At some point over the winter — I think around December or maybe early January — an increasing number of readers started sending me Ticker submissions in the form of links to a Twitter feed called @Uniformswag, which I’d never heard of before. Upon further investigation, it became clear that @Uniformswag was posting photos of new uniforms — mostly from college football and other college sports — at a tremendous velocity. This being Twitter, there was no room for commentary or analysis, but the general tone seemed to be “Here’s the new [whatever] being worn by [whomever] — it’s great!” That’s not my favorite approach to uniforms (or to anything), but the sheer volume of stuff was impressive. Whoever was behind the feed, he or she clearly had access to good information and was seriously devoted to sharing it. And from what I could tell, everything on the feed was legit — no rumor-mongering, no nonsense.
Also impressive: @Uniformswag’s number of followers, which appeared to be growing by leaps and bounds each day. Quantity isn’t necessarily a barometer of quality, of course, but still — a lot of people were paying attention. And I’m always in favor of people paying attention to the uni-verse.
I recently got in touch with the guy behind @Uniformswag — he simply goes by the name Skye — and suggested that we do an e-mail interview. He readily agreed. Here we go:
Uni Watch: You’ve already told me that you prefer to be known simply as “Skye of Uniformswag.” If you’re willing, however, can you please tell me how old you are, where you live, and what you do for a living?
Skye: I am 23 years old; I recently have moved to Nashville from Virginia.
UW: When did you launch the @Uniformswag account on Twitter?
Skye: I launched Uniformswag in October of 2012, thanks to some encouragement from my friends.
UW: If I’m not mistaken, you don’t have a web site or a blog or anything like that — just the Twitter feed. Is that right?
Skye: Right now there’s just Twitter, Instagram, and a Lockerdome page. There are a couple things in the works to help take Uniform Swag to the next level, however.
UW: You have over 44,000 followers [and probably plenty more after this interview runs], which is a lot, especially for an account that was only launched back in October. Are you surprised by how popular your feed is?
Skye: Yes, it is awesome watching the amount of followers grow every day. Since it has taken off, I have reached a record of 1,200 new followers in one day. All of my followers are true fans of the gear sports teams wear, and it is really fun being able to reach out and share the uniforms with them.
UW: There’s also a Twitter account called @Uniform_Swag. Is that connected to you, or is that a copycat account?
Skye: There have been a few copycats that are trying to use my name to create their own accounts. I thought long and hard about the name and think others would feel more pride in their accounts if they did the same, rather than trying to mimic someone else’s creativity. Uniform Swag is the definition of how I feel about the wonderful world of uniforms.
UW: Which sport(s) do you care most about? For the sports you don’t really care about, do you post things about those sports anyway, or do you just not bother because you’re not that interested?
Skye: I am definitely a football guy. I have played football since I was five years old, all the way through college. I try to include all sports, but some sports just make it so easy, like college football and lacrosse. The college football uniform arena is amazing. For many of my followers who have been with me since football season last fall, they have seen some of my best work, from contests to themes. We have really had a lot of fun and this coming season promises to be just as exciting.
I am happy to post any great swag from any sport. We all know the main sports and cannot get enough of them, but I know there are so many athletes out there who are proud of their team’s swag. I have even posted high school swag that players proudly send to me. I have posted content from motocross to volleyball.
UW: You seem to get a lot of early scoops regarding new helmet designs, new gear, etc. Do you work in the industry, or are you good at scouring Twitter to find photos as soon as they’re posted, or have you made a lot of contacts via your Twitter feed, or what? Tell us as much as you can about the connections you’ve made in the uniform world.
Skye: When I first started, it was just searching the web and Twitter, trying to find the latest uniforms (which I did even before I had the Twitter account). Once the account started growing, I was able to make a lot of great connections with companies in a lot of different industries that have an impact on the uniforms. I also have connected with equipment managers on a lot of different teams in a variety of sports. I enjoy making the contacts in the industry, so many teams and companies have reached out to me directly and offered exclusive and early information. It is a wonderful feeling when you gain the attention and acknowledgement of key people in such an exciting industry.
UW: Roughly how many times a day do you tweet? Do you try to make sure you tweet at least a certain number of times per day?
Skye: I normally don’t have a quota on how many times I should tweet a day. I just make sure I am on top of all the latest uniform news and get it out to my followers as soon as I can. Of course, different seasons in the year have a lot more going on, so it really depends on what is being released.
UW: What happens if you travel or go on vacation? Do you keep tweeting? Do you worry about missing out on some new uni news?
