Monthly Archives: January 2015

League Staffers Head to San Diego for Next Week’s ICBA 2015

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Three of our staff drew short straws and are now being forced to leave the home office here in Pennsylvania — where the temperatures today are hovering in the mid-20s — to attend the Independent College Bookstore Association (ICBA) Conference in San Diego, where the temperatures today are in the low-70s. Once there, our weary travelers will be hard at work showing off League’s fall 2015 line of Ivy League-inspired collegiate apparel to an amazing group of buyers representing independent college bookstores from across the country.

ICBA is the only professional cooperative dedicated exclusively to institutional stores — those independent accounts that include colleges and universities that run their own campus bookstores.

Representing League at this four-day event will be co-owner Larry Klebanoff, along with Robert Knowles, our in-house salesman, and Kristin Ippolito, a member of our account management team.

What we’ll be doing from Sunday through next Wednesday is set up our trade show booth within the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, and then host one-on-one meetings with buyers.

It’s an intense setup that’s akin to speed dating. We’ll be meeting with 50 schools over the four-day period — each for the allotted 20-minute time period. With that limited amount of time, we don’t even have the luxury of writing orders. All we can do — and happily so because it’s just what the buyers need — is present the pieces of our line that we think will create the most demand, and then follow up after the conference.

We’ve always walked away successful from this, our fifth appearance at ICBA — and our product line for the buying season ahead should prove to be just as trend-right as are the buyers we’ll be meeting with.

If you’re attending this trade-only event and want to say hello, League is setting up shop in room 410 (fair warning though… with our schedule packed with 50 prescheduled meetings, we may not be easy to connect with during show hours).

League’s Latest News

Editor’s Note: Welcome to the inside scoop on happenings here at League. We’re going to tell you about new employees, promotions, and let you know what our team members are doing.

New Faces at League

Diane Vittorio  joins us as our Director of Administration for Design and Development. With more than 20 years of experience in product development and line creation in the fashion industry, we fully expect Diane will successfully help us streamline and stay on track as we continue to grow.

Kelly Morgan recently joined our Art Team, arriving with a graphic design degree from Philadelphia University. And just how much do we love Philly U grads? Here’s a hint: Most of our Design & Development team are Philadelphia University alums. Go Rams!

Ben Harvey has left the production floor to join the Art Team. Ben is a talented illustrator and designer who holds a degree from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Veronica Campbell, another Art Institute of Philadelphia grad, is also joining the art team this month.

A new school semester brought new members to our Foot Patrol Visual Merchandising team. We would like to welcome Cassie Nelson from the University of Wisconsin, Jessica Marshall from William and Mary, and Hope MacMahon from The University of Pennsylvania. Thank you all in advance for all of your help this semester.

News

Last month, John Jeanguenat from SMA Licensing (now Learfield) visited League’s home office to award us with the SMA Rising Star Award for 2014. We’re sharing the spotlight with the likes of Nike, Jansport, Champion and UnderArmour. Congrats, team.

Claire Black, a member of our Design & Development team, is pregnant with her first child, which is due in March. Congratulations to Claire and her husband Greg.

Lauren Brown, also of Design & Development team, along with her husband Bill just welcomed their first child. League would like to welcome Mabel Brown — all 6-pounds, 14-ounces of her — to the extended League family!

Anniversaries

This year, two of our most integral team members are celebrating 20 years with League. Alison Manley, our Vice President of Business and Technology, and Larry McLaughlin, League’s Purchasing Manager, both received custom pennants at our annual holiday party to commemorate their commitment to League. We wouldn’t be the company we are today without them.

News From Our Partners at OneCoast

League works with the OneCoast sales team to represent our company and clothing at bookstores across the country. During the holidays, Onecoast transitioned in two new representatives that will help put League’s best foot forward. So please welcome Cari Callahan representing our Northwest territory, and Susan Kirtland, who will cover our Upstate New York and Vermont territory.

Trade Shows

This month, it’s all hands on deck to prep for several upcoming trade shows. League will be at ICBA 2015 in San Diego from Feb. 8-11; Camex 2015 in Atlanta from Feb. 20-24; and B&N in Orlando from March 23-27.

Personal News

We welcomed Rob Irwin, one of our lead artists, back to League this month after a short hiatus over the holiday season. Rob and his wife Kristy welcomed their first child — a baby girl named Everly Elizabeth — in December. Everly came a bit earlier than doctors had anticipated, but she is a tough little cookie who continues to grow stronger every day.

