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1999 buyer's guide and directory on team apparel.

Vince Lombardi may have coined the oft-repeated phrase, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing," but chances are he wasn't wearing a microfiber jacket with a nylon zipper, slash pockets, and an elastic waistband when he said it.

There's little doubt that if the Packers' legend was working the sidelines today, his gameday outfit would be a topic for discussion by the apparel world's Monday-morning quarterbacks.

"Now more than ever, college coaches are watching what the professional coaches wear and high school coaches are watching the colleges," said Alan Capasso, creative director for the Neff Co., manufacturers of practice apparel. "We utilize a 12-member focus group that assists us in developing the right apparel based on size, fashion, and feature benefits.

"We want to make sure that zippers are in the right place, the colors we choose are appealing, and features we might implement, such as hoods and front pockets, are desirable components for coaches and their teams."

Winning consistently is every coach's objective. Apparel that feels comfortable and improves performance will help coaches achieve that goal.

Efraim Nathan, owner of Sweat It Out, produces apparel designed to increase an athlete's performance. Nathan draws the distinction between performance and fashion apparel by its application to the body.

"Any apparel that touches the skin is performance; anything outside is considered fashion," he explains. "We've created apparel that is a 70% CoolMax[R] and 30% Lycra[R] combination that is very appealing because it removes sweat from the skin without the chafing.

"We've had 350-pound football players who normally experience a lot of chafing in the upper-thigh area. They use our product and are amazed at its comfort level. The emphasis is on developing a structural fiber that moves sweat away from the skin to the fabric's outer layer. DuPont's development of CoolMax[R] and Lycra[R] has been significant.

"Our audience is nearly 70% women because of the advent of the sports bra. We find that women understand product knowledge so much more because they are willing to invest the time to be educated."

Apparel manufacturers, such as Diadora, are using the approaching millennium to launch an innovative line of soccer-specific outerwear, practice gear, and accessories.

"We've traditionally focused on the team apparel market," said Stephanie Nelson, Director of Apparel Marketing for Diadora. "We want to branch out into the fashion-functional line of apparel with our Stile Collection, which means 'fashion' in Italian.

"The collection is innovative and pays attention to detail in the soccer wear for on and off the field. We've borrowed the designs that we produced for highly visible international teams and incorporated them into an apparel line at several price points. Our new line of uniforms are a shirt and short combination.

"The fabric, a peach nylon and soft polyester, are critical to the new line's success. The polyester feel has always been very popular and the moisture management fabric serves a functional purpose."
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Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Mazzola, Gregg
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 1999
Words:487
Previous Article:The Jersey Bounce.
Next Article:COACHE'S CORNER.
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