Skye: I am always checking my phone for new tweets, e-mails, or texts about new uniforms, even when on vacation. If for some reason I haven’t seen a new uniform that was released recently, my followers are great about bringing it to my attention and making sure I don’t miss anything. I feel very fortunate that my followers seem to be having as much fun wit this as I am.
UW: There are so many uniform unveilings now, plus lots of prototypes, fan concepts, etc. Does it ever feel overwhelming? Or does it just make things more exciting for you?
Skye: It never is overwhelming; I truly enjoy all the new uniforms that are being unveiled in sports. I feel like a kid on Christmas every time a team puts out a new uniform and I cannot wait to put it out to my followers and see their reactions.
UW: How did you first get into uniforms? Like, has it always been an obsession of yours, or is it something more recent? Details, please!
Skye: I really started to get uniforms in high school. My varsity coach got our team the same style uniforms as Oregon was wearing, but in two-tone blue. It did not look as good. Also, my lacrosse coach offered us a lot of swag that we proudly sported. Once I got to college, I was always checking out the latest jersey Oregon had just come out with and the latest trends that were hitting the football field. When my teammates and I football games, they’d say I would pay more attention to the uniforms than to the game.
UW: Do you have a big collection of jerseys, caps, etc.? If so, have you gotten a lot of freebies via your various connections, or do you pay cash money like everyone else?
Skye: When I was younger I was a big collector of hats, but lately I have started to collect more unique uniform swag. I have paid for some of my stuff but a lot of teams and equipment managers have started to send stuff over and I am very thankful for that.
UW: Do you care about vintage uniforms, old designs, and so forth? Or do you only care about new stuff?
Skye: I am definitely a new-school guy when it comes to uniforms, but I have a lot of respect for the classics. My two favorite teams are Oregon and Penn State. They are on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to uniforms. So I can enjoy a classic uniform, but I definitely look forward to seeing the new designs the companies and teams come up with.
UW: Nike: Really awesome, really awful, or somewhere in between?
Skye: Of course Nike is really awesome, but I am not prejudiced like some people. I think all the different brands have their strengths and weaknesses. It is really cool to see the Big Three (Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour) all compete to have the best product out, and it certainly keep the uniforms growing and pushing the limits.
UW: Would you say @Uniformswag has changed your life? Or is it just another hobby?
Skye: It has definitely helped me make some great connections and is a lot of fun. I am really excited about where it will take me.
UW: What’s your goal with @Uniformswag? Like, do you want to get a job at a sportswear company? Do you want to write about uniforms? Or are you happy just having a popular Twitter feed?
Skye: All the above, if Uniform Swag can open doors for me in the sportswear or sports journalism worlds, that would be amazing and I’d be extremely excited about it. But if it is just a popular Twitter feed, I am happy doing something I enjoy. There are some plans for potential growth and interesting partnerships in the future, so we will see.
UW: You’ve told me that you read my web site. My sense of things is that you and I have very different tastes regarding uniforms, different tastes regarding uniform companies, and so on. Do you ever read my stuff and just shake your head?
Skye: I do agree that we do have different tastes, but I think everyone is entitled to their own taste in uniforms. There’s a uniform out there for everyone.
Radio reminder: If you read this before 9:15am eastern, you can hear me talking about the new Dolphins logo on WAXY 790 in Miami. This is the interview that was originally slated for Tuesday but then got rescheduled for today.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Just in case you’d forgotten, the NBA is still trying to sneak ads onto uniforms. If you read that piece, the clear takeaway is that the only thing preventing uni ads is that the owners are too greedy to have come up with an equitable way to divvy up the loot. I tell you what, I’d love to attend an NBA Board of Govs meeting, if only so I could drop a few C-notes on the floor and watch the owners scurry like rats to scoop them up. … It’s now clear that the Cardinals have created a real mess for themselves regarding their road caps (from Kyle Sawyer). … New G.I. Joe helmet for Virginia Tech. Well, at least it gives me an excuse to invoke my favorite adjective, “autumnal.” … Here’s what a bunch of Nike-sponsored golfers will be wearing for each round of the Masters (from Dave Wilson). … Yesterday I received an e-mail promoting MLB’s official caskets, urns, and other memorial-based products. Classy. … Yesterday I asked if this might be the new Adidas template for 2013 sideline gear. Apparently it is (from Jeff Cox). … What would happen if you took a bunch of MLB team logos and swapped out the typography for some really lousy