Sublimated Athletic Uniforms – Lighter & Just As Durable
Uniform Characteristics Have Evolved Over Time
When speaking with a customer the other day it occurred to me how our customer’s perceptions have changed over the years regarding custom athletic uniforms. Not so long ago, when showing samples to a potential customer, it was not uncommon at all for that customer to ask if we had anything “heavier” available. “Heavy” meant quality and durability and was considered just plain better at that time.
In addition to selling the heaviest, most durable fabrics that we could source we would take a similar approach when decorating them. When screen-printing, we would purposely apply as heavy a deposit of ink as was feasible in an effort to further promote that heavy, quality look. Likewise, with tackletwill (sewn-on lettering) we would use the heaviest, professional grade twill and actually still do till this day.
Optimal Athletic Performance is a Driving Force
With the popularity of apparel from companies like Under Armour however our uniform customers are now asking us for just the opposite. “Do you have anything lighter” is something we now hear frequently. I have even had customers tell me . . . that they don’t care how long the uniforms last as long as they are attractive, lightweight and comfortable.
Common sense tells us that an athlete wearing a uniform that weighs several pounds may not perform as well as someone wearing one that weighs less then one pound. That makes sense but with budgets being what they are can customers afford to have lightweight uniforms at the expense of having to replace them more frequently? Fortunately, that is not a choice that we have to make because with current technology these new fabrics can be fairly durable in addition to being lightweight and comfortable.
All of this new technology is useless however if we ruin the advantages of the fabric by smothering it with pounds of lettering and numbering. That problem has been solved as well with the development of sublimation. With sublimation we can literally dye all decoration directly into the fabric with almost no increase in garment weight.
With the development of these new technologies in both fabrics and imprinting we can now have our cake and eat it too. Our customers can now purchase an extremely attractive, lightweight and comfortable customized uniform and can count on it lasting for many, many years.