Why Athletic and Collegiate Wear Never Go Out of Style
We have all felt the magnetic pull of nostalgia in retail, fashion, and mainstream media; the style, products, and movies and television shows that bring you back to happier, simpler days.
Plenty of celebrities, brands, and designers have capitalized on this timeless trend (think Beyonce and her partnership with Balmain) — and they’re right to do so. Unlike some fashion trends from days past — patchwork patterns, ultra-low rise jeans, mullets, and velour tracksuits, to name a few— collegiate and athletic wear is never uncool. It is one of the few truly timeless pieces of custom apparel.
Varsity letterman jackets and sweaters, university sweatshirts, and school or sports-inspired t-shirts all possess the unique ability to connect with consumers in a meaningful way without compromising their effortlessly fresh look. Why? Because athletic and collegiate wear has been a staple in American life, community, and culture since the 19th century. They embrace the joy of youth, nostalgia of high school and college, and comradeship sports. For brands and businesses, understanding athletic and collegiate wear presents an opportunity for growth and financial stability.
The Evolution of the Athletic and Collegiate Wear Styles
When people associate the varsity letterman jackets with school sports teams, they’re right on target. The first-ever varsity letter jackets were actually wool sweaters created for the Harvard University baseball team of 1865. These precursors to the modern varsity letterman jacket evolved from a sweater into a jacket in the early 1900s, by which time they were standard gear for most men’s collegiate sports teams. Varsity jackets burst out as a widespread trend in the 1950s and have only grown in popularity as women’s teams, high school sports, and non-athletes adopted the jacket.
From John Travolta in Grease to Emilio Estevez in The Breakfast Club, there are countless portrayals of classic athletic and collegiate gear in popular American film and television, which only increase the affinity that the mainstream public has for the collegiate and athletic gear look. While varsity letterman jackets are at the core of the timeless collegiate wear tradition, sweatshirts, t-shirts, and hats emblazoned with iconic university logos and sports teams play a pivotal role in making the style impactful. Ivy League logos, in particular, have become popular in fashion. Today, thousands of high schools and universities offer athletic and collegiate clothing to students, and more businesses are capitalizing on the trend every day.
In every iteration, these athletic and collegiate wear styles are popular because they are a symbol of community and support. Designing custom apparel in the collegiate and athletic traditions allow businesses to recreate a similar sense of wistfulness, nostalgia, and belonging — centered in their own brand identity.
Make Your Fans A Part Of Your Team
The power of custom merchandise lies in its ability to connect consumers to a company on an emotional level, and collegiate athletic gear has the greatest superpower of all when it comes to creating emotional connections. Designing and selling custom apparel that follows athletic and collegiate wear styles allows every brand to make fans and customers feel like a part of a team and tradition.
We’re here to facilitate that meaningful, emotional connection between you and your consumers with our stellar design skills, attentive customer support, and custom apparel. We’ll help you establish and strengthen your brand’s community and attract new consumers by helping you imagine authentic custom apparel and merchandise to sell on your platform.
The Thunderwear team understands the value of nostalgia and vintage design. We are a family-owned custom merchandise business that first opened its doors in the 1980s. We have let that 80s aesthetic inform and inspire everything from select designs to our website to our core values and quality of service. Much like athletic and collegiate wear, those things will never go out of style. Are you ready to relive your glory days and help your most loyal customer base do the same? Shoot us an email to start designing your branded athletic and collegiate wear today.