fonts? This (from Ron Wade). … This article about Jackie Bradley Jr. includes a quote from him about his JrOB: “My dad will probably come up here, probably come up to the press box and say ”˜Well, I’m Jackie Bradley, too, give me a jersey. He always used to tell me when I was younger, ”˜You better put Jr. [on the jersey], because I’m not going to jail for you if you get in trouble’” (from Brian Mazmanian). … The Penguins are mothballing their blue throwbacks. There’s a funny rant about this at the bottom of this page (from Chris Weber). … This is odd: Jose Reyes appears to have some shoes with both the Nike and Under Armour logos (good spot by Tim Feren). … The bad news: The Brewers made a really lame Harlem Shake video. The good news: An old-school Brewers helmet buggy appears at the 0:17 mark, so they apparently have one on the premises at Miller Park (from Deb Reiser). … In case you didn’t already know, here’s a piece on the origins of all 30 MLB team names (from Kevin Wright). … Who’s that in the Steelers cap and what appears to be a basketball jersey? None other than a young Johnny Rotten (from Skott Daltonic). … New logo for Georgia Regents University. Further info and a style sheet here. “Talk about drab, lifeless and horribly designed,” says Preston Feiler. … Let no gruesome injury go unmerchandized: In response to Kevin Ware’s broken leg, Adidas has provided Louisville with this travel shirt and this warm-up shirt — the latter of which, of course, is for sale. Seriously, how do these people look in the mirror? … Dave Bloomquist designed a fun Super Bowl infographic. … The Orioles appear to have changed their batting helmet numbers from orange-outlined to solid orange (god spot by Paul Gaiser). … When Giants manager Bruce Bochy played college ball at Brevard Community College in Florida, he wore this unusual jersey design. “It hangs in the lobby of the athletic department,” says Jim Grimes. … This is totally awesome: sheet music for songs about baseball, with really sensational cover art (big thanks to Lee S.). … Roasted bear: Cubbie skipper Dale Sveum wears a heated vest under his jersey (from Benjamin Gordon). … Paul Konerko is apparently quite the ladies’ man (from Brady Phelps). … “There’s nothing better than Opening Day,” says Phil. “But there’s something just so so un-American about this.” … The Lakers plan to fix Shaq’s backwards retired jersey (from Brian Waltz). … “The members of the Drexel wrestling team wore their singlets to the WNIT semifinal game between Drexel and Florida,” says Gerry Dincher. “I wrestled in high school and keep track of collegiate and high school wrestling, and this is the first time in 30 years of being involved with the sport that I’ve see singlets worn for something other than an official match. We don’t even wear them to practice.” ”¦ Chilly conditions last night in New York, which prompted some unusual preparations by some of the Yankees (from Anthony Juliano). ”¦ The Lake Erie Monsters will wear autism-awareness jerseys on April 13 (from Tom Pachuta). ”¦ As you may have heard, the Connecticut State Senate passed new gun control legislation yesterday. Many of the senators wore green ribbons during the floor debate, for the victims of the Newtown massacre (from Gregory Koch). ”¦ The Nats’ TV station was caught using old stock footage of the Washington Monument during a game broadcast. “Sloppy, but typical of the channel that is primarily owned by the Baltimore Orioles,” says a nonplussed William Yurasko. ”¦ Just a few short years ago, MLB base coaches didn’t wear helmets and players didn’t wear those skullcap thingies. Take those two elements, mix in a cold night in Cincinnati, and you have Angels first base coach Alfredo Griffin from last night (screen shot by Michael Kinney). ”¦ The Newtown memorial patch was supposed to be just for Opening Day, but Mike Morse of the Mariners was still wearing it yesterday (from Rick Rutherford). ”¦ Earlier in the week I mentioned that NBA refs might be adding some sort of memorial for former ref Greg Willard, who died a few days ago. Sure enough, they’ve added a “57” sleeve patch (from Brett Crane). ”¦ “I’m not sure why, but I expected better taste in headwear from Colts QB Andrew Luck at last night’s San Jose Sharks game,” says Sean Robbins. ”¦ New logo for the Ohio South Youth Soccer Association (from Brandon Ponchak). ”¦ The Montgomery Biscuits, who had already announced a new home cap, also have a new home jersey (from Shane, who didn’t give his last name). ”¦ “I coach a Connie Mack baseball team in Southern California called the Arroyo Seco Saints,” says Tommy Stafford. “Our field is located next to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. We’re honoring our 10th season with a celebratory logo I designed.” ”¦ Want to protect your spikes from concrete, and/or protect the floor from your spikes? Try this slipper-like product. “I don’t know, I just always took my cleats off and put on sneakers or something after a game,” says Stan Olechowski. ”¦ Yesterday I Ticker-linked to a story that said the Indians were using the block-C logo on all their helmets this season because of a new rule that limited MLB temas to one batting helmet design this season. That sounded fishy, so I ran it past A’s equipment manager Steve Vucinich, who said it was news to him. Hmmmm.