Does Anyone Else “get” Rebel Designs?

Discussion in 'Allstar Cheerleading' started by Sterling von Shimmer, Oct 2, 2019.

  1. Sterling von Shimmer

    Sterling von Shimmer Somewhere... some one.... is giving me a slow clap

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    To their credit, I like a lot of what they do. Some of their designs are gorgeous. And I think their marketing decisions have been pretty savvy: unapologetically incorporating all things sparkly and glitzy and lacy into their unis — elements that had previously been considered impractical for cheerleading — really set them apart from the no-nonsense Varsity uniforms. (To be fair, Varsity kind of flirted with those AS design elements first, but I think Rebel really ran with it and reinvented what a cheer uni could be. Five years ago I would’ve laughed at the idea of lace fabric in a uni. Now I see it all the time and don’t give it a second thought.) So I understand where they’re coming from and I think it’s worked for them.

    But then there are the Rebel designs that are completely insane: The rompers with the big plastic jewels. The top with the bits of mirrored glass sewn into the sleeves. The ankle-length maxi skirts. The glow sticks:



    I don’t get it. Do they think people will order this? Or, as some have said, is it just to showcase their capacities as a design house? I just don’t understand the reason behind these completely impractical designs. A lot of them look like they were designed by people who never cheered in their lives. So I don’t get it. But then again, I’m not someone who ever claimed to “get” fashion. Can someone enlighten me?

    For your own reference:

    Rebel Athletic (@rebelathleticcheer) Instagram photos and videos

    Gordon Steinecke (@rebel_vpofdesign) Instagram photos and videos

     
  2. california cheer mom

    california cheer mom Best Flyer.. on a parent team

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    The shattered mirror uniform they were promoting yesterday was absolutely ridiculous.
     
  3. Sterling von Shimmer

    Sterling von Shimmer Somewhere... some one.... is giving me a slow clap

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    That thing was one of the main reasons I created this post lol. I get that it's a piece that's very striking to look at, probably photographs well, and appears fun to wear, but it's absolutely insane for cheer. Who wants to catch a flyer covered in shards of broken glass?
     
  4. quitthedrama

    quitthedrama I buy my Insta followers

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    When Rebel first came out I really liked them and was looking forward to a uniform company competing with Varsity. The past couple of years, I feel like they are making a mockery of cheer with their ad campaigns - totally focused on the thirsty IG momagers pimping out their kids - and scrolling through the comments on any of their posts that's mainly who their target audience is. Their uniforms are ridiculous but I could live with that, but what I can't deal with is their ads portraying cheer as a bunch of bimbos more interested in their phones and shiny things. I'm not sure I have seen a single post that has anything to do with athletics. That and the fact that they copy the designs for the actual uniforms they sell rather than create their own designs has made me have little respect for them as a company.
     
  5. JenR

    JenR Cheer Stalker

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    The actual uniforms that I see on team are pretty. The "Concept" ones that I see on instagram are just ridiculous. All I can think of is the broken fingers getting caught in the fluffy skirt of a flyer. The glass shards? Come on. Are they trying to be "cutting edge"? No pun intended. But I think they are just trying to show people that if they have a concept idea that Rebel is more accepting of it than Varsity.
     
  6. catlady

    catlady Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    As a once buyer, we would sit through some of the most ridiculous, never would anyone wear fashions walking down the runway. I had to remind myself fashion designers are artists, and designers would be the first to tell you their creations aren't always meant to be worn, some are just meant to be art. They would also laugh and say, "But hey, if someone's willing to wear it on the street they aren't going to stop them." ETA: Also, the most obvious reason, we're talking about them.

    My stance on cheer has always been from the appreciation of it from the sport side, and I'm not a fan of putting athletes in costumes unless it is specifically reflected on the score sheet.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2019
  7. Eyes On The Prize

    Eyes On The Prize Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    Ding ding ding. Thank you.

    There is functional fashion design and then there is couture fashion design. No one is thinking it's functional to wear broken glass or glow sticks on the floor.... They are in the niche fashion market of cheer uniforms and that is the medium for their couture pieces. They are not my taste, they seem Betsy Johnson-esque, and she's not my taste either so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Its good practice to let designers and creatives flex their creative in other ways and "cross-pollenate", if you will, their skills, inspirations, practices, etc. That is how you sustain creativity and grow a company. Good on Rebel for investing in their employees and allowing their designers to develop and expand their skills like this. There is more to a fashion piece than just the way it looks - there are sewing techniques, fabric selection and functionality, adjusting for body dimensions, storytelling, etc, - all skills that need to be maintained and refined to keep the designers and company healthy and growing. You don't have to like it or buy it, sometimes it's creation is not for the consumer.
     
  8. wishfulthinking

    wishfulthinking Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    I'll be honest. I dislike the majority of Rebel designs, the ones that we actually see on the mat (I don't follow them on IG). I think GK (the very few programs who use GK) and Varsity do a much better job with uniforms being practical, functional, and actually looking cohesive. Rebel can do this too, bust most of the time they don't. I just think most of Rebel's uniforms are ridiculous looking, and they look cheap.

