During the late 80s and early 90s, Starter was a popular brand. They had a lot of success producing high-end baseball jackets, as well as other products, such as hats, casual wear, and accessories. The company also had licensing agreements with major sports leagues, such as the NBA, MLB, and NHL. These licenses were the start of a lucrative business venture that later morphed into a full-blown clothing company, Starter Sports apparel.
The start of the company actually began in 1971 when David Beckerman, a former college soccer player, noticed a lack of “flare” in sports clothing. He decided to start his own clothing company. Initially, Starter sold baseball jackets, but they soon expanded into a full line of licensed apparel. This included baseball warmup shirts, hats, and gloves.
Starter later expanded its lines to include activewear, casual wear, and accessories. These products were also worn by celebrities and other high-profile sports figures. Several of these products became very popular, such as the Starter logoed jacket.
As time went on, the company began to decline financially. By the late 90s, Starter had accumulated $120 million in debt. The company also saw a drop in sales due to the NHL lockout in 1994 and the sport’s strike in 1995. In addition, the company suffered from violence against teens, which made their products less desirable. In 2007, the company was sold to Iconix. They revived the Starter brand by cashing in on nostalgia. While Starter still produces high-end apparel and accessories, their products are not as popular as they once were. Starter also has a website where you can find a range of their products.
The company’s best-selling product in the late 80s and early 90s was their Starter jacket. The company’s jacket was known for its bold colors and unique style. The company also designed a “breakaway” jacket, a jacket that resembled a parka. The jacket was a big hit in the fashion and hip-hop communities. Some famous athletes and celebrities wore Starter jackets, including Eddie Murphy, Joe Montana, and DJ Jazzy Jeff. The company also made parkas for NFL coaches.
Another famous Starter item was the “S and Star” logo, which was placed on the back of baseball caps. In fact, Starter’s logo was on the front, back, and cuffs of the jacket. The company was even known for its knit cuffs.
Starter Sports best invention has to be the “Starter” hat, a simple baseball cap with the Starter logo embroidered on the front. It was also the first company to make a leather strapback.
In 1992, Starter was offered a deal by Nike. Eventually, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in April 1993. Its sales more than doubled in 1990 to $124.6 million. However, Starter’s fortunes waned when the company went into bankruptcy in 1999. In 2007, Starter was sold to Iconix, who revived the brand by cashing in on nostalgia. The company is currently part of Walmart’s Look for the Star line.
Personally, we’re fans of the vintage Starter Hats and we’d encourage you to check out this handy youtube video before buying one to make sure you’re getting the real thing!
If you’re interested in others Hats from the 90s, feel free to read our other articles which covers everything from Starter Hats right through to Bucket and Stussy hats!