February '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Give me an F! Give me an A! Give me an N! Go… (Image courtesy GSG) I f you need a testament to the loyalty of sports fans, just take a look at the legions of grown men who spend hours on game day painting their bodies in designated colors and brave below-freezing temperatures, shirtless. True fans are diehard in their support of a team. Add a genealogical trait and you have a pure, unadulterated fanatic. Enter the importance of fan wear—apparel and accessories that show the support of a local player or team. Mark Schward, Stahls' ID, provides an example of the market's makeup, stating that it caters to the fans as well as athletes' relatives, close friends, and proud members of the community who want to establish a link to a team or player. This wide array of potential customers offers nearly limitless opportunities to decorators. "It is a huge market, far exceeding uniform sales for the team," confirms Sue Wilcosky, Transfer Express. Because of the level of customization needed for this niche, it also allows local shops to have a leg-up on large web-based Fan Wear! companies. The anonymous, national may not be essential, athletic-influenced build-a-T sites lack the advantage of comstyles are popular choices for this crowd. munity knowledge. "You know when a This can include details such as athletic local high school is doing well and can stripes, yokes and panel inserts in team anticipate demand for decorated items," colors. The designs most popular for fan Schward states. This close proxwear also differs from one sport imity to the teams also opens to another, explains Schward. b y C a r ly up the field for on-demand cusFor instance, baseball junkies Hollmantomization for additional playfavor embroidered caps and cusLong ers, championship games and, tomized polos. Volleyball fans hopefully, new league titles. So come up lean toward basics in T-shirts and tanks, with a game plan for entering this unique primarily in fitted options for the femalemarket. Here, we'll help write the playdominated sport. Sources also tell us that book with insight from industry sources. one of the most popular items in fan wear, especially for football fanatics, is the replica-jersey. This can be in a traditional Styles from the stands performance fabric, or more modernly in Unlike apparel for athletes, it's not as ima jersey-style fashion T. portant for fan wear to perform or have If the replica-jersey isn't in your fan's price the same level of durability, says Schward, point or sporty style, T-shirts are always a which turns the focus to style and decorabest bet in this category. The basic allows tion. Jennifer Nixon, Holloway Sportswear, decorations to take-center stage while apsuggests a mix of performance and trendy pealing to the masses in the stands. Howstyles when pitching fan wear, as it allows ever, don't be afraid of bigger ticket items, the products to reach not only fans, but such as hoodies and jackets. Additionally, athletes/fans as well. So, while performance 2013 February Printwear PW_FEB13.indd 81 | 81 1/18/13 11:36 AM

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