2008 September 18

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Stand bookings for the 2009 Workwear & Corporate Clothing Show organised by are gaining momentum. Compared to last September, stand bookings are up by over 60% and 80% more net space has been sold, showing that this area of British manufacture, trade and retail is on the up.

The 2009 show takes place at Birmingham’s NEC in April 2009 and features a fashion show, sponsored by Russell Europe, a conference, and the Business Manger Awards ceremony which will be hosted by Jeff Banks, famous for his fashion and corporate design. Nominations for the awards have just closed and the list of entrants and judges will be announced shortly.

The associated 2009 Conference will address one of the most important issues facing workwear and corporate garment manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and buyers today: sustainability. It starts on 2nd April and will bring together ten inspiring speakers to present on the three key areas of sustainability: environment, social and economy


2008 August 7

Regular readers will notice that over the past few weeks we’ve been giving the www.polo-shirts.co.uk website an update and makeover. We’ve decided on an excellent new look – going from this:

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To this:

 

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But the real reason for our new appearance is that we’ve been working hard to please our customers. Now you’ll find it even easier to locate what you’re looking for and to place your orders with the minimum of fuss. We’d love to hear your comments on our new look!


2008 July 31

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Hitwise has announced that www.polo-shirts.co.uk was a Hitwise Top 10 Award winner for the quarter April – June 2008. 

During this period, www.polo-shirts.co.uk ranked in the top ten based on market share of visits among all United Kingdom websites in the Hitwise Shopping and Classifieds – Wholesale and Relationship Sales industry. The Hitwise Top 10 Award recognises websites from over 160 industries that are leaders in their industry. To learn more about Hitwise and the Top 10 awards visit http://www.hitwise.co.uk/contact-us/top-ten-awards.php


2008 July 29

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The hutongs (alleys to you and me) of Beijing have a new police force – of sorts.  They are called ‘Public Security Volunteers’ and there are more than 400,000 of them – arranged into neighbourhood groups that are serving the Olympic security forces which include a mixture of police, over 100,000 ‘counter-terror troops’ and more than 300,000 CCTV cameras. The PSVs patrol litter-dropping, inappropriate clothing and spitting in the street – but by the locals, not the expected foreign visitors!  Despite the attempt to distinguish the new PSVs from the old ‘neighbourhood committee’ by giving the new volunteers a snazzy red and white striped polo-shirt to wear when ‘on duty’, there’s a lot of concern in the populace – the former committees were a mixture of spies and party members who reported on the irregular activities of their neighbours, and caused many a midnight arrest or disappearance for ‘re-education’.    

The PSV polo-shirts are a big sign of changing China – they are sponsored by the Yanjing beer company, which would have been unthinkable a decade ago, and while every volunteer has been given one, less than half actually wear them. The other half have been put on the black market, still in their original wrappings, as part of the Beijing Olympic memorabilia business. That too, would have been impossible (or an arrestable offence!) a few years ago.  The concern that the new volunteers have caused can be directly related to their entrepreneurial flair. Those who have flogged their polo-shirts still need to distinguish themselves from ordinary citizens … so they’ve dug out Cultural Revolution-era red armbands to wear, and those armbands remind nervous Beijingers of the knock on the door in the middle of the night …

Beijing street cleaners in new uniforms


2008 April 28

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Auctions come and auctions go, but this auction featured a polo shirt that has taken its former owner to the stars. Bidding for the pink polo shirt once owned by NASA astronaut Eileen Collins opened on 1 April at just $10. A week later and more than a day before its auction was set to close, collectors had pushed its price up to $300 and the final winning bid was $520.

“I can’t say it was easy for me to donate such an important part of my past,” Collins said.  She wore the shirt while training for her four space shuttle missions and her career was a glittering one indeed. In 1995 she was the first female U.S. astronaut to pilot a spacecraft and just four years later, she was the first woman to command a space shuttle mission. Most recently, and humblingly, it was Collins who led the shuttle fleet’s 2005 return to flight after the loss of Columbia and its crew in 2003.

This shirt was important to her because Collins has only a few mementos from her time in space. “Astronauts can keep very little. [I have] only the personal items, such as my wedding ring, old toothbrushes, and some shirts!” she said. She donated the shirt, which is embroidered with her name and her astronaut class’ nickname, “The Hairballs,” on its front to be part of an annual auction run by the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF). Founded by the Mercury astronauts in 1984, the ASF supports college students who are excelling in their pursuit of science and engineering degrees to give them the best chance of doing what Collins did – saying The Sky’s The Limit. 

Polo-shirt image courtesy of austronaut scholarship foundation


2008 April 17

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The must-have souvenirs in Washington this week include I love the pope bumper stickers, Property of Benedict XVI T-shirts and mugs emblazoned with the pope’s heavenward gaze, all being snapped up by Roman Catholics who visited the capital ahead of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit. Many hoped that Benedict would bless rosaries and other religious articles at Thursday’s Mass. Merchandise licensed by the archdioceses of Washington and New York will be for sale at Masses and other events and online – some of the proceeds will go to help pay for the pope’s visit, but archdiocese officials say they are not expecting a huge sum. The most popular items from internet sales have been holy cards and polo shirts, which feature Benedict’s personal crest as an archbishop. Also selling well are the Benedict tour T-shirts, listing all the U.S. sites he is visiting, as if it was a concert tour.

