we make those visions and dreams come true. Nothing is beyond possibility at Suzi Wong.

From our past working with stars, we are onto the next generation including Chantelle Cameron, Terri Harper, Zelfa Barrett, Michael Conlan, Shakan Pitters, Sunny Edwards and many more who are destined to be world greats.

Fighters are clothed now in everything from our specially designed and technically developed Suzi Wong Boxing Socks to our LGND training kit.

From amateur to professional Suzi Wong have all the bespoke answers for you to really stand our from your opponents.

Suzi Wong Ethos

Suzi Wong has been built on family values, and these are held dear to this day. Suzi Wong still purchase 90% of our fabrics from Lloyd a great man who allowed my father a credit when we were first starting off because he believed in us.

Our machines serviced by Steve, who has been working in factories fiddling with machines, making all sorts of wonderful folders and contraptions we dream of since the Ellgren days.

We also still post via Royal Mail, because we believe our product needs delivering by the best service and Royal Mail is just that along with our international courier DHL. The only difference is now we have enough parcels to collect and don’t have to make the journey to the post office daily.

Now employing over 18 skilled staff members, from machinists, embroidery and print specialists, to garment cutters, website management, graphics designers, and an accounts team.

Suzi Wong is still 100% family run with John and Susan still working within the business, Melissa designing managing social media and website updates and Rebecca the eldest daughter who worked in professional cosmetics around the world account managing for leading brands such as Tom Ford, Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Cartier and many more, now managing all Suzi Wong accounts.

Most importantly we are still 100% British Made in our factory in Lancashire.

All our Suzi Wong boxing shorts, ring jackets and vests are made in Lancashire by our skilled team who become like family.

If you want to purchase a pair of Suzi Wong boxing shorts visit the website where you can personalise over 100 different styles of shorts, using Swarovski Crystals, embroidery, print and choosing your own colours, fabrics and styles. We have everything from mens boxing shorts, womens boxing shorts and kids boxing shorts.

Alternatively you can visit us in the our bespoke design studio, sit down with one of the designers, be fitted and measured for your ring wear and view our elaborate array of fabrics and trims. To do this you just need an appointment, please call or email us using the contact page.

Here is to another 25 years making boxing shorts, innovating, and skilling the next generation of designers, embroideries, sewers and printers.

Join the Suzi Wong Team

Suzi Wong are really proud to offer internships and work experience to anyone who has a creative flare. We are always looking for new talent.

If you have a talent that’s in design, sewing, graphic design, print, embroidery, social media or web management, we want to hear from you. Send your CV and a short description on yourself, interests, maybe some work you have done and the team will be sure to have a look and get back to you.

We are passionate about manufacturing and keeping the skills involved alive in Britain.

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