As a retailer with its roots in Geelong, there are plenty of AFL – and Cats – supporters among the 1,400 team members in the Cotton On Group’s North Geelong HQ. And with round one of the 2017 AFL season kicking off this week, the team is excited to see the Cats run onto the field in their new COAR apparel; high-performance wear designed by Cotton On.
The partnership with the football club, which sees the Cotton On Group become the Cats’ official on and off field apparel sponsor, was announced in October 2016.
The company continues to innovate and grow through commercial partnerships and category extensions so it can stay ahead of the curve in a competitive industry. It identified a gap in the market for high-performing, stylish sportswear with an affordable price tag, and so the COAR collection was born.
The fashion retailer is also the first of its kind to partner with an AFL club, and the new collaboration with the Cats is a testament to the innovative and high-functioning design of the product.
A team of specialists worked closely with Cats players to create the range, ensuring the final product represented the latest in elite sportswear but was also reflective of the club’s heritage and playing group. A working group of four key players, alongside other members of the club, was established to review past seasons’ products and determine what the players did and didn’t like. The group was involved through the whole process – from selecting the fit and fabrication in the early stages to the final selection of items.
Innovative technology and fabrications have been integrated in the range to deliver a high-performance product designed for optimal performance whilst ensuring a comfortable, flattering fit. Factors such as moisture-wicking technology, durability and quality were all focuses in the designs, alongside the finer details such as bungee cords, bonded taping around zippers, and water repellant finishes on outerwear.
Plus, in an AFL-first, the playing shorts include a specially-designed “Patty Pocket”- a nod to Patrick Dangerfield, who requested a home for his mouthguard while lining up for goal. From the outset, the aim was to create a range that would meet the players’ needs: whether they were on the field playing or training, or representing the club in media appearances.
The collection was also designed with the wider community in mind, meaning fans have the opportunity to purchase official supporter merchandise including guernseys, polos and training apparel through the Cats Shop at Simonds Stadium, AFL and select sporting goods stores.
This move coincides with the successful first season of the NAB AFL Women’s competition, where the Cotton On Group was extremely proud to be the official apparel partner for all teams through their COAR women’s range.