One of the biggest clothing markets has, and always will be, printed sportswear. Of course, for all team sports a kind of uniform is a necessity. Ever tried playing FIFA where the teams both wear the same colour kit? Inconceivable. A branded uniform is a necessity for distinguishing the difference between teams for both fans and players. A simple colour difference in shirts could mean the difference between Barcelona winning the league or Messi accidentally passing to Cristiano Ronaldo and making front page news as the idiot who cost Barcelona La Liga title. Pretty obvious, right?
Wait a dang minute though. If printed sportswear is such a big market, why do we face such a problem with getting young people to exercise? Why do we have to sit through those kind of creepy ads promoting physical activity? Surely, if people are buying sportswear they’re using it to get active, right? Wrong. Look at it this way, remember back in 2010, when Ronaldo was signed by Real Madrid for a staggering £80m? In a year this money was returned to the club via Ronaldo shirt sales. In a year £100 million+ was made via shirt sales featuring Ronaldo’s name. Now, is it right to think that all these sales were to people who thought “Yeaaaah, I’m going to play football in this shirt!”? Of course not. Firstly, not all of those purchasers would be actively wanting to take up playing football. Secondly, have you seen the cost of an official shirt? Not everyone wants to get sweaty and muddy in something that costs that much.
So, why is purchasing branded sportswear is so important to people? Affiliation and togetherness has a great deal to do with it.
Humans are naturally social, wanting to interact with fellow humans; from forming a gang with school friends to not wanting to have lunch on your own, we tend to gravitate to one another. One of the reasons for this is because humans love being part of something. Finding a connection with another human basically makes you feel less isolated, less lonely and it makes you feel happy. A study a few years ago found that athletes who rowed together could tolerate twice as much pain than athletes who rowed alone. The reason? Because being part of something releases endorphins, and endorphins mean happiness.
But you don’t have to exercise together to feel like you’re part of something. Simply noticing a shared characteristic can cause it. This is where football shirts come in. Seeing people wearing the same shirt as you, all hoping for the same outcome, is a great feeling.
This is the simple effect that a piece of printed sportswear can have. It can make people happier, lose their inhibitions with other people and make friends with strangers, and you don’t have to be in a sports team to benefit from this. Think about a company. When your staff are all wearing the same T-Shirt there’s a strong feeling of togetherness. A focus is given to your similarities and not your differences. Ever been in the airport and seen a group of people on a stag weekend or a hen do? The ecstatic feeling of being part of something, displaying to the world that you are part of this group, makes people happy.
Essentially, it’s important for people to reevaluate the ideas of uniforms. Uniforms should not be seen as negative. Instead, people should celebrate the positive aspects that can be drawn from them and how they can make people feel. A simple printed logo on a T-Shirt can make a huge difference to a team; be it a sports team, a business team or basically, any team.
So in conclusion, whether we’re talking about uniforms or printed sportswear, feeling a part of something will boost team moral, productivity and, as a result, revenue.