    Also, there is something about Rebel and the way that they pack stones on their uniforms that looks awful to me. Either the stones that they choose are far too big, they pack them too tightly, or they just flat-out look bad.

    I get that Rebel is fulfilling a gym's vision when creating these uniforms, but there's a way to do this without making the uniforms look so tacky.

    I feel like if I see a picture of a uniform that I dislike, I immediately think it's a Rebel creation, and most of the time I'm right.
     
  9. BlueCat

    BlueCat Roses are red, cats are blue National Champion

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    I can't speak for everyone, but we have had a fantastic experience with Rebel. The designs we end up with are fully approved by the gym directors and coaches. The look and level of "extra" in our uniforms 100% under the customer's control. If you want something wild, they can do that. If you want something traditional, they can do that. Ultimately, it is up to you.

    Regarding their marketing, I don't always love every minute detail of every ad, but Rebel and the other non-V companies have to do what will work and reach their customers. The most entrenched uniform manufacturer has a built-in line to the customers by virtue of their parent company owning and producing nearly all of the competitions and camps across the US. They can (and do) run ads all day long at events, put commercials up during televised competitions, and promote their uniforms at camps across the country. For additional leverage, they have essentially tied pricing of entry fees at events to your uniform choices through their gym kickback program. They have exposure to athletes, coaches, administrators, and even parents that no other manufacturer can begin to match. Other event producers had deals with Rebel for similar exposure in the past, but when nearly every major event producer was bought up by a single company, those went away.

    None of this is to say that what the big V is doing is "wrong" or unethical. That is what big companies do - leverage their advantages to help grow their bottom line. Those advantages are part of why they spent millions upon millions buying out their competitors in the event production and manufacturing space. However, you can't blame other manufacturers for using whatever strategies are left to them to try to reach as many athletes, coaches, gym owners, parents, etc. as they can. Running generic social media campaigns won't get people talking about them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
  10. Sterling von Shimmer

    Sterling von Shimmer Somewhere... some one.... is giving me a slow clap

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    That is a very interesting take. One that I’m surprised I missed given how defensive I am about how cheer is perceived.

    I did think their decision to branch off into hyper-femininized merchandise was a good one, and a huge opportunity lost for Varsity. The rainbow-hued, crystal-dipped accessories that boasted mermaids, unicorns, ice cream cones, etc. was a genius callback to the popularity of Lisa Frank products that reigned when I was a kid (I've still got my "dolphins eating a cake in space" lunch box).

    But you're right: none of it has anything to do with cheer. And it could be perceived as portraying cheer as a frothy, unserious activity that only cares about sequins and makeup and not much else.

    And yeah, the yearly marketing campaigns rub me the wrong way too. The sorority-esque feel of it all is very jarring and artificial to me. The smarmy "look how cute and hot and funny we are!" vibe from the veteran ambassadors feels smug and self-aware. I'm sure all the people involved are very nice, but... the whole thing just makes me cringe. And it strikes me as a touch outdated given that the onset of social media has made relatability a commodity. Picture-perfect, overly-rehearsed caricatures in marketing aren't really viable anymore and, in some cases, even reviled.

    And lastly, I don't know why they drag the kids off to Europe every year. Because Europe has nothing to do with cheer. If anything, cheer was born in America. So every year I ask myself: "Why are they sitting in uniform in front of the Eiffel tower? At a brasserie? On a boat?" I guess the word "thoughtless" is what I'm looking for. No cohesion. No identifiable reason why putting cheerleaders in front of a Gothic church makes any sense or would sell uniforms. So yeah, the Europe trips baffle me because it feels like their only purpose is to give everyone a vacation and toss a "LOL JEALOUS?" humble brag to followers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019
  11. california cheer mom

    california cheer mom Best Flyer.. on a parent team

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    I get the high fashion thing, and the fact that runway clothes are not necessarily what ends up on the racks. But seriously, Rebel is a sports uniform company. You don't see Nike doing ridiculous shoots like this. It's hard to tell wheat they actually do when their catalog and Instagram showcase their "haute couture" designs.
     
  12. Sterling von Shimmer

    Sterling von Shimmer Somewhere... some one.... is giving me a slow clap

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    Exactly. Some of these design choices still beg the question: why? Nobody in their right mind is ever going to need glow sticks in a cheer uniform.

    Honestly, it feels like whoever is in charge of design had aspirations to work in high fashion, but wasn’t creative or edgy enough to succeed. He’s been successful at introducing novel design elements into cheer uniforms, but none of them are particularly innovative to the world of fashion at large. Maxi skirts, puffy sleeves, and even glow sticks have been done before. Just not in cheer. Actually they still haven’t been done in cheer, from a practicality angle.
     
  13. Eyes On The Prize

    Eyes On The Prize Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    Nike has an entire business venture called "NikeLab" that allows their designers to explore other fashion trends and influences like Rebel does and they make equally weird-for-their-market pieces. (Like this) (this one) (this one too) (and unfortunately this).

