Read on to see how to grow your team sportswear printing business.
By Cara Cherry
Lightweight fabrics, special effect materials, and unique graphic placement are all extremely popular when it comes to uniforms. Technical fabrics, while still considered a trend, are becoming more standard. Athletes are looking for materials that don’t hold them back and that offer moisture management (Figure 2) features, antibacterial properties, and UV protection. Performance wear has to be soft and stretchable. Basic cotton or polyester blend garments are being reengineered and restyled to meet these demands.
Tapered/form-fitting jerseys in smaller sizes are also very much in demand for women. Girls are no longer forced to buy men’s jerseys in small sizes or order youth-size uniforms, since most manufacturers offer a ladies fit (Figure 3). One of the best ways to cater to women is to stock what they want. Specifically, carrying women’s uniforms and showing a variety of fashionable options for female athletes is key.
Top manufacturers are also fighting for their share of the market place. In January, Nike unveiled its Hyper Elite Platinum series, which was worn by nine teams during the NCAA Basketball Championship this past March. The uniforms are made from 100% recycled polyester and are tailored for optimal efficiency and movement. The uniforms feature prominent accent colors, laser cut logos, and reflective numbers as well as side panels for increased breathability and lightweight fabric.
The NFL recently debuted new fall uniforms, which were also designed by Nike. The new uniforms are designed to be lightweight, contoured to fit the body, and breathable. In terms of the designs, most of the uniforms received small tweaks for a more modern and sleek appearance.
Adidas recently introduced TECHFIT. Worn by players in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game it features strategically placed thermoplastic polyurethane powers bands that align core muscles and boost power to key muscle group for more efficient movement. Ultimately, TECHFIT is designed to increase acceleration and a player’s endurance.
Pro sports and college sports influence trends in active wear in the same way that celebrities influence consumer clothing choices. High school teams and recreation leagues are sure to be excited for the new jerseys and will most likely start demanding uniforms similar to the pros.
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