For NFL fans out there, the season kicks off tomorrow – so you’ve got your fantasy draft in order, the chips and dips all laid out, and your Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays blocked off, right?
But what about your wardrobe?
For guys and kids, the answer was easy: just get a team jersey.
Women, however, were traditionally ignored by the multi-million dollar merchandising business.
“For years, the industry had a ‘pink it and shrink it’ mentality,” says Michelle Dalton Tyree of Fashion Trends Daily. “That means, take your favorite team T-shirt, make it pink and make it smaller and – voila! But the thing is, we don’t all love pink.”
That began to change with actress Alyssa Milano – a huge sports fan herself.
Milano had season tickets to the Dodgers. She was at the game one night and was cold, so she decided to buy something from a merch shop to wear.
All her choices were pink and not flattering, so an a-ha moment hit her to pitch the idea of a fashion-forward female fan apparel line.
Her agent secured a meeting with reps from Major League Baseball.
“I don’t think that they really understood what I was talking about as far as the line was concerned,” she recalls, “but I do think that they responded to how passionate I was about the sport of baseball and how strongly I felt that female fans weren’t given a strong enough voice in the sport.”
They eventually gave her a licensing deal, and her line Touch was born.
Touch uses clothing patterns specifically for women, and also find inspiration from the latest runway styles.
“We really look at fashion trends to design the line, so we look at what’s going in Fashion Week and try to adapt those trends to sports apparel,” she says.
Touch had touched a nerve with the increasing number of female sports fans, and has grown to a $100 million business with ties to all the major sports leagues.
Many more retailers are also tapping into the female sports fan market.
Junk Food Clothing, based in LA, has an extensive NFL collection for women and men.
“They do cool and ridiculously soft Jerseys and T-shirts,” says Tyree, “and I love their LA Rams jerseys, some of which you can only get online.”
Another biggie is Miss Fanatic, a company started by former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Tiffany Pearl.
“Women’s wear is an enormous piece of the pie in fan wear, and now we’re only just seeing that grow,” says Tyree.