The Life Cycle of a T-Shirt: Why Premium Blank Apparel is the Best Value

Have you ever wondered what allows premium blank apparel to deliver the best value? Well, it’s all in the details. We reached out to our friends at Next Level Apparel (asi/73867) to find out just what those details are all about. There’s certainly a lot more than meets the eye. The level of detail that goes on behind the scenes is quite impressive!


Our first clue about this supplier’s quality was that NLA has an entire team dedicated to product development. This includes fit, style trends and fabric sourcing which alone sets the pace for “premium” and raises the bar for quality, durability and customer satisfaction (think: repeat business, far less returns and higher profit margins in the long run).

Next Level Apparel clothing


It all starts with NLA’s existing pattern blocks which have been refined to provide the best and most accurate fit. A pattern block contains all the key measurement points to create the T-Shirt silhouette and fit, such as the HPS (high point shoulder) measurement, across chest measurement, sweep, and more. New design concepts utilize the “fit foundation” of the existing block for consistency. Then, the fashion elements are layered on. NLA calls this “fit assurance”.


The variation of patterns, construction process, sewing and sampling are all integral parts of the technical make-up of the final garment style and fit. “A big reason why our products stand out? We pay attention to the technical process on how we create our garments,” stated NLA’s Director of Merchandise and Design, Caius Olowu.

Next Level Apparel clothing


You simply cannot cheat on quality fabric. It’s the cornerstone of premium apparel. Choosing and developing the right fabric for a particular silhouette is critical in achieving an optimal fit. That’s why NLA works directly with their raw material suppliers to engineer fabrics at the prototype level, ensuring the optimal selection of fibers and blends of fibers. NLA then utilizes only the best quality yarns and spinning technologies and employs state-of-art knitting, dyeing and finishing processes to create top-performing fabrics, all with their signature stretch and hand feel. When it comes to cotton, insist on “combed” ring-spun cotton, which has the impurities “spun out” with the color purity and softness left in.


The construction of each garment is key to creating the finalized silhouette. The right construction and sewing details are what creates the perfect fit. NLA’s styles are side-seamed for a better fit and shape retention, wear after wear. If you’re buying tubular T-Shirts, then you’re most likely sacrificing a premium long-lasting fit, which makes it likely to disappoint customers along the way.

Young woman in Next Level Apparel clothing

We’ll leave you with one final thought, then you can decide for yourself. Would your clients rather purchase a T-Shirt that ends up being used as a rag to wash the car after a wear or two or would they prefer to spend a little more and provide end-users with their new favorite tee that just gets better and softer over time?

If a trade or faux-premium T-Shirt doesn’t fit well, retain its shape or feel soft on the first wear, it’s not going to be worn again and it’s not going to be seen (except at the car wash, of course). Overall, the premium blank may cost more upfront, but it’s because it will get worn again and again and be seen continuously, resulting in a cost per impression that’s significantly less.