September '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 47 of 88

2 0 1 7 S E P T E M B E R P R I N T W E A R || 41 2 0 1 7 S E P T E M B E R P R I N T W E A R || 41 University this summer and that entire community lives, eats, and breathes not only Aggie athletics but the school in gen- eral. For the most part, every day in Col- lege Station is a sea of maroon—game day or not." This exposure of spirit wear brings the community together and supports a sense of comradery, win or lose. Plus, it let's outsiders know where your al- legiance lies. THE ACTIVE ROSTER So, with 200 million customers cheering this niche on, what items are the gold medal finalists in this season's spirit wear offerings? No matter the style, Brigham says that the softer the shirt the better it is. The football jersey T with striped sleeves has been a hot summer item that will continue to see attention into the fall season, he adds. According to Lee, long-sleeve dry- fit shirts are always a popular prod- uct, along with moisture-wicking polos. In addition to those favorites, a unique style that has garnered a lot of attention are longer length hooded tunics and oversized shirts for women. These longer and looser styles provide a conservative cover- up for consumers who wear leg- gings, states Lee. Spivey agrees, not- ing that as the active lifestyle trend continues, leggings and joggers are now everyday styles. Which is con- venient for decorators, as pants are great, large canvases for decorations running the length of a leg. Regardless of the trends that may come and go in silhouette and features, there are a few tried-and-true items that dominate the field. "I can't see a time where the raglan dis- appears from the spirit wear market," Lee forecasts. "The decorating space on the gar- ment, along with the simple color-blocking sleeves, provides a great looking, high de- mand item." Typically associated with base- ball, this staple has crossed over well with all sorts of teams and clubs. Music programs can achieve a rock band look, drama kids can put their best face forward, and science programs can geek out over clever quotes and sacred inside jokes. The decoration possibilities are endless, and the style is ar- guably one that looks good on any wearer. The crewneck fleece is viewed by Mox- ley as the other quintessential spirit wear garment that will be kept by the true fan over many years. Like the raglan, he says the crewneck can be easily decorated using every single method available and will never go out of style. "It looks great with jeans or basketball shorts and can be worn indoors and out. The staple can be seen in alumni photos from generations ago, and it will be worn for generations to come. This is the one style you will find for sale at every spirit wear store and event." Similarly, it's no sur- prise that zip-up fleece hoodies are another all-star offering. Moxley adds that beyond style, color and size options are important consid- erations for this market, as variety allows customers to match almost every school's color combination and outfit fans both small and large. EXTRA (W)INNINGS A few key design elements help to keep today's spirit wear pieces competing at the top of their game. One such important feature is color stamina, as matching a team's color is almost as important as maintaining it. For example, if your school's known throughout the division as one who wears Dodger blue, but your favorite team apparel is more akin to a rival's Carolina blue due to being well-loved and often washed, you can be booed right out of, well, Dodge. In response to these trade (traitor!) rumors, ex- pect spirit gear that quashes fading colors to be a big hit in this market. Check into a manufacturer's dyeing methods as this will have an impact on a color's lifespan. For instance, rather than dyeing yarn or fabric in a solution of water and dye chemicals, with the spin-dye method, pig- ment is melted and mixed with clear poly- ester solution prior to spinning/extruding it into yarn, explains Moxley. "If you cut a standard poly yarn, you'll see a white core surrounded by color, as the dye sits on the continued on page 79 Beyond style, color and size options are important consider- ations for this market. (Image courtesy Boxercraft) SPIRIT WEAR

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