2010 March 15

The old rule about ‘if it looks too good to be true, it probably is’ definitely applies in tough economic times, but many people are being caught out by counterfeit goods, especially clothing.

Until recently, counterfeiting wasn’t as prevalent in casual clothing as in high-end designer and fashion garments, but the global recession means that almost every brand and clothing line is being targeted by unscrupulous cheats, many of whom chose to sell their knock-off clothing online.

You can protect yourself against fake clothing vendors by following a few simple rules:

1.    Buying clothing online can be a fantastic way to save money – but make sure you buy through a reputable online retailer. Counterfeiters choose to sell this way because it allows them to stay anonymous and the set-up costs of business online are low, so look for a company with a long history in retail and a good range of the kind of clothing you want to buy. While some retailers specialise in a single brand – especially of more expensive garments such as high quality jackets, shoes and trainers – and are perfectly genuine, an online store selling only one brand can also be a sign that a counterfeiter is using that website to offload fake goods, so be doubly careful.
2.    Look at the details – detailing can often separate real goods from fake ones. On brand T-shirts, for example, look at what the company in question describes as its ‘signature’ or ‘classic’ styling, such as where brand labels are located, stitching styles and cut. Often, even online, you can see where a picture of the goods doesn’t match up to the company’s signature style, such as a garment looking skinny when the cut is supposed to relaxed or roomy, or a label being slightly different in colour, size or shape. Counterfeiters can produce garments that are almost identical to the real thing, but most are just trying to sell similar looking garments as quickly as possible and don’t pay as much attention to detail so you can catch them out by examining photographs carefully.
3.    Ask for references – all good online shops have references and testimonials, but counterfeiters have become good at faking those too! Try googling the company and seeing what comes up: disappointed buyers often vent their fury on consumer sites or in online forums, while satisfied customers of online shops will also tend to enthuse about the good quality of their clothing, the excellence of the service and the speedy delivery. Use these online clues to help you decide where it’s safe to buy.

2009 October 8

bluepoloPolo-shirts are a comfortable, smart-casual item of clothing that can work well for leisure or employment, but choosing the right polo shirt for your body shape can really change your appearance. A well-fitting polo-shirt in the right colour can make you look slimmer, taller and more defined, while a badly-fitting polo shirt in the wrong colour can make you look fatter, shorter and baggier.

•    If you are tall and thin, choose a polo-shirt with bands or stripes, or with a contrasting collar as all these make you look wider.
•    If you have a narrow neck, leave your polo-shirt completely unbuttoned and wear a white or pale grey round-necked T-shirt underneath – this gives the impression of widening your neck and shoulders. Don’t pop the polo-shirt collar up though, as this casts shadows that make your neck seem even thinner.
•    If you are broad necked and stocky, pick a medium toned polo shirt, such as royal blue or green, and wear a black or navy blue vest type T-shirt underneath, this narrows the front of the body and draws the eye downwards, making the neck appear less wide. Don’t button your polo-shirt neck as that will add bulk to this point of your body.
•    For thin arms, a ringer polo shirt with a contrasting trim on the edge of the sleeves can add bulk, as can wearing a pale-coloured, long-sleeved T-shirt under the polo shirt. For maximum effect, push the sleeves of the T-shirt up so that they sit around mid forearm, this makes the arms look much stronger.
•    Relaxed fit shirts suit larger people, while the slim should choose a tailored fit.

2009 July 24

stedmanStedman by Hanes is one of the world’s leading brands in quality sportswear and casualwear. It produces the kind of clothing that is both relaxed and wearable every day, while being durable and this isn’t surprising, given the history of the Hanes brand.

In 1901 the first Hanes underwear was produced and when it became two piece underwear instead of the all-in-one that men had worn until that time, men quickly began wearing it as outerwear, so perhaps the first T-shirt was born from this behaviour?

Anyway there’s now a vast range of T-shirts, polo-shirts, and sweatshirts designed to be as comfortable as underwear but as stylish as the most fashion aware consumer could demand.

Look out for fantastic budget casual wear in the Stedman range, in particular long-sleeved T-shirts that hark back to the simple, cosy comfort of the very first Hanes brand but carry all the durability and style of this international brand. Stedman is one of the world’s best selling cost-conscious T-shirts for three good reasons: comfort, price and hard-wearing design.

2009 July 20

white poloSeriously, researchers into evolutionary theory and practice have discovered that both men and women respond better to white clothing than other colours and that there might be an evolutionary reason.

