Headsweats has long dominated in the made-for-sports hat category. After a recent acquisition, the brand moves aggressively into tech shirts.
A new kind of sleek collar and a design with unique wicking features make Headsweats shirts significant
Headsweats is known for its breathable, sweat-wicking hats. They have an absorbing fabric built in, making the low-profile hats a favorite in endurance sports from trail running to triathlons.
This week, the company announced its acquisition by textile giant Intradeco. The Miami-based company has 7,000 employees worldwide and produces high-tech shirts with unique manufacturing processes.
Following the acquisition, the new company name is NG Labs dba Headsweats. Alan Romick, founder of Headsweats, will stay on to “drive new business opportunities in the performance shirt and apparel arena.” Mike McQueeney will remain president of Headsweats.
Headsweats Introduces Apparel Example of Headsweats sublimated shirt
Two things make the shirts immediately stand out: Fully-sublimated dyed fabric allows designers to create seamless, colorful, edge-to-edge graphics on lightweight polyester.
This process embeds permanent color into the fabric, eliminating fading or the crinkling of printed-on graphics.
In addition, Headsweats adds its own touch with a subtle collar feature. Like its eponymous hats, the tech tees have a strip of fabric made to help mitigate sweat. And the neck tape resists chafing and adds comfort while on the move.
Close-up: ‘Neck tape’ provides a sleek collar on Headsweats premium shirt models
Headsweats Performance T-Shirts
The shirts are tag-less and made of lightweight polyester with minimal seams. There is mesh on the back of some models for more breathability.
Headsweats will introduce the performance shirt line this summer. They come in men’s, women’s, and youth sizing.
Intradeco, a vertical-manufacturing company, offers unique advantages for an upstart shirt division. It owns factories and facilities around the Western Hemisphere, with staff for merchandising, design, sourcing, knitting, dyeing, cutting, sewing, and distribution.
Wholesale pricing will range from about $4 to $12. Consumers will pay more, but Romick said MSRPs will be far below industry averages “for the same or better quality shirt.”
Intradeco Acquires Headsweats
The speed of manufacture is another callout, Romick noted. “We started deliveries at the end of June,” he said. “We are taking orders for four- to five-week turnaround, and as few as 24 custom T-shirts [in an order].”
Mock-ups of sublimation T-shirts
Romick also noted he’s proud to be working with an eco-conscious company. Intradeco has a large solar-powered distribution center and a corporate commitment to reducing manufacturing water use.
Because of its commitment to sustainable practices, the company will receive recognition at next week’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show. Unifi will present Intradeco with a Champion of Sustainability award.
“Creativity is the answer.” So argues adidas, which sees athletics as a creative passion that drives inspiration and innovation for its brand, and its fans.
If great brands are driven by a relentless focus on customers, adidas is obsessed with helping athletes make a difference in their games, lives and world—because “through sport, we have the power to change lives.” And in a big year for sports, adidas has been making bold moves to show how creativity is its North Star.
It started creating culture nearly 90 years ago, when founder Adolf Dassler persuaded U.S. sprinter Jesse Owens to wear his handmade spikes at the 1936 Summer Olympics, made from canvas and rubber instead of much heavier metal. Owens accepted the challenge, and duly won four Olympic gold medals.
Fast-forward to 2018, when adidas pushed its own creativity for the world’s largest sporting event, the FIFA World Cup. It brought together 56 of the world’s most influential people in sports culture including Leo Messi, Gabriel Jesus, David Beckham, Caroline Wozniacki, Karlie Kloss and Pharrell Williams.
“On the pitch, a moment of creativity can transform a game,” Messi stated. “You have to see the things that others can’t see and take chances others won’t. Creativity sets players apart.”
To launch the campaign, adidas invited a range of influencers—athletes, musicians, artists and filmmakers in London, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris, Shanghai, New York and Moscow—to co-create images and content for its first ever open-sourced campaign.
From athletes to fashionistas, from fans of football, running, training and basketball to the design-forward adidas Originals line, the adidas style is distinctive, diversified, sustainable and on the cutting edge. As adidas Group CEO Kasper Rorsted told analysts on a recent earnings call, “We believe we have the product pipeline to support the planned top-line expansion for 2018 (and) we create enough brand heat to drive the company forward.”
A post shared by Esquire Italia (@esquireitalia) on Jul 31, 2018 at 11:06am PDT
The most popular sneakers on Instagram are the adidas NMD shoes, a sneaker style by adidas Originals that integrates traditional design sensibility with innovative technology, which has been hashtagged more than 5.7 million times. Referencing previous shilhouettes, the NMD is equipped with Boost, combining running and casual for the ultimate shoe. It’s followed by the Yeezy350 from its collaboration with Kanye West.
A post shared by Los Angeles (@cole_younger_) on Jun 13, 2018 at 2:41pm PDT
In partnership with Clear Channel Outdoor, adidas Originals created 16 billboards targeting a broad range of consumers, from photographers to YouTube personalities, capturing their attention in a fast-moving digital world.
“We wanted to spark conversation,” Pascha Naderi-Nejad, senior director of Adidas Originals North America, told Adweek about the OOH/influencers campaign.
“These guys are the real sneaker celebrities. We wanted to get a lot of user-generated content, and we wanted to get their following to actually hit them up and say, ‘Hey, there’s a billboard with your name on it. What’s that all about?’”
Since 2015, the company has teamed with Parley for the Oceans to keep plastic trash out of oceans and upcycle that waste to create apparel and footwear. Its ZeroDye fabric initiative cuts the amount of water, energy and chemicals used in manufacturing.
