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.

2008 October 28

Fruit of the Loom is an American company which manufactures clothing, particularly underwear but also a range of ‘utility’ clothing including T-shirts, sweatshirts and other active and casualwear. Establishing in Bowling Green, Kentucky, there are Fruit of the Loom factories across the USA, South America, Europe and North Africa.

Fruit of the Loom’s main business is in manufacturing underwear, printable polo-shirts and fleece clothing. In fact they supply most of the activewear industry, casualwear, women’s jeanswear and childrenswear.

Signature Style

Because Fruit of the Loom sells its products to others ranging from major discount chains who retail it without printing, and mass merchandisers, wholesale clubs and screenprinters, all of whom overprint the clothing – called blanks – before retailing it, the signature style of the company is that it has no style. It’s one of the biggest anonymous success stories in retailing – and for most people, the only time they know that their garment is Fruit of the Loom is when they look at the neck label.

Why we love them

Fruit of the Loom offers an unconditional guarantee on all the products it sells. In fact, word for word, here’s what they say: If you are not satisfied with any Fruit of the Loom product, return it to Fruit of the Loom. You will receive a new one, if available, or your money back.

The brand is also loved for its weird logo of Fruit Guys – made up of an apple, purple and green grapes, currants and leaves (yes, you’d be right to think those last three are all the same thing) its animated advertisements have been popular in the USA for decades.

Dissenting voices

Around the world, there have been concerns about this company’s overseas labour – in previous years it has been criticised by the International Textile Garments and Leather Workers Federation as having “a history of virulent anti-union activity” as well as subjecting employees to long hours, “poverty pay” and dangerous conditions. This condemnation has been particularly levelled at the El Salvador factories.

2008 January 31


The annual Printwear and Promotion Awards are designed to recognise outstanding garment industry achievements in the following areas:

  1. Technical Innovation Award
  2. Customer Service Award
  3. Environmental/Energy Saving Award
  4. Promotional Product of the Year
  5. Garment Decorator of the Year
  6. Manufacturer of the Year
  7. Distributor of the Year

The Quayside Group was established in 1995 and since then the business has become a leading supplier of wholesale clothing. All the business’s operations run on e-commerce-enabled express clothing platforms. The Quayside Group is proud to announce that it is a finalist in two categories in the Printwear & Promotion Awards.


(sponsored by: Screen Process & Digital Imaging magazine)

The judges noted that www.polo-shirts.co.uk uses its online Satisfaction Monitoring System (SMS) to understand its customer’s views on the service and the products it supplies. Customers are sent a post delivery online questionnaire to complete and upon its return, SMS gives www.polo-shirts.co.uk a unique understanding of its customers’ feelings. It provides the company with vital information and helps ensure Quayside is constantly offering an unbeatable product range and service.


The Judges noted that Quayside Clothing has used the power of the internet to offer total convenience, easy ordering and outstanding customer service through its web platforms, which distribute products from JHK, Fruit of the Loom, Stedman, Fanshirt, SAF Organic Clothing, and print materials from Grafityp. Its web ordering systems www.tradetag.co.uk and www.polo-shirts.co.uk both use sophisticated search technology to ensure customers are able to find and order the products they need – fast.

The Awards will be announced on Monday 3rd March at the NEC Birmingham.

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

2007 February 28

Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisition of Fruit of the Loom and Russell Athletic has really set the cat amongst the pigeons. But who will be the winners, losers in this extremely competitive market.

At US based Sara Lee their Hanes operation was spun off. tha US based hosiery, underwear and major T-shirts suppliers was spun off from its parent company the Sara Lee Corp in September 2006. Since then sales at Hanes Brands have fallen by 6% from $685.2 million to $644.7 million. The company attributed the decline in part to decline in the sales underwear and T-shirts.

At Gildan the Canadian based T-shirt manufacturer sales in their first quarter which ended 31st Dec 2006 amounted to U.S. $185.8 million, up 54.4% on the first quarter of the previous year. The increase in sales was due to the acquisition of Kentucky Derby Hosiery a US based sock producer plus a 15.2% increase in unit sales volumes for activewear. The increase in sales was partially offset by a 4% reduction in selling prices for activewear which includes T-shirts, Polo-shirts and sweatshirts.

Gildan has continued to increase its market share within the US .According to S.T.A.R.S market share data Gildan has 46% market share on T-shirts and 36% market share on Fleece (sweatshirts).

In the UK the battle for market share can be clearly seen. Gildan has increased the number of distributors stocking their items for 2007. Distributor selling prices on Gildan are significantly lower than 2006. It looks like 2007 will be an interesting year.