White shirts, with a dark suit, caused women to view a man as more powerful than the same man wearing a dark shirt. White shirts with a white tuxedo amplified the effect and given a choice between the same man wearing a white T-shirt or a navy blue one, women preferred the white T-shirt.

We know that men respond to women wearing white, whether it’s a wedding dress or that girl tennis player scratching her behind, but why?  When men were shown the same ‘nurse’ wearing a white polo shirt or a green one, they felt the one wearing the white polo shirt was more intelligent and compassionate.

The colour white is a high risk colour in the world of animals, unless you live in a snowy region – white stands out against most backgrounds. This means that a white creature that can survive against a non-white background, must be more resourceful, clever or powerful than other creatures, so it’s a good creature to breed with as it has better genes for survival.

We don’t like to think of ourselves as creatures, but it seems that we may have the same evolutionary tendencies as all other living things. We think that white clothing makes the wearer superior. So wearing a white polo shirt could be just the thing if you want to impress a certain guy or gal … or maybe even a teacher or interviewer. And if you have a business, putting your staff in white polo shirts, work shirts or even T-shirts, could make a lot of difference to the way your company is seen by your customers.

2009 June 29

womens-polo-shirtPolo-shirts for women are hugely popular in the United States and have increasingly caught on in the UK, especially as items of workwear. The most common place to see women wearing polo-shirts today is the sports industry, where lifeguards and tennis instructors, physiotherapists and aerobics instructors have all discovered the value of this kind of clothing. A women’s polo-shirt is popular with those involved in fitness because it is easy to wear, incredibly simple to wash and pack and looks as good at the end of the day as it does at the beginning.

Another place where women’s polo-shirts are turning up in uniforms is the healthcare industry where nurses are finding that the polo-shirt delivers wearability, washability and performance without the institutional look that tabards and tunics often impose.

Women’s polo-shirts may be long or short-sleeved although the latter is considerably more common. They usually have a two or three button neckline, called a placket, and a knit collar which can be worn ‘popped’ (turned up) or laid flat.

Usually polo-shirts are made of cotton or a cotton synthetic blend which is used to be more crush proof and to stand up to heavier wear.  Basically the lighter weight the polo-shirt, the more easily it will sag or lose its shape, but this is not always true of women’s polo-shirts, because they are cut differently, having less ‘hang’ on the hem, and because they tend to be smaller all round, they suffer less from the issue of sagging than men’s polo-shirts do. Look out for double-top stitching and a heavier weight if you want clothing that will last for a long time and can cope with winter temperatures, while single stitched women’s polo-shirts and lighter weight materials are more suitable for summer wear.

Worn with cargo pants, chinos or jeans, women’s polo-shirts look casual and cute but with a tailored skirt they can look professional and organised.

2009 June 25

uneek20active20pique20whiteAs Wimbledon glues every Brit to their TV set, just as the summer happens (all six days of it) so that we’ve got the choice of cheering on our great white hope or getting rid of our white bodies in favour of a tan, the white polo shirt puts in an appearance.

There’s a good reason for this, apart from the classic link to Wimbledon and the formal wear of the early tennis tournaments which required men to wear long-sleeved shirts buttoned to the neck and women to wear ankle-length skirts.

A white polo shirt always looks good, whether it’s worn under a blazer or with a pair of beach shorts. It suits both men and women and it is just formal enough to past muster for the office and yet it’s perfect casual clothing for a barbecue or a day on the beach.

Keeping a white polo shirt white is easy too, because unlike other white summer clothing, notably linen, it barely creases and can handle a tough wash to remove those famous summer stains: grass from sitting in the park in your lunch break, ice-cream from the quick Cornetto you grabbed at the end of the day and barbecue sauce from the TGIF party your best mate threw.

Above all though, a white polo shirt flatters most figures – a short and less than svelte person looks just as good in a white polo shirt as the tallest, leanest, tennis player. So while you don’t have to be Andy Murray to get away with wearing this classic item of summer clothing, it might make you feel as if you were him!

2008 December 15

The latest research by Mintel into clothing sizes reveals that sales of plus-sized men’s clothing have increased by 40% over the past five years.  This growth in XL and above sizes is partly due to spiralling levels of obesity: it’s predicted that nearly a third of men will be obese by 2013 and 90% of all UK adults are expected to be overweight or obese by 2050. The market for men’s clothes sized XL or larger is now worth £1.7 billion, up from £1.2 billion in 2003. The other driver for XL clothing sales is the modern desire to wear loose clothing such as T-shirts that are not tucked in and hoodies that have drooped shoulders and can fit at least two tees underneath.

