With all of the websites on the web currently trying to capture a piece of the light-up garment market its hard to know which ones to trust. Through experience and a great deal of research I have come across what I believe to be the top player in this industry. As a relatively new company in the market, D.A.F. Designs (www.dafdesigns.com) has already captured a large audience and continues to grow, leaving behind a trail of happy customers in the process. Through this article I will provide an analysis of some of the major players currently in the market with the goal of helping you find a quality company to buy from.
For those of you who do not already know, the light-up shirt is a fairly new technology. As its name suggests it is in fact a shirt that lights up. Now this might seem strange to some, but it s actually reasonably simple. The light-up shirt uses electro-luminescent panels attached typically by either Velcro or sewing to a t-shirt, long sleeve shirt or tank top. These panels are unique in the fact that they do not heat-up and they are very light weight and thin (about 0.8 cm thick), which allows them to be worn by the user with no discomfort. The power-source of the light-up shirt is a battery pack attached via a cable to the panel I had described earlier and this comes in a variety of styles, ranging from 2XAAA to 4xAAA configurations. An even further subdivision of the light-up shirt industry is the difference between the standard light-up shirt and the sound activated light-up shirt. It is the latter that I will be discussing as it is the more popular of the two.
The sound activated light-up shirt is a very interesting product because it reacts to any sound that it comes in contact with. What I mean by this is when you play a song on a device such as a stereo and adjust the sensitivity accordingly the shirt panel will light-up with the music in a fashion dictated by the design on the panel (these come typically as equalizers, but other styles are available). Selling these shirts arise three main competitors: TheLightUpShirt, T-Qualizer, and D.A.F. Designs. I will be giving my analysis of the three and I have dealt with each one of them.
TheLightUpShirt (Price: Highest-Service: Very Poor – Delivery: Terrible – Product: Poor)
At first glance this company looks very reputable mostly because they have a nice clean website to them. After that first glance though this reputation disappears. The first thing I notice when I visit this site is their claim to having sponsored various celebrities (Mike Posner, Jerry Springer etc), but after further investigation and contacting both the legal contacts for these celebrities I had found that there is in fact no connection between them and TheLightUpShirt (and I expect them to take some form of action against this site).
Let me talk about my buying experience:
Once I ordered off this site I started to get the impression they aren t as nearly as organized as they seem to be (and after further investigation I found they are run by one student at Virginia Tech). After about 5 business days of my order status still saying processing I decided to email them and see what the delay was, and thus began my irritating journey of trying to get in contact with this company. If you try and email them you get no response for a very long period of time and they didn t even respond to me for 2 weeks after my initial complaint. After looking at their Facebook group I noticed that other people were having the exact same problem. Finally when my order was shipped it took another 4 weeks for it to arrive, which is pretty ridiculous when we are talking about a month and a half order to delivery time from Virginia, US to North Vancouver, Canada.
The actual product itself:
The packaging this shirt came in gave me a good indication of how the quality of the shirt would be. The box was very beat up and you could tell a lot of care wasn t put into the packaging. When I finally opened the box and felt the shirt I could tell they went to a great extent to lower their production costs, and I am estimating the shirt being about 140g of cotton weight (typical shirt is 180g). The worst part about the shirt was the massive amount of shrinkage that occurred in the wash.
On the plus side the panel did work correctly, but the battery pack was the 2xAAA version and I learned later that this makes the shirt light-up more dimly than the 4xAAA model.
T-Qualizer (Price: 2nd Highest- Service: Good – Delivery: Moderate – Product: Arrived broken)
Again this is another case of a nice website that lacks on other fronts. My review of T-Qualizer parallels on TheLightUpShirt, but the difference between these two companies is that T-Qualizer sent me a broken product. I will update my review of this company once I receive the replacement shirt.
D.A.F. Designs (Price: Lowest – Service: Fantastic – Delivery: Speedy – Product: Best of the three
All in all, D.A.F. Designs (www.dafdesigns.com) came out on top. They were the one company that didn t just focus on a clean website, but took into account the whole consumer experience. They really brought about a balanced scorecard approach to doing business and I wish that more businesses operated in this manner.
The thing I loved about buying from D.A.F. Designs is the fact that their service is phenomenal. They responded to all my questions the same day and even as in little as a few hours, they have live chat on their website where a staff member is available to assist you with any questions you might have while surfing their website, and they have frequent sales and discount voucher handouts.
My buying experience:
As I stated above, the service at D.A.F. Designs is fantastic and they have the greatest selection of product styles of these three competitors. I had assistance every step of the way and the only downside to the buying experience is that some of their product photos aren t the greatest, but because they are a relatively new company they are constantly updating their website, so I expect these photos to be updated sometime in the near future. The check-out process is very smooth and they offer prices in both U.S. and Canadian dollars, which makes it handy if you are worried about the exchange rate.
The product itself:
When the package arrived it came in a very sturdy box and included things you would typically see such as a packing slip etc. A great thing about ordering from this website is that they include a discount coupon for a percentage off your next purchase, so you can always grab one for a friend or family member. D.A.F. Designs uses the 4xAAA style of battery pack, which is how I noticed the massive difference in color vividness between 2xAAA(TheLightUpShirt) and 4xAAA(D.A.F. Designs) panels. The dafdesigns.com shirt is 180g and is also pre-shrunk cotton (which I tested), so it won t be shrinking on you in the wash.
As with any industry there are a few players who stand out from the competition and eventually spring forward to become the leaders of the pack. I believe D.A.F. Designs will become the next leading retailer of light-up t-shirts in the coming future because they believe in the full customer experience and provide a lot of extra pleasantries that the other companies just don t. If you are looking for a light-up shirt as a gift or for yourself, I definitely recommend D.A.F. Designs (www.dafdesigns.com)
Here is their contact information:
Email: [email protected]
About The Author I am a amateur writer who writes about what I am interested in. Anyone can re-post this article where ever, but editing is not allowed.