Look Out for These School Spiritwear Trends in 2022

Back to school, but not quite back to normal

Kids have never been happier to go back to school. After a long year-and-a-half shutdown for most, school is finally back in session. And so far, back to school in 2021 and 2022 looks a lot better than 2020. Schools are welcoming kids back, sports are being played, fans are in the stands. But one thing is for certain, whether students are going back to in-person classes or a hybrid situation, they still want school spirit gear. Even during the pandemic, students and parents found comfort in wearing school apparel, which helped to keep everyone bonded and together. Never underestimate the power of a printed school T-shirt.

Selling to schools     

As an apparel decorator with a heat press and custom transfers, you can offer schools everything they need for back-to-school, printed T-shirts, caps, sweatshirts, and more. Custom transfers give you the look of screen printing for a fraction of the effort. All you do is order them and heat apply.

It’s not always easy finding the right contact when working with schools. You may want to start by talking to parents in the neighborhood. Find out the contact for the parent-teacher group. Schools are always looking for successful fundraisers, and spiritwear can make money for both you and the organization. Don’t forget the middle and elementary schools. High schools usually have a bookstore where spiritwear is sold but the elementary and middle schools get ignored. Try to find a contact for groups who may need custom apparel.   Groups like student council, choir, band, yearbook, drama, sports teams, and booster clubs each usually have their own contact.

2022 spiritwear trends


Retro is a recurring theme. The question is, what is considered retro these days? You have to look back to the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. In addition to garments with color blocking and stripes, you will find distressed prints and ’70s fonts are very hot.

Tonal tie-dye

Tie-dye has also been a reliable trend for many years, but this year we’re seeing it with a twist. Instead of a rainbow and multiple bright psychedelic colors, things are toned down a bit. It’s called tonal tie-dye. You’ll see orange on orange shirts or grey on black. A tie-dye pattern without all the color. It’s really a fresh way to use tie-dye and it’s perfect for spirit wear.

Texture on fleece

Everyone wants a sweatshirt when the temps drop. Hoodies, half-zips, and sweatpants are all part of back-to-school across the country. This year, people are looking for texture and specialty finishes on their fleece. Puff transfers are back in style again and you can also use textured heat transfer vinyl on fleece. Flock and soft foam heat transfer vinyl are very popular on everything, from sweatshirts to stadium blankets. Another trend on sweatshirts is logo placement down the sleeve.

Printing on bags and other items

If your local schools already have printers providing them with spiritwear, try approaching them with a variety of other items. This could be anything from tote bags to stadium seats or even caps. Not every printer in town has the ability to print promo items. If you can offer promo-type items, you may eventually be asked to handle all their printing.

Remember, sometimes purchasing relationships with schools can take a while to create. Don’t give up. Even if you don’t have any contracts this fall, you can look ahead to winter, spring, and graduation events.


Karin Bellinghausen


Karin Bellinghausen runs marketing and communications at STAHLS’, a manufacturer of garment decoration equipment and materials. Karin has been with STAHLS’ since 1988. She manages web content and helps customers understand how to use group GroupeSTAHL products and services to grow their businesses.

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