DEFRA also reveals textiles have become the fastest-growing waste product in the UK. Nearly 74% of the two million tonnes of clothes bought in the UK each year end up in landfills. Meanwhile, the poor quality of the cheap fashion that is sold in cut price stores has destroyed the recycled textile industry. Cheap imported fashion, like t-shirts for a pound, has removed any possibility of selling second-hand tees at charity shops.  And very little of the material that can’t be sold, can’t be recycled either less than 4% of the two million tonnes, around 13% is incinerated and the remainder is either sent abroad or buried in British landfill.

To stop this wasteful behaviour, DEFRA wants us to buy less often, buy better quality and take more care of our clothing. Their suggestions for better clothing behaviour will be revealed in February and are likely to include a focus on buying pure cotton t-shirts, rather than cotton/synthetic blends, for everyday wear and keeping mixed fibres for performance clothing like sportswear; investing in clothing that can be layered: T-shirts under hoodies, sweatshirts under jackets, rather than buying individual garments to be worn alone; and not buying complete holiday wardrobes cheaply that will not be worn again when you return.

2007 June 26
  • What is ‘skin friendly cotton?’

Although a T-shirt may well contain the purest cotton available, this refers to the raw material and not how it has been processed. During the dyeing and finishing process chemicals can be used which can affect the wearer and the environment. If allowed to be absorbed into the fabric these chemicals can cause skin irritation.

  • How can I avoid this risk?

Developed in 1992 by a group of European textile institutes the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Mark (sometimes abbreviated to Oko-Tex) is a global standard that sets strict limits on the amount of harmful substances which can be found in the product. Find out more about Oko-Tex’s work on their Website


The Oeko-Tex Label

The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is widely regarded as the industry benchmark in the field of human ecology, since it provides a thorough and rigorously scrupulous screening scheme, which sets more stringent limits than current EC legislation on banned or restricted substances used in textile manufacture. The Oeko-Tex test even searches for chemicals not currently banned by legislation but are considered potentially hazardous such as: Banned Carcinogenic Dyestuffs, Allergenic Dyestuffs, Extractable Heavy Metals, Flame Retardants, Formaldehyde, Loose Dye/Colour, Organo-tin Compounds, Phthalates (plasticizers), Chlorinated Aromatic Compounds and Volatile Organics.

Here at polo-shirts.co.uk all of our ‘Fruit of the Loom’, ‘Hanes’ and ‘Stedman’ branded stock carries an Oko-tex certification that signifies, not only do the t-shirts contain 100% cotton, but also that this cotton has been treatred conscientiously to create the safest possible t-shirt for you and your family.



Fruit of the Loom’s ‘skin-friendly’ clothing

2007 March 8

Of the Big three – Hanes, Gildan and Fruit of the Loom only Hanes was present.

Hanes were promoting both the Hanes and Stedman ranges on separate stands.
The Hanes stand was a minimalists dream, big lights and 3 plasma screens. A bit like Foxtons, the London estate agents, there was little evidence of product on display. The Stedman stand had the product behind bars, guarded by people dressed painted to look like wild animals. What was the slogan “Bite the Customer” or was it “Fight the T-shirt” I can’t remember.

Continentals stand reflected a cool fashion image, a sort of French Connection ready for print or embroidery.

At embroidery machine stands Baruden, Tajima, SWF and Midwest ……, things were much as usual – embroidery machines busily beavering away. No hint of minimalism here.

The suppliers of heat presses and vinyl seemed to be getting plenty of traffic.

The newer technology digital printing took my interest. There were several stands including YES and Amaya offering rival machines that could print multicolour prints straight onto a t-shirt.

Notable new stands included Trutex the schoolwear supplier. I didn’t really understand the logic of their strategy of offering free embroidery on their products when the majority of visitors at the show were printers and embroiderers.

Back at our JHK stand things were busy. Could the customers get past the marketing manager from Blue Max /Stag taking photographs of our stand? Had Kustom Kit’s people had been round for a third time for brochures and price lists. No wonder we were running out. How could we politely stop the people who had decided that they wanted to win the Ipod and that they were going to do this by going through all the scratch cards. Things had started to turn nasty when they decided that the only reason that they hadn’t won was because that we weren’t really giving one away.

There were plenty of interesting moments. “Could the person who picked up the promotional bag with the lap top inside, please return it to the organisers office”.

The show was a great opportunity for new printers, embroiderers and find suppliers.
After 3 days of scoffing biscuits and multicoloured M&M’s which reflected the colours of our T-shirts it was time to go home. As for next year why does this show have to be in Birmingham again….. London or Manchester would make a nice change.

Image JHK stand at Printwear and Promotion Exhibition