Bill Frederick, one of our lead appliqué department team members, “put a ring on it” over the holidays and is looking forward to an August wedding. Congrats, Bill.

League artist Stephanie Price recently celebrated one year of publishing an independent art magazine. Congratulations to this fine artist and her publication Numinous! To see back issues or submit work, visit Numinous on Facebook.

Justyn Wazynski of our IT Systems & Support department conquered Mt. Algonquin in Lake Placid in November. He experienced temperatures of minus 3 degrees and 40-mile-per-hour winds at the summit. (Justyn: Just so you’re aware… there are those among us who don’t consider that a relaxing vacation.)

Artist Jillian Skovran is training to run in the Disney Princess Half-Marathon next month. And even though she’ll be competing in Florida, we’ll be rooting for her here in Pennsylvania.

And finally, this year we have 13 participants in our annual “Biggest Loser” competition. With code names akin to Fantasy Football team names, each participant submits a weekly weigh-in to compete for a top cash prize in March. They’re on Week Two and have already lost a combined 33 pounds. Nice start!

 

Behind The Design: How League Makes That Tee

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You know that your favorite League shirt is soft and comfortable, but have you ever wondered about the process behind the scenes? Here’s how we do it.

Design & Development Process at League

As with any product, great design starts with research.  The Design and Development team here at League begin their research at least a year before the finished Tee reaches the stores.   

So what is the design team researching?

  • Shop the Market which includes malls, upscale stores in NYC and Philadelphia, as well as shopping online.
  • Track Trends specific for the fashion industry that spots worldwide trends in yarns, fabrics, colors, silhouettes, fit.
  • Meet with Fabric Mills regarding new fabrics in the market that their textile designers and engineers have developed.
  • VisitCollege Campuses to see what the college student body is wearing and how these items translate into great League collegiate clothing.

The team looks for new yarns and fabrics, new silhouettes, and the latest graphic styles that fit into the League look. We want to stay true to our design sense and the collegiate look as our benchmark, but also be on target in regards to fashion. D&D is looking for items that they love in fashion that haven’t transitioned to the bookstore yet

Our design process is always focused on staying contemporary and ahead of the curve with a classic collegiate look. Our design process is NOT focused on being trendy. 

Fabrics

League wants yarns that are comfy, luxurious, look good, stretch well AND hold their shape well. It’s all about the feel and the softness of the fabric, as well as how it wears. The architecture of a tee starts with the fabric.

League is always looking for new fabrics to use. D&D works with fabric mills in Central America to identify the new fabrics and figure out how it plays into our collegiate style. We work with a rotation of about 4-5 mills and our staff at LCA helps with the fabric approval process. Not only do we work with salespeople, but we’re working with engineers at the mills to develop a cool new fabric that represents League. We spend months developing fabric (which is pretty much the industry standard) and there can be a lot of dead ends. It’s truly an international industry and can take a lot of time to develop and ship samples from mills around the globe. We work mostly with mills in Central America as mentioned before, but those mills order yarn from other countries. It’s a lot of shipping and time!

Design

When D&D is designing a garment, they want it to feel great and look great, and fit great!

Based on the completed research, a design sketch is created in the League Development system. This sketch is expanded into a tech pack which details  how each garment should be constructed, including style details and drape, the fit (measurements), and other pertinent details.

This information is sent to  another in-house D&D team at LCA. That team is comprised of pattern makers, seamstresses, and textile engineers. From this information, a pattern is created, a garment is sewn and a sample is sent to the D&D team for review.

Inspiration

Here are some quotes from the design team about their inspiration.

“We want to be more than a game day tee.” —Claire Black

“When you feel good about what they’re wearing, you feel good about yourself. We want our customers to love what they are wearing, feel great and on trend.” —Diane Vittorio

“We look at graphic trends; college logos are the way that [bookstores] sell their products. We are always looking for a new way to sell a classic garment.” —Diane Vittorio

Classic Ivy-League styling with a contemporary flare

The L900 in particular: “It’s all about the fabric, finished with a great fit, and on top of that, the quality of our prints is incomparable.” Diane Vittorio

“We feel once you put on a League L900, you’re going to love the way it feels, the way it looks, and the way you look in it.” Diane Vittorio