Friday, October 2, 2009

Top Cycling Apparel Manufacturer Trends at Interbike

Auer Agency | Charlotte, NC | 704.236.0568 |

Last week, I traveled to Vegas to attend Interbike. Interbike is cycling's largest tradeshow where apparel, bike, gear, components and media vendors come together for the retail shop owners and the bike shop boys come to check out the latest. Of course, I go for the apparel and most importantly get to know the custom manufacturers.

The first few days were spent spitting out dust. Interbike got wise a few years ago and set up a demo day for everyone to try out the latest rides in rough, rocky terrain. With that being such a huge success, they stretched it out from 1 to 2 days and the last show had 3 days. The Show Daily even reported that more people attended the Demo Days then traisping around Sands Convention Center.
I chose to avoid the dirt and instead spent two days walking the show floors shaking hands with apparel vendors and meeting new bike shop owners.

Some of the trends I saw out there were still pretty simple with graphics. Although some technical aspects were new.

Giordana: I have to first give a shout out to Gita/Giordana's crew for letting me in the show. I worked for them from 1996-98 and a lot of the old crew is still their and still as cool as ever. I loved seeing Giorgio on his knees putting bikes on stands prepping for the show. And he was a nice as ever to me. Thanks guys!
Ok back to the gear; Giordana offers a new $250 FormaRed-Carbon jersey. It's contructed of a combination of materials that allows stretch in all directions, providing a massaging effect on the muscles that can help delay fatigue. And UV protection. The inner side keeps the warmth inside longer but also breathable.

Louis Garneau: Showed me a new longer compression short. Where they made the short longer over the thigh, keeping it warmer and compressed longer thus avoid fatigue to set in faster. I thought that was a pretty cool thing.

Sugoi: What a great group of guys over there. THanks to Dan, Bryan and I even met Stan the owner. They showed me the latest in custom apparel gear. They offer performance t-shirts that were pretty cool.

Hincapie: They had one of the coolest jerseys I saw at the show. The bottom of the jersey didn't have any elastic, but a molded flat one. Check out the pic. I helped them at their busy time last year in developing custom designs for teams and I hope to be able to help them out again this year.

ZBikeWear: I was introduced to this company a few weeks ago. They have been around for many years, but there are a lot of companies out there that I haven't been able to work with yet. My first meeting of the show was with them. I even learned a few things.
  • They are Made In the USA. Which is rare. 
  • They can also scale the designs to fit each size. I asked other manufacturers, and they were in amazement that someone could do that because it is time consuming.
  • He also discussed digital printing v. traditional screen sublimation printing. Digital is quicker and he can do an entire full custom jersey in small quanitites. Even if you want one. OH boy!! This is new!!
  • They can also do short runs, in fact they love to do it!! and have quick turnaround time of less that 2-3weeks
Champ-Sys: Another great group of guys. I know they came on the scene only a few years ago but they have really stacked a claim in the custom cycling apparel industry. But we actually talked about other sports and other apparel that they had. Including gear that they do for motorsports. They offer a button down fully sublimated shirt, polos;  as well as soccer and lacrosse offerings. I'm very excited about working with them. And living in Charlotte, NC we are motorsport country!! So who knows what could happen.

BlackBottom: Another company that has been around forever, but I just heard about them. THey had a small booth, but colorful and had a lot of visitors. I was very impressed with Jay the owner, who took a few minutes to talk to me during the show. I mean who wouldn't love wearing a pair of BlackBottoms? Very trendy designs, and they just focus on doing custom team stuff. I hope to work with them this upcoming year.

Primal Wear: Eric Truman met me after 6:00 on Thursday and that shows me what commitment levels they have. I worked with Eric a few months ago and he went out of his way to create some custom apparel for me and my client. I was in awe of their invisible zipper (I know it doesn't sounds like a big deal, but you couldn't even see it. That's some serious sewing there. I was also impressed with the different silhouettes they had such as curves to the garment and details in elastic and top stitching. I look forward to working with this cool Colorado company.

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