This article examines the variables associated with decorating activewear and apparel.
By Ryan Moor
The screen-printing industry has forever changed the way I look at clothing. There is no more: “Wow, that’s a cool shirt!” There is only: “What type of ink did they use? Is it in registration? How many colors? I wonder if I can reverse this process?”
If you’re a screen printer, then you know what I mean. This has its disadvantages, of course, but the advantage is that things sometimes catch your eye and spark an idea. This idea can help form new relationships, invent new markets, inspire new products, and, well, give you something to write about in an article! A few months back I was sitting with my wife Amanda at breakfast after we had been running. She was wearing a green Nike Performance sweatshirt with a Nike 6.0 logo on it (Figure 1).
Being used to seeing the Nike swoosh everywhere, I didn’t pay much attention to the logo, and something it caught my eye. This wasn’t just any swoosh, it was dimensional—it stood off the shirt using high-density ink. Yes, it was simple and just one color, but it was definitely unique. It made me think of something Steve Job’s once said: You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new. So ask yourself: are you trendsetter, a trend follower, or not even on the playing field?
As I began to write this article, I thought to myself: There are dozens of tech papers and YouTube videos about screen printing on poly or athletic apparel, but knowing how to do it is only half the battle. Knowing what to try and when to try it, and how to sell it—that’s the key. I saw something just a little different in that Nike sweatshirt that made me want to dig. This article reviews what I uncovered about the imprinted-performance-apparel market.
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