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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Traditional look gives way to new era of uniform fashion

Relevant Topics: Sports, football, social trends, marketing
If you follow college football you are aware of the variety of uniform combinations the Oregon Ducks wear.  A few other teams are also dabbling in changing their 'look' - most recently the University of Maryland with their crazy state flag inspired motif.  As a middle-age guy, I wasn't too crazy about this trend until I started seeing how the players - the individuals who would be wearing them - were reacting when they realized their coach had finally approved the use of a new uniform design.  This video from the Ohio University club house demonstrates how important the look of the uniform is to the players.  If they reacted this way, then think of the potential for attracting impressionable recruits, jersey sales, and the overall exposure the program can get . . . . all because of the uniforms.  Check it out.

Out of the primordial soup: I think this is brilliant.  While I do not care personally for the new look, my opinion really doesn't matter.  And this is not the first time a sports team has changed their uniform design or colors (think of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Kings - teams that changed both), but these new designs will lead the way for a more trendy, hip-hop type of feel for sports uniforms.  I don't dress like a teenager, so I do not see the appeal in wearing uniforms that do not have that classic college football look.  However, today's youth, for the most part, are concerned about dressing in the latest fashion - why wouldn't they want to wear uniforms they see as 'cool'? 

This should mean something to anyone trying to do business with young people.  Kids, teens, and young adults really like this stuff.  The older generation - baby boomers like me - may not get it (nor should they wear most of it), but knowing what the younger generations like will help them to tailor products and services that will appeal to the Gen X, Y and Millennium crowds.   Where they will spend their money should be of concern if we want them to spend it with us.

I was surprised one day when my son showed me a baseball cap he bought  - it was one of the old Milwaukee Brewers caps - you know, the type Robin Yount and Paul Molitor wore in the '80s.  I thought he would hate it, but he thought it was so cool.  So maybe the idea of wearing uniforms with a new, hip design isn't so much  about wearing that new, hip design, but rather about wearing something that my generation isn't wearing.  If it's new to them and we older guys aren't wearing it, perhaps that's what's cool . . . or not.  Like everything else the new uniforms that are rolling out will be popular for a while, but will eventually lose their appeal.  Today's new look is tomorrow's throwback uniform.  One thing's for sure - this is only the beginning, so I might as well get used to it.

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