Few years ago, my wife was surprised to see me watch an Indian Premiere League (IPL) cricket match. She stopped to see if I was checking out the cheerleaders or if I suddenly found interest in cricket. Looking at that priceless face, I said, “well, I’m just checking the team and fan jerseys”. She was happy because that’s me!
I don’t follow the sport of cricket but living in a cricket crazy nation, I cannot ignore everything. Even in the tennis club, people talk about the previous night’s game and give their insights. Its like giving kids mixed vegetable fried rice especially, when they don’t eat their veggies! Personally, I feel that IPL is great for India because the glory, fame and livelihood are no longer restricted to 11 that appear on TV but much more than that.
10 years ago, my hobby to design t-shirts became a profession. I was getting paid for what I always loved to do. I don’t consider myself as a fashion designer because I have never followed fashion. All our products are an emotional extension of my inner self. It represents art. And branding for my clients had to be tasteful. So, when the IPL teams were announced, I was very much drawn into their world of team logos, branding, jerseys and other merchandise. I started to observe “cricket”.
During the first edition of the IPL, I observed that barring one or two teams, most of the team jerseys were not up to the mark. It seemed like the sponsors and players (names and numbers) were added in the last minute by using stickers on the t-shirt. Yes, they must have used the heat transfers or other such medium to transfer/print the logo on the t-shirts, but it was squares and rectangles. To me, it appeared like those street corner walls or Electricity Board boxes, where the local advertisers have stuck their posters. Today, after almost a decade, the team and fan jerseys are far better. They have evolved to be fashionable. It is a sign that promotional merchandisers are evolving. Clients are evolving and the future is only brighter.