Survival of the Fittest
(As new promotional products are introduced to the market, wearables continue to dominate sales figures. According to PPAI, promotional product distributor sales for 2006 totaled $18.8 billion with wearables accounting for a whopping 30.79 percent of this figure. Because many print suppliers and distributors are currently testing the promotional waters, the staff of Print Professional would like to acquaint its readers with a top-selling item that just might be a perfect fit for their next campaign.
Originally printed in the February 2008 issue of Promo Marketing (PM), the following article discusses the value and trends of T-shirts and details some important imprinting techniques. For more information on promotional product offerings, visit www.promomarketing.com.)
FROM THEIR INCEPTION as appropriate-for-daytime-wear wardrobe standbys (or inappropriate, depending on who’s doing the judging), T-shirts have been the put-upon younger brother of the apparel clan. Slacker. Underachiever. Slob. Uniform of the basement-dwelling video-gameplayer, or worse, the go-to garment for sweaty work outside or on a treadmill.
Yet, in the last 10 years or so, there’s been a bit of a shake-up in the hierarchy. T-shirts grew up. In fact, they became king.
In an effort to emanate a more offbeat vibe, many designers began adding them to their collections, emblazoned with rock ‘n’ roll icons or ironic witticisms. Likewise, in a nod toward the inherent versatility of the T-shirt, still others sent models down the runway sans the bells and whistles with a more classic, on-the-boat-in-the-Hamptons take on the piece. They were usually paired with a cropped blazer of some sort, for the record.
In the promotional product arena, the coup of the T-shirt might have, true to form, happened slightly later. Yet in the past few years especially, its evolution has been exponentially catching up. The metamorphosis has been chronicled annually in the pages of this very publication. Two years ago, in PM’s February 2006 T-shirt overview, “Go Sheer and Light-weight,” erstwhile editor Jennifer Hans reported changes in fabric weight were replacing the heavier choices of the past.
Related story: Imprinting Close-Up