Vernon, CA—August 20, 2018—On October 1, 2018, Expert Brand Apparel celebrates its 25th anniversary. What began as a simple request to turn the performance fabrics the company was making into actual garments has launched a robust apparel company that serves the promotional products market as well as the health and fitness industry.
A Historical Perspective
In 1993, Expert Brand Apparel exclusively designed, developed and manufactured performance fabrics. That is until two of its larger customers asked if it was possible to also sew performance T-shirts so they could respond to last minute orders from retailers. Company founders Sion, Albert and Hersel Shaman said “yes,” and the garment manufacturing side of the business was launched.
“We decided we wanted to make a better shirt, an EXtra PERformance T-shirt. Thus EXPERT,” said Sion Shaman, president. “We also wanted to contribute to the active lifestyle market where people could get engaged in physical activities and live a better and healthier life.”
In the beginning, there were four employees, two apparel styles and less than 100,000 garments made annually. Today, more than 100 employees produce 200 apparel styles with millions made each year.
The customer base has also grown from a handful of firms to more than 800 companies, including promotional products distributors and apparel decorators on the wholesale side and gyms, yoga studios, marathons, sporting goods retailers and many more on the B2B retail side.
As an innovator in design and development of smart fabric technologies, Expert Brand currently offers 16 types of performance fabrics—from natural and soft with functional features to cutting-edge, high-tech high-performance options. (See the entire fabric selection at the Expert Brand website.)
But which comes first: Fabric composition or garment design? “We usually start with the end product in mind,” explained Shaman. “We look at what attributes the product should have from moisture wicking and UV protection to hand feel and drape. We not only look at the properties of the fibers but also the latest trends in the athleisure and active lifestyle markets and design accordingly based on the bodies and silhouettes.”
1993: Expert Brand Apparel was founded
1998: Debuted the complete line of Made-In-USA performance apparel
2000: Collaborated with fiber and yarn producers to design a new garment series featuring permanent moisture wicking technologies
2001: Launched a collection of antimicrobial finish garments
2005: Developed a line of performance garments for the branded apparel and promotional products markets
2006: Created a series of performance base layers, including oXyMesh, for the running industry
2007: Provided Expert Performance T-Shirts to more than 200 races and marathons
2010: Debuted a collection of yoga wear and athleisure products
2014: Became one of the largest suppliers to the U.S. Army
2015: Introduced the Siro and PT collections made from performance microfiber polyester that feels like cotton
2017: Became a major supplier to the U.S. Marines; Provided Expert Performance T-Shirts to more than 400 races and marathons
2018: Awarded the performance apparel license for the U.S. Army and Marines
While the rush and intensity of the business is similar to 1993, much has changed throughout the years.
“There is much more interest and need for products that are Made-In-USA,” Shaman said. “Technology has also played an important role, from design and manufacturing to customer service and shipping. E-commerce is a driving force for the apparel sales of the future.”
Business cycles have also shortened, and to be successful, you must respond to market needs much quicker—including the demand for higher performance fabrics. “In 1993, most people didn't know what moisture wicking meant,” Shaman said. “Today, there are so many more fabrics and contents that simply did not exist 25 years ago. There’s also talk in many arenas about smart fabric and wearable technologies; products that can interact with human bodies and the environment. Nevertheless, the product must be trendy and fashionable. Thus, fashion, function and fit. We can’t wait to see what the next 25 years brings. The future is going to be exciting.”
About Expert Brand Apparel
Founded in 1993, Expert Brand Apparel designs and manufacturers performance apparel—from fabric construction all the way to finished garment production—that is Made-In-USA. Based in Vernon, CA, the company’s 100-plus employees operate out of three factories that produce 200 apparel styles with millions of garments made each year.
The company not only wholesales through promotional products distributors and apparel decorators but also has partnerships with gyms, yoga studios, marathons, sporting goods retailers and many more. It is also a licensed supplier for the U.S. Army and Marines.
An innovator in fashionable, functional apparel, Expert Brand currently holds six registered trademarks on its fabrics, including Siro, American MoCA, Tritec, pk maX, AirStretch and the best-selling oXymesh.
For more information, visit the Expert Brand website.