Show me any man who grew up in the 90’s that didn’t want a Starter Jacket and I’ll show you a liar. I’ll wager dollars to donuts that if you’re a male reading this and you didn’t have a Starter jacket, then at the very least your best friend did.
Starter Jackets were so popular that the jacket itself transcended the team logo that was on it. Your priority, first and foremost, was the pullover coat with the Starter logo, and THEN you could worry about the team you were supporting. I had a Georgetown Hoyas jacket. Not once did I see a Hoyas game. But it didn’t matter. I was part of the Starter brotherhood.
It all began when Starter won the contract to create the parkas worn by NFL coaches on the sidelines for every game. It was a hit.
Sales were at $58 million in 1989 and by 1990 had doubled to $124 million.
They expanded to 25 countries, and, with the help of a successful campaign featuring stars such as DJ Jazzy Jeff, they doubled their profits yet again within two years.
The oversaturated sports apparel market began to minimize sales in early 1994 and Starter shifted into new markets such as the NHL and focused more on youth apparel.
While Starter is still a well recognized brand in the world of sports, it’s no longer the behemoth it once was in the early 90’s.
Every once in a while, when the weather starts to get cold, I’ll see someone wearing an old Starter jacket and have flashbacks to the glory days when they were seemingly worn by every other person you’d encounter.
I smile fondly, and say quietly to myself: “wow…that jacket probably hasn’t been washed in 25 years.”