Sanctify Clothing: The Christian Brand that Became a Favorite of Athletes and Musicians  

Sanctify Clothing: The Christian Brand that Became a Favorite of Athletes and Musicians  

Over a decade ago, musicians and athletes could be seen wearing shirts from a Christian apparel brand that seemed to have taken inspiration from "Affliction" tees that MMA stars were also wearing during that time.

From Mac Powell (Third Day) to Albert Pujols (MLB), Sanctify t-shirts began appearing on Facebook and other social platforms, giving fans a chance to see their favorite stars wearing shirts donned with tattoo-styled Christian messages.

Pujols Sanctify in locker room

Albert Pujols

The brand was so popular that it is still known and remembered by fans of the brand today. Although Sanctify Clothing eventually pivoted and the shirts are hard to find today, the team at 316Tees wanted to take time to reflect on a great brand, which is one of the two main Christian apparel brands that inspired much of the designs we release.

Enjoying Support from Iconic Professional Athletes

Players on football and baseball teams proudly wore Sanctify tees as they presented a positive image and celebrated Christian themes by displaying them on their clothes.

A collage on the Facebook page shows many faces that fans can recognize. A shot of Tim Tebow shows him standing in front of a Gators logo soon after he won the Heisman Trophy as the first college sophomore in history to do so.

Pictures of notables in the music and sports worlds wearing Sanctify clothing reflect its popularity.

Hawk Nelson and Sanctify
Hawk Nelson


By 2009, the Sanctify line had attracted players' attention and support from many teams and country music bands. Favorite stars on the Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays posed for casual photos where they proudly showed off their Christian-themed tees.

Albert Pujols and Tony Larussa
Albert Pujols and Tony LaRussa

Among the pictures, the Tampa Bay Rays team seemed proud to support the designs' creative artistry and inspirational meanings. A group photo of Lance Cormier, Joe Dillon, Gabe Gross, Joe Nelson, Brian Shouse, Carlos Pena and All-Star Ben Zobrist reflects their pride in sharing their beliefs with fans.

Tampa Bay Rays  Sanctify Christian Shirts

Tampa Bay Rays

Albert Pujols and Tony LaRussa of the St. Louis Cardinals and Astro's Lance Berkman seem happy to present a positive image as well, along with shots of Mark Teixeira, Mariano Rivera and Andy Petite of the New York Yankees.

More Athletes and Stars who Enjoyed Wearing Sanctify 

NBA star Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic stopped for a moment and got his picture taken while wearing Sanctify gear. The team had a 59-23 record in its 20th season in the NBA, the most wins it had earned in 18 years.

Dwight Howard and Sanctify Clothing

Dwight Howard

The Seahawks' Jordan Kent, ARCA race car driver Tony Palumbo and Chicago Bears Nick Roach, Devin Hester and Kevin Jones let their images speak for their Christian faith.

Cleveland's Indians, Browns and Cavaliers had team members Brady Quinn, Matt LaPorta and Terrence Kinsley in Sanctify shirts, along with Mets' Ryan Church and WWE's Shawn Michaels.

Matt Laporta

Matt LaPorta

Fans of the country music scene can enjoy seeing Jeff Bates, Keith West and Mark Hall showing their love of Christ through Sanctify messages.

Keith West

Keith West

Kutless, Mac Powell and David Carr's photographic images remind fans of attending concerts back in the day. Skillet, Richie McDonald, Barry Grail, Keith West, Hawk Nelson and Ernie Hasse remind fans of bygone days that remain alive in memory.

Kutless

Kutless

Inspiring Fans with Encouragement and Artistic Design

The images that Sanctify featured on tees depicted meaningful messages for the players and musicians who wore them.

Musicians and many others seemed to prefer the Wings like Eagles designs with its white image on a black shirt, but the product line offered many equally inspirational themes. Typical imagery of Christian themes provided dramatic illustrations of Stone Royal, Winged Cross, Roses and Crosses, Holy Roses and Amazing Grace.

Mark Hall, Casting Crowns

With meanings that appealed to the musicians, athletes and fans, the designs call to mind images of Jesus. Friendly Face, Prince of Peace, Ole Cross, Gold Cross, Lion of Judah and Multi Lion show the love and admiration Christians have for treasured traditions. Icons and Roses, Final Battle and Bird and Banner continued the line of images designed with a tattoo-style art style that were loved by many.