Rorsted said last year adidas sold one million shoes made out of recycled ocean plastic (each Parley shoe reuses 11 plastic shoes). “That’s where we invest money—companies that have the technology that we need, companies that have materials that are unique. We are investing much more in companies that make a step forward in sustainability, or makes the manufacturing process much more sophisticated.”
A History of Bold Creativity
In another example of how it’s infusing its brand with creativity, the brand received the Grand Prix in Entertainment for Music at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, along with an Adweek Brand Genius award, for its “Original is Never Finished” campaign.
“The one thing I always say actually is watch the competition of your industry but don’t benchmark them,” said Alegra O’Hare, VP of global brand communications. “If you start benchmarking the competition of your industry that’s when you fall into the worst trap. The future of brands and companies will be about brands that create culture, not consume culture, and that’s the benchmark I look at.”
The sports brand was launched in 1924 by Adolph Dassler (whose portmanteau name was inspired by Adolph’s nickname of Adi and the first part of his surname) to produce spiked running shoes. Today, the company is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second largest in the world, after Nike, although its growth outpaces its fierce rival. In 2017, adidas brand sales in North America increased 25%, compared with 3% for Nike.
Its first quarter 2018 top-line growth was driven by North America, China and e-commerce sales—but as Rorsted commented, “we managed to grow the bottom line significantly faster than the top line while continuing to invest into creating brand desire.”
Below, a look at how adidas localized creativity this past year:
The Slope Runner Vest 4L feels like another piece of clothing. But it fits jackets, water bottles, filters, and food no problem. We went on a run with Patagonia to learn more about its revamped trail running line.
Clare Gallagher leads the pack up Chautauqua’s Mesa Trail in Boulder, Colo. She tells a group of media reps about the side compression straps on the Slope Runner Vest. From behind, Jeff Browning chimes in about using it during his Hardrock 100 win this year.
For 2019, Patagonia aims to make a splash in the ultrarunning community with a revamped line of trail running apparel and gear. Clearly, the brand’s ambassador team spoke highly of the kit. And Browning used it with great success at one of the world’s hardest races.
At the helm of Patagonia’s Long Haul Trail Kit is the Slope Runner Vest. It’s a 4-liter running vest that feels more like a high-riding shirt than a technical trail pack.
Patagonia invited GearJunkie to test its newly released kit this week. Here’s our first look review of the Slope Runner Vest.
Review: Patagonia Slope Runner Vest
Patagonia designed the Slope Runner Vest, $139, much like a garment and less like a piece of equipment. Along with the rest of the Long Haul Trail Kit – Airchaser shirt, ($49) and Strider Pro shorts ($69) – the vest removes the bulk of a pack.
The Slope Runner boasts some common features with Patagonia’s clothing and packs. It borrows load carrying found in its Nine Trails pack line and breathability and comfort from the brand’s fabrics.
During our five-mile test run, the vest rode comfortably. It didn’t cause excess sweat on my back or uncomfortable rubbing on my chest or under my arms.
The adjustment straps across the chest are easily swapped if you want more stability lower or higher. Hidden beneath two side pockets are side compression straps that hug the vest close to your body.
In use, the vest shines as a minimal piece of kit. It lays almost totally flat and doesn’t poke out or have excess baggage. This gives the Slope Runner an almost a shirt-like fit.
My only gripe was how high the vest rode on my chest. It sits much higher than other vests I’ve tested, like Salomon, Black Diamond, and Columbia Sportswear running vests and packs.
It took a little getting used to but didn’t make me feel top heavy. After the first mile, I hardly noticed my kit and paid attention to the run.
Patagonia Long Haul Trail Kit
With Patagonia’s vest, shirt, and shorts, you get a high-performing and comfortable set of ultrarunning gear. You can stash food, gels, and nutrition in your shorts, storing larger items in the vest.
Larger storage in the back of the vest comes from a main stretchy pocket with a smaller zippered pocket above it. This proves ideal for stuffing jackets, layers, or water filters. At the bottom sits another stretchy pocket, creating a total storage capacity of four liters.
During Browning’s effort at the Hardrock 100, he quickly pulled jackets out from the back of the vest without needing to stop or take off the vest.
He said because the vest hugged close to the body, his jackets went on over everything and he was able to keep moving quickly.
In the Slope Runner, a monofilament fabric rests against your back. It’s designed to lift the pack slightly off your back with rigid bumps and grooves.
This creates a channel for heat to vent. And the monofilament doesn’t absorb water, so it passes through to the breathable main fabric of the pack.
Patagonia made the 5-inch-inseam Strider Pro shorts out of 100 percent recycled fabric. The shorts have two pockets on either side and one zippered pocket in back.
The shorts didn’t bunch up during the run and felt super airy during an unseasonably humid day. And as for the shirt, the back is more breathable than the front, which is great for running with a pack.
Patagonia Revamps Trail Running Gear
The last time Patagonia introduced a trail running vest was in 2016. But it approached this kit, available spring 2019, with a blank slate mentality. So the Slope Runner looks and feels unlike anything the brand currently offers.
Patagonia intends for the vest to function for three- to five-hour runs. I imagine it to be a good choice for both those new to ultrarunning who want a comfy vest and seasoned athletes that want a dialed, minimal vest.
The kit is available at the beginning of 2019. But if the efforts of Patagonia’s ambassadors continue at this pace, you may be seeing more of the kit in your Instagram feed soon.
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Now through July 4, you can save 40% on outdoor apparel and gear at REI
The sale includes limited-time summer deals as well as clearance items.
From late-night bonfires to spending days at the lake, summertime is all about enjoying the outdoors. This Independence Day, REI is having a huge sale that will make you want to do exactly that — while saving plenty of money in the process.
Now through July 4, you can save up to 40% on outdoor apparel and gear. The sale includes limited-time deals that are perfect for the summer as well as clearance items from this and past seasons.