We know how big the Greek apparel industry is, and that’s why we spend our time creating the most fashionable and functional garments at the wholesale level. The Social Life, a Los Angeles-based custom apparel and lifestyle company, focuses on delivering premium products to the college market. The key to their success has been through staying on top of what’s trending in the sorority market. We sat down with Jody Watkins, the VP of Design at TSL, to talk about all things sorority apparel.
Q: What services does The Social Life offer?
A: Aside from a online retail store with hundreds of ready to ship products, we also provide apparel customization services. From idea generation and design, to screen printing and embroidery, to custom cut and sew – we work hard to ensure the final product exceeds our customer’s expectations!
Q: How important is it for you guys to stay on top of what’s trending in sorority apparel? And what are some of the ways you keep up with the trends?
A: At TSL, we understand that staying in tune with the trends of the sorority atmosphere means to be aware of fashion trends across all college campuses. That’s why we have a Product Coordinator program. That program is made up of fashionable students all across campuses who are trend forecasters. They bring us their ideas of what styles, designs and themes are currently popular. Then, our design team takes that inspiration and blends it with their own knowledge of the fashion industry along with their perfected design skills to create a new product launch. We also test market our designs – in the form of pre-sold campaigns – to see how well the product is on trend before we stock inventory of it for all Panhellenic houses. We were the first in the industry to do this. Since having perfected this method over the past four years, we have become the most on trend brand for sororities. Basically, we make trendy swag with a high design standard that we ourselves would want to wear. That’s the bottom line of what we do! And it’s the main reason why sororities choose us as their preferred brand for custom Greek apparel.
Q: How important is the style of T-shirts to the sorority apparel market?
A: The style of the shirt is just as important, if not more important than the design we print on it. Naturally, if we are going to create a sick design there’s no way we would slap that on a standard thick bargain-brand tee. We care about the entire finalized product. The way the shirt flows should be flattering, the way it holds up in the wash should be lasting, the material it’s made of should be comforting, and on top of that it needs to be stylish. That’s where BELLA+CANVAS comes in. They always provide us and our customers with quality fabrics and colors that other vendors don’t have. Most importantly, their styles are on point. Their latest Fast Fashion garments are exactly what our customers have been looking for and can’t be found by any other vendor in our market. It’s not just our customers who like BELLA+CANVAS garments, my closet is stocked up with everyday tees from them as well!
Q: What are the most popular design trends you are seeing in the sorority apparel space right now?
A: I was in a sorority back in my college days, but I’m not sure who or what dictated the fashion influence that we were required to wear. It was never flattering, and I’m sure it had to do with something involving out-dated traditions. When we design for sororities today, we don’t aim to remove those traditions. Instead, we aim to modernize those elements of sorority heritage with an updated fashion that the current sorority woman would be proud to wear.
This fall, we are seeing three major trends being requested from all campuses. The theme of Wanderlust is a major design category. This involves elements like mountains, cactuses, dreamcatchers, galaxies, desert scenes, and really just anything that reminds you of an “adventure,” because that’s what being in a sorority is – an adventure. Secondly, we’ve seen a large request for simple foil prints. We have an endless library of foil colors and our customers know that we can bring the shine, literally! Lastly, ever since Kanye dropped his popular line of simple graphic tees, we have been seeing an incline of requests for artist/music themed designs like tour merchandise, festival souvenir shirts, vintage album covers, and your dad’s old rock band logos.
Wanderlust graphic on BELLA+CANVAS 3413 in Denim
Foil graphic on BELLA+CANVAS 3880 in Heather Stone
Band-inspired graphic on BELLA+CANVAS 3009 in White
Interested in putting in your own custom order with The Social Life? Do so here!
We also teamed up with the TSL team in the video below to show the trends Jody mentioned in action. Watch it below, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this!