The Art that made Sanctify Clothing so Popular

A resemblance to the "MMA-style" tattoo gave athletes and musicians who wore Sanctify T-shirts the appearance of membership in a fraternal community. The relationship's effect produced support and admiration for each other while focusing on shared values that each considered vital and essential.

An inspiration that reflects Christian hope may have contributed to Sanctify's success, and the exceptional quality of art doubtless made a significant contribution. It created the "all-over" prints that characterize the product as an original and innovative art form.

The Popularity of All-Over Printed T-shirt Designs

An innovative approach to printing Christian-themed tees at Sanctify created dedicated followers in the sports and music industries. Using a technique that created larger images with more freedom of expression, it ignored the traditional limitations of typical screen printing.

Skillet

Skillet

With the ability and intent to print on the entire garment area, the process allowed artists to let ink cover hems and seams with a concentrated focus on creating effect instead of observing the usual rules. Some of the athletes' and musicians' photographs show images that cover the collar, which introduced a completely new concept.

Ryan Church

Ryan Church

The process extended to the back of a shirt as well, and athletes wore them as photos in the Facebook series illustrates. The explosion of color and the intricate detail may have contributed to the Sanctity product line's extraordinary popularity. 

With the clarity and insistence of the Christian messages and the graphic illustration that emphasized the main point, the tees achieved a level of preference that stands as a testament to expressive art's effectiveness. With a design that repeats over the surface of a tee, the message conveyed the concept of love, and the images of Christ and the cross represented the truth of Christianity.


Devin Hester

Devin Hester

A Once Thriving Brand Slows Down

The early years after the turn of the century presented a passion and zeal that Sanctify Clothing capitalized on, especially after the emergence of the "Affliction" brand that started in 2005. Christian fans were ready for something as bold and artistic as what Sanctify was bringing to market.

As a Christian brand of tees, the company took its beginnings in Hanceville, Alabama to a national stage that allowed stars of the athletic competition and music venues to show appreciation by wearing them. A part of a larger brand, American Classics, the popularity of Sanctify eventually began to decline for some reason.

The brand eventually faded, and became a very small part of the larger American Classics brand. 

Did Print Process and Cost Affect the Brand?

Some reasons that may have contributed to a once-flourishing clothing enterprise's decline may have been their print process and the associated cost. Sanctify's shirt printing process was much more expensive than standard screen printing and would be difficult to continue in a competitive niche. 

In addition to the amount of ink and more expensive front designs, the fact most of Sanctify's staple designs were both front and back, this amounted to even more expense. Theoretically, a giant brand like Affliction could keep up with the cost due to their volume, and their pricing was quite a bit higher. MMA fans were willing to pay more.

This became evident as Sanctify tried to print front-only designs with a less expensive process called Direct-to-garment (DTG). The DTG process is excellent, and the cost is less. But the flexibility to do giant prints was not an option.

As a digital process, DTG creates a higher resolution that makes sharper images, and it has another advantage that makes print a single shirt affordable. 

But once Sanctify opted for simpler and less expensive designs, did fans of the brand understand why the "quality" of the prints weren't as artistic or bold as before?

Sanctify was a Legendary Christian Apparel Brand

I bought and wore a lot of Sanctify t-shirts well over 10 years ago. I loved the fit and the designs, and they became my favorite shirt brand during that time. For me, it was the first time that a "Christian" clothing brand designed shirts that were artistic, expressive, and also really cool to wear.

Nothing against other brands, but I never did like the cheezy parody brands, and Sanctify was anti-parody. The designs were unique. They stood up on their own. They looked good worn out to dinner or at a baseball game. 

At 316Tees, we believe a shirt is just a shirt. A shirt does not save anyone. But just as fishermen can wear stylish shirts that represent the thing they care about most, Christians can wear stylish shirts that represent the thing they care about most, Jesus

Sanctify represented the Word and the Truth of Christ in a way that no Christian apparel brand ever has before. The designs were legendary and artistic, and for this reason, they were worn by legendary people who believed in the truth of Christ.

 

Bryan E. Robinson is the owner and founder of 316Tees. He has over 15 years as a marketing consultant and has worked with Capital One, AmeriCommerce, FSG, and other companies over the years. Bryan has also built multiple eCommerce brands over the years and is passionate about helping others to achieve their own successes with eCommerce startups. 

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