Oversize denim jackets adorned with a hodgepodge of patches. White crew necks tie-dyed kelly green. Distressed crop Ts displaying Eagles logos of yesteryear.
These are a few examples of now-trending ”hot girl” Eagles apparel, where designers revamp vintage Pro Shop gear into something equal parts trendy, sporty, and sexy.
As the Eagles head into the NFC championship against the San Francisco 49ers, Eagles gear is in high demand, but not everyone can easily find something that fits their style — causing Philly’s “hot girl” merch designers to consider taking their side hustles full time.
NFL apparel designed for women has long been comically corny and ill-fitting, and cute alternatives have popped up in high-end boutiques. With prices hovering in the hundreds of dollars, there’s a hole in the market for people who tailgate for vibes only.
Typical Eagles merch “doesn’t take into account what we like,” said Isabella Dahrouch, the 22-year-old owner of the Philly-based clothing company 215 Upcycled. “[Companies] just say, ‘Oh we’ll make it tight.’ Meanwhile, most girls are just looking for fun, creative pieces they can express themselves with.”
Dahrouch grew up in Wayne and is a fifth-year marketing major at Temple University, where she started 215 Upcycled in 2019 by bleaching thrifted Ts in a shared bedroom in her college apartment.
“I probably gave my roommate bleach poisoning,” Dahrouch reminisced with a laugh. She now has a studio in her parents’ garage. “I’m in my Mark Zuckerberg era.”
215 Upcycled sells reworked vintage finds of all types, but Dahrouch said her bread and butter is bespoke Eagles apparel: denim jackets with panels pulled from old Birds shirts, sweatshirts cut to fit like those viral corsets, and lots of cropped sweaters. Right now, Dahrouch says half of her sports apparel sales came from Eagles gear this season.
“My [Instagram] DMs have been flooding,” said Dahrouch. Most T-shirts and sweatshirts range from $30 to $50, but a custom jacket can cost around $225.
Devon Mellul of Devine SportsWear said her Instagram-driven brand is experiencing a similar boom.
Mellul, 30, grew up in Florida, but her family is from Philly. She started Devine SportsWear in 2021 while working as a teacher.
“Right now it’s just a side hustle, but it’s becoming much more than something I do on the side,” Mellul said. Her brand specializes in fitted Birds sweatshirts and painted denim that ranges from $100 to $150. Devine SportsWear sold about 60 pieces of Eagles gear each month this season, she said.
Mellul said she spends 40 hours a week — on top of her full-time sales job — running her clothing business with two other women, and flies to Philly monthly to rummage thrift stores for overlooked Eagles apparel.
There’s no set criteria for whether a thrifted item has enough potential to be transformed into, say, an Eagles-themed going-out top, but Dahrouch has a couple of rules: Good finds are oversize, a little worn, and “something I know I’ll wear.”
Mellul summed it up like this: “When you see something that works, you just know.”
From fad to full time
Admittedly, the Eagles aren’t always this good. So how do these business owners meet newfound demand while acknowledging the fickle nature of Philly fandom?
Julia Swahl, who runs Newtown Square-based One Thread, believes she’s found a balance.
Swahl, 25, left her corporate job at Urban Outfitters to go all-in on her embroidery business in 2021. She said the majority of sales come from a small line of unisex Eagles-themed Ts and crewnecks priced from $50 to $55.
“Right now, my focus is on how well the Eagles-related merch is doing,” said Swahl, but she hopes to capitalize on her new customer base by expanding her set of minimalist, affirmation-forward streetwear.
Yet Eagles mania has taken over life. She is scaling back custom orders — her favorite part of the business — to accommodate the influx of Eagles interest.
“I’m a one-woman show,” Swahl said.
Dahrouch of 215 Upcycled also feels a similar pressure. On a recent night, she was up until 3 a.m. finishing two custom jackets for a collaboration with a Philly content creator before driving into the city at 5 a.m. to drop them off and prep for a photoshoot.
Her normal days are still jam-packed, with commuting, classes, a marketing internship, and late nights in the studio merchandising and sewing.
“I did experience burnout last year,” Dahrouch said. “But my business is based on slow fashion, so I’m trying not to turn myself into a one-woman sweatshop trying to churn things out quickly.”
Dahrouch is optimistic about where hot girl Eagles gear can take her, especially as she — and her fellow upcyclers — have noticed NFL gear get marginally cooler.
“I always want [215 Upcycled] to be a part of my life,” said Dahrouch, who plans to dedicate a few months upon graduation in May to just designing. “I know I have the momentum. It’s up to me to push myself to make 215 bigger.”
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