    And Nike has has collaborated with high-end fashion designers to deliver these pieces that focus more on expression, rather than function.

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    [​IMG]

    I will reiterate that allowing designers to create freely opens the door to innovation and advanced techniques that benefit the consumers in the long run. These partnerships that Nike sponsors develops new ways to use materials. They managed to pleat ripstop fabric for the first time, find new ways to attach zippers to different types of fabrics, see what other types of fabrics they can make. 20 years ago, all cheer uniforms were thick and scratchy with sequins or rhinestones attached with little metal pieces that had to be washed by hand. Today we have all sorts of options for material, some that you can print directly onto, that can wick sweat away from the skin, that you can wash in the washing machine, rhinestones that can be glued to fabric and withstand the stress they need to endure, etc. None of this would've happened without letting people be creative and investing in outside ventures that deviate from what's expected from them.

    There is push within these activewear brands like Nike, Adidas, etc to keep collaborating with high-end fashion designers to target new fashion markets and expand their brands so I expect we will see more "couture" stuff in the future. (Link)

    I find this incredibly rude. You can not like someone's stuff and voice your criticisms about their work, but there's no need to throw ad hominems around when they've done nothing to warrant it. He's clearly passionate about his work and isn't afraid to be creative. All of his stuff is not bad. This uniform is actually quite stunning - the beadwork, the mixing of the colors and patterns, even the tassels. It's absolutely beautiful, even if it's not functional for cheer. He has posted that he attends fashion industry trade shows for apparel fabrics which says a lot about his passion for bringing the best fabrics to his company for his customers.

    Also, just because Rebel started as a cheer uniform company doesn't mean they can't branch out into high fashion, dance wear, costuming for theatre/cirque/performance art, etc. Cheer isn't the only market where people need custom apparel designed for movement. I could see them transitioning to cirque/performance art super easily. They have made a platform for themselves and can use it however they want to market to whoever they want. Big fashion brands are usually multi-faceted and have diverse product portfolios. Rebel is following suit.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019
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  14. catlady

    catlady Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    You basically answered your own question without realizing it. Cheer is developing in Europe, where there's a lot of opportunity and growth.

    My problem is not their designs, but what these uniforms (along with many other issues) represent to what's happening to youth sports as a whole. From an article that truly hit home <click here>:

    "Youth sports has become less a tool to educate children about sport and life, and more often a place where parents go to be entertained by their kids. They pay good money, add a great deal of chaos to their lives, and spend their valuable time travelling far and wide watching their kids play sports. When the product they see on the field does not live up to their perceived notion of the value of their investment, they get upset at the kids, the coaches, and at the schools and clubs. They want their moneys worth. They want to be entertained. But at what cost?"

    My family enjoyed every minute of AS and we have no regrets, but I do hope that youth sports will come back to a place where kids of all skill levels and financial backgrounds can find a place in the arena. This is on us parents.
     
  15. Sterling von Shimmer

    Sterling von Shimmer Somewhere... some one.... is giving me a slow clap

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    [/QUOTE]I find this incredibly rude. You can not like someone's stuff and voice your criticisms about their work, but there's no need to throw ad hominems around when they've done nothing to warrant it. He's clearly passionate about his work and isn't afraid to be creative. All of his stuff is not bad. This uniform is actually quite stunning - the beadwork, the mixing of the colors and patterns, even the tassels. It's absolutely beautiful, even if it's not functional for cheer. He has posted that he attends fashion industry trade shows for apparel fabrics which says a lot about his passion for bringing the best fabrics to his company for his customers.

    Also, just because Rebel started as a cheer uniform company doesn't mean they can't branch out into high fashion, dance wear, costuming for theatre/cirque/performance art, etc. Cheer isn't the only market where people need custom apparel designed for movement. I could see them transitioning to cirque/performance art super easily. They have made a platform for themselves and can use it however they want to market to whoever they want. Big fashion brands are usually multi-faceted and have diverse product portfolios. Rebel is following suit.[/QUOTE]

    If you’ll read my first post, I said that I liked a lot of their designs. In my following post, I also lauded their business decisions as being savvy and innovative. They’ve done a lot of great things and clearly it’s working for them.

    But when the head designer compares himself to D&G, holds his whole marketing campaign during Fashion Week, and throws the term “haute couture” around for what is essentially a sports uniform, it just appears a little self-serving. Ultimately, cheer is a sport. Not a reason to play dress up. And sometimes it seems that Rebel loses sight of that message when they appear more interested in creating bolero jackets than functional unis. I understand and appreciate the argument that they’re just showcasing their design skills in the more outlandish unis. But ultimately, nobody is going to need glow sticks in their uni, or anything close to it (I can understand a scenario in which a team might want to do a take on a bolero, but glow sticks are basically kid’s party favors). So what is the point other than to draw attention to themselves rather than the cheerleaders they’re supposed to be catering to?

    Again: they do a lot of things well. But some things leave a little to be desired.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2019