History of Starter: Vintage Clothing Makes a Comeback
If you’ve ever ventured into a thrift store looking for sports-related vintage clothing, hopefully you'll get lucky and spot a Starter. From the MLB to the NFL, Starter dominated with its unique “satin and knit” jacket.
Beginnings of Starter: Sports Adoption
Starter began in 1971 but didn’t gain any attraction until the MLB licensed the Starter jacket in 1976. Known for its satin material and knit cuffs, other leagues took notice and jumped on the bandwagon. However, after eight years of rejection, the NFL was the last league to license Starter in 1983.
Starter took the opportunity of making the brand authentic by putting their logo behind hats and on the cuffs of jackets. With the popularity of sports mixed in with Starter’s logo all over the apparel, sales soared as fans would get the chance to wear the same clothing as their favorite players.
Starter’s Rise to Fame: Pop Culture Icon
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Starter rose to fame.
The main reason was the Starter jacket, known for its unique style and bold colors. Since sports teams obtained licensing from Starter, these robust colors reflected the team. With the variety of colors and sports logos, Starter was becoming fashionable.
Hip-hop took notice of the Starter jackets and snapbacks. As it grew to become a fashion statement within the hip-hop community, pop culture in general adopted Starter as the “it” trend.
Fall of Starter: Beginnings of Vintage Clothing
Starter began to decline after the company went public in 1993. Sales dwindled as the MLB strike happened in 1994, following an NHL lockout soon after.
The brand name also became a status symbol, resulting in robberies and murder for the apparel. The fear of being targeted resulted in fewer sales.
Growing competition with Nike, Adidas, Reebok, and others reduced Starter’s market share, ultimately sending them to bankruptcy in 1999. Nike bought the company, but was later sold to Iconix. The downfall continued during their partnership with Walmart in the late 2000s / early 2010s.
Starter is still around today, selling on Amazon and its website. At times, there are special-edition sales, but the apparel itself is not what it used to be.
If you’re interested in getting authentic vintage clothing, check out thrift stores and “Look For The Star!”. Whether it’s online or thrifting, various Starter vintage hats and vintage snapbacks are available for purchase.