Blast From the Past

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Keeping Up With The...

Is the industry lag gone? It used to be that our industry was several months behind retail. When a striped polo was all the rage, it took suppliers months to add those items to their line of products. And, in some instances, they missed the wave.

This was the case even as recently as 15-20 years ago. But today, the speed at which the industry can turn a new product is staggering. Sublimated all-over print T-shirts hot in retail? Yeah, we got that too. The new smartphone design is bigger than its predecessor? Give us a second and we’ll have a whole catalog with products that are compatible.

I think the one area where the industry was actually ready and in-line with the times was during the bicentennial celebration back in 1976. Suppliers were smart enough to establish a line of "red, white and blue" products and grab whatever licenses they needed in order to print "official" merchandise. However, the general course of business was an ongoing game of cat and mouse where the supplier tried to replicate the trends and fads of the day before it got away from them.

The good news is that the manufacturing capabilities of today’s suppliers are lightning-quick; prototypes and actual products can be turned around in days. That is a huge advantage for distributors whose clients want to attach their promotions to current trends.

So, enough waiting already – enjoy this offering of products from Februarys past.


We may actually see the reemergence of the logoed rolling paper given that more cities and states have legalized or are considering legalizing marijuana. Smoke ’em if you got ’em. From 1978


Wow, leather-front trucker caps in mesh, corduroy and denim. Ya can’t get more ’80s than that! From 1983


I remember these contraptions that became popular when self-serve gas stations removed a similar device from their pump handles. I also remember them being illegal in some states. From 1980


This one just boggles the mind – Schlitz beer was actually the official beer sponsor of the 1980 Winter Olympics. Schlitz! From 1980


Max, the "robot" is a little creepy, dontcha think? From 1979