While it may seem obvious to many of us who work in and with the school environment, something appears to have eluded many sportswear manufacturers: teens and tweens are not just scaled-down adults, they need kit that meets their specific requirements.
Sports kit typically caters to the average even while many fall outside ‘average’, and particularly when bodies are still growing. Squadkit, the UK’s leading sportswear brand in independent schools, is changing how sportswear is manufactured for a younger market. Here are six areas where teens and tweens differ from adults, and how this difference underpins Squadkit’s entire approach to product development:
1. Rapid growth
Young people grow quickly and unpredictably. There are simply more size variables than there are with adults, and sportswear geared for teens needs to accommodate this.
Stretch fabrics with built-in ‘give’ are able to grow with their wearers and are ideally suited to the teen and tween market – as are different leg lengths for each waist measurement. With a vast database of measurement variables, Squadkit is expert at understanding growing bodies and making sportswear that works for them.
2. Body image worries
As adults, we tend to forget how awkward it can feel being at the mercy of a changing body. Squadkit understands that young people want flattering styles and shapes. Panelling and appropriate tailoring counter amorphous cotton tees that lose shape with one wash. Girls’ fit products are designed to flatter, not highlight. Unisex clothing draws attention away from body difference and towards a sense of belonging.
3. Breast discomfort
There is a rapid and marked decrease in sporting activity for young people when they hit their teens – especially girls. Forty-six per cent of girls cite breast discomfort as the reason for stopping exercise, and yet 50% of girls do not wear a proper sports bra. The Limitless sports bra from Squadkit is helping girls stay active by offering a simple yet effective bra that is easy to put on, comfortable to wear, and – with up to four inches of adjustability – grows with them for up to two years.
Younger people may not sweat more, but they are still learning how to manage it! They need breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics that draw sweat away from the skin, enabling it to evaporate. Sweat also calls for the judicious use of sublimated garments, which, while they look good, have a tendency to hold on to moisture where other fabrics do not. This is particularly relevant in boarding schools and on tours, where a washing machine might not be close to hand.
5. Softer skin
Growing up is a sensitive issue, and not least when it comes to skin. Younger people have softer skin, which asks for fabrics that shield it from the elements and from the falls and scuffs that come with increased activity. For example, base layers made from nylon are three times more abrasion-resistant than polyester, and shell tops shield wearers from cold weather, while keeping skin warm and dry.
6. The loneliest generation
A recent YouGov report has found that three in 10 Millennials say they always or often feel lonely – and that figure is unlikely to change for Generation Z. The notion of elitism that defined the Boomers and Generation X no longer serves in an age of isolation.
We need a sea-change towards an ethos of togetherness and participation. Teamwear for the 1st teams may have its place, but at Squadkit we believe this should never be at the expense of ‘teamwear for all’, which should embody the same levels of quality, care and attention. There will always be those athletes who excel, but every one of us is a winner in our own way.
To find out more about Squadkit, visit: https://www.squadkit.com