And George? Well he’s been the victim of a scam that was nipped in the bud. A pair of Milanese forgers have just been charged with trying to sell a men’s fashion and accessories collection branded as Exclusively GC and designed by George Clooney. While the first response was that this was an April Fool’s Day hoax, police in Milan later found watches and garments that would have gone on sale if the scam hadn’t been stopped. Clooney told reporters in Rome, ‘If someone tries to sell you clothes or watches that are based on me, don’t buy them.’

Pope Benedict courtesy of Beyond Forgetting


2008 February 21

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Butlins are rumoured to be considering a new uniform design. The first Butlins uniform was designed in 1936 and although there have been six distinct design evolutions since then, one constant has remained: the formal red coat. In 2004, rather than turn to celebrity designers, who have in the past included Zandra Rhodes and Jeff Banks, Butlins joined forces with The British Fashion Council to invite fashion students to create a new Redcoat image. The winning uniform was designed by fashion student Barry Jordan, from the University of Northumbria. Now it is said they may be ready to update their look again.

And gossip also has it that Bruce Oldfield may be designing the new Macdonald’s uniform. Oldfield, who is better known for creating dresses for the likes of Princess Diana, Siena Miller and Jerry Hall has said nothing so far, but if this is true it’s a striking new departure for a man usually dedicated to the glamorous side of fashion. The Sunday Times In Style magazine has reportedly seen the new uniforms which will be unveiled later this year.

Lothian and Borders Police paid £120,000 for new logo – but has it been a good investment? The new design will appear on uniforms, vehicles, posters and stationery over the next few months, replacing a crest that focus groups decided was ‘too obscure’. However, many police officers and politicians have said the exercise is a waste of money. The force paid tens of thousands of pounds to consultants who concluded that the public did not recognise their existing logo – a traditional crest bearing a saltire composed of blue and white checks, so it has invested in a logo which carries the words ‘Lothian and Borders Police’, with a curved design intended to combine the concept of protection and the force’s geographical area. A new motto, work with us, will also be adopted. This too has been criticised as sounding ‘desperate’ rather than confident.

Princess Diana photograph courtesy of Floyd Nello


2008 January 31

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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.

CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD

(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.

DISTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR

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.


2008 January 28

nec-pic.jpgThis is the only dedicated trade show for the UK’s garment decoration industry.  Attendance means visitors can view the world’s leading brands available through UK-based distributors, manufacturers and distributors of embroidery machines and accessories, screen printing and digital printing technology and many other techniques for garment decoration. Held between March 2 – 4, Printwear & Promotion 2008 will reveal the very latest garments and promotional products. Exhibits include workwear, schoolwear sportswear, leisurewear promotional clothing and other promotional merchandise along with  new machinery, supplies and techniques in embroidery, transfer, sublimation and screen printing and there will be a comprehensive programme of fashion shows and industry seminars each day.

This year also see the launch of the all-new Printwear & Promotion Awards, a comprehensive awards programme for the decorated garment and promotional products industry.  Bringing together the entire industry in a celebration of the companies, innovations and people that are achieving the highest professional standards and helping to drive this dynamic and rapidly expanding business sector forward, the Awards will be held on Monday 3rd March, the middle night of the event. Visitor Registration is now open at www.printwearandpromotion.co.uk for the premiere event of the year. The NEC, Birmingham, is conveniently located for easy access by road, rail or air.

NEC by ewen and donabel


2007 November 29

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Fashion house Lacoste has just unveiled its latest collection – designed by Michael Young. This is the second of the ‘LACOSTE Holiday’ Collector’s Series, which is a process that the brand uses to get a designer from outside the fashion world to reinterpret its iconic polo shirt (and, not entirely incidentally, to present challenges its production methods).

Michael Young has been amongst the most successful and influential designers of his generation.  You’ve never heard of him?  Well his furniture collection, designed for a Tokyo store was purchased the Design Museum London and was said to have created ‘a new formal language’ in design.

So what has he done for Lacoste – well it’s a polo shirt with a crocodile skin pattern (no surprises there) that travels up the front and around the back of the shirt, but instead of a silk-screen printing process, the heat-activated ink has been applied directly to the cotton and then ‘baked’ causing it to blister and become thick, plastic fake croc skin itself. Lovely.  There is also a limited edition called the PLASTIC POLO +, where the croc skin print has been covered with a metallic leaf film and pressed with a hot iron, giving a distressed, vintage look and feel.  The collection is packaged in a re-sealable metallic black plastic tray that can be re-used as a serving platter!

And if that isn’t to your taste, the hot colours for polos in the Christmas run up are said to be dark grey, lime green and pink!

Lacoste fashion show photograph by ksquare, used under a creative commons attribution licence.