Aren't T-Shirts Just a Commodity?  Custom Apparel - Insights from Color Tech

Aren't T-Shirts Just a Commodity? Custom Apparel - Insights from Color Tech

Aren't T-Shirts Just a Commodity?

A commodity is a product or service where you can’t tell the difference between one supplier and another. Examples of include grain, orange juice, electricity, oil, or even precious metals like gold and silver. You might even think of something like concrete as being a commodity. Yet in every case, if we look closer, each of these commodities has different quality grades and distinguishing factors that make them unique.

And so it is with t-shirts. T-shirt programs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. While everyone is familiar with printed t-shirts, most people are completely unfamiliar with the wide range of options available.

The options are truly endless. Here are but a few of the things you must consider. Styling options that include short sleeve, long sleeve, crew neck, tank top, henley, and polo. Sizing that accommodates men, women, and children. Fabrics designed for fashion, utility, uniform, athletic, sport, or high-performance.

There are dozens, perhaps hundreds of colors available. You can choose from jersey, interlock, rib, baby rib, or pique style knits. The yarn being knitted comes in ring spun, open end, combed, and carded varieties, and you have to consider the thread thickness and fabric weight.

Fabric content ranges from 100% cotton to 100% polyester with a complete range of combinations and additional materials like rayon and acrylic to choose from. You can even get fabrics made from bamboo, hemp, and recycled soda bottles.

We could go on and on. The point is: t-shirts are ANYTHING but a commodity.

Successful t-shirt programs begin by understanding how the shirts are going to be used, how long you want them to last, and whether they’re going to function as a utility item or as branding and marketing media.

Novice t-shirt buyers often assume their t-shirts will be the most inexpensive utility item they can find. Their simple lack of knowledge almost guarantees a poor result and disappointing outcome.


In my next newsletter I will discuss Apparel Selection Strategies. Choosing the right styles, materials, and fits to align with your brand identity and target audience preferences.


Best regards,

Darryl Garcia

Brand Identity Specialist/ Owner

Color Tech - 831.235.5525 


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