Several options are available to help you master the lucrative team-apparel market.
By Cara Cherry
Fabric and color trends
Traditionally, teams were limited to using school colors. However, there is a definite trend toward using more diverse colors on uniforms (Figure 4). Female athletes, in particular, are demanding more unique designs and eye-popping colors. Decorating with heat-transfer vinyl is a great option because it comes in a wide range of colors, which makes it easy for dealers to create one-offs featuring bright neon colors or soft pastels as alternatives to traditional school colors.
“It’s no surprise that recreation leagues, high-school teams, and boosters are slowly moving away from traditional color choices, both in ink and the garment itself. Professional and collegiate sports have led the charge towards unconventional and loud color combinations in recent years,” says Leann Farmer, of Blue Cotton. “I was struck by how many times I saw a Seattle Seahawks jersey or Baylor jersey in my Twitter feed this year due to their eye-catching uniforms. The bold use of lime green for Seattle’s football jersey and Baylor’s blindingly bright florescent-yellow basketball uniform struck up a conversation in social media, for sure. People tend to love it, or hate it.”
Trends in uniforms and sportswear are driven by professional and college sports. High-school and other team markets experience a trickle-down effect.
“As one would expect, we’ve seen Blue Cotton customers follow in the elite athletes’ footsteps and begin purchasing brighter garments and ink colors. Softball, tennis, recreation basketball leagues, and even high school teams have chosen bright neon garments with a simple black ink, or a mixture of their traditional school colors and black ink,” Farmer says. “Luckily, jersey and garment manufacturers anticipated this trend and brought new, bright, and bold color options to the market for 2013. The trend for teams and leagues has been to retire 100% cotton apparel in favor of blends and performance gear, especially as more cost-effective options of wicking apparel have become available.”
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