On the way back from the Great Race in Florida, I had the opportunity to have a longer conversation with CEO of Stahls’ Europe Thomas Karr. Yes we both just finished spending 10 days driving 2100 miles but in separate cars and we really didn’t have much time to talk. One of our favorite topics– the differences between the U.S. and the European heat printing markets. Over the years we have often wondered why some products that are so popular here in the U.S. that just don’t catch on in Europe (and vice-versa). Thomas was explaining that he had many requests to bring t-shirts home from different cities that we visited during the Great Race. Make no mistake about it, there were t-shirt and personalization stores in abundance everywhere along the route–even in the smallest of towns. You can rest assured that the custom t-shirt industry is alive and well along the Eastern seaboard. However Thomas did point out that he didn’t think the styles that were available would be popular back in Germany, Italy or Spain. (Although personally I seem to see a lot of crossover between here and Europe on the whole.) He was concerned that the people who had asked him to purchase shirts may have a different “aesthetic” or style preference or taste. When I pressed for details, he explained that styles in the U.S. had a tendency to be bolder, brighter and a bit flashier. Styles in Europe were for the most part, more subdued. Or understated.
I think this is a fascinating discussion topic and it reminded me of a great blog that I have referenced before, called Uni-Watch, The Obsessive Study of Athletics Aesthetics. Written by Paul Lukas, this blog reviews jersey styles for all types of sports in great depth and offers his opinion on what looks good and what doesn’t. Whether you agree or disagree with Paul, it makes for very interesting reading. And having just had the opportunity to watch the Germany vs. Algeria World Cup FIFA match with Thomas, we also got into a discussion on soccer uniforms. To hear what Paul has to say about the different soccer uniforms currently being worn at the World Cup, click here. I’m going to get Thomas to be more specific about the differences in t-shirt tastes in the U.S. and Europe. But no matter what they looked like, you better believe that Thomas is going home with lots of souvenir t-shirts from the cities of the Great Race. What do you think? What are the biggest differences between T-shirt styles here and in Europe? (Here’s one more blog that shows you some differences in European and American casual wear. )