Although IOU is often thought of as “80′s clothing”, IOU sales were really at it’s peak from 1989-1992. Produced by Merry-Go-Round Enterprises, which owned many different chains of stores – mostly found in shopping malls – such as DeJaiz (or DJ’s), Ship N Shore, Chess King, and many others, IOU was Merry-Go-Round’s first private label.
Coveted by the high school crowd, the IOU brand made all types of mens and womens apparel – jeans, jackets, T shirts, but it’s most famous and lucrative was the IOU Sweatshirt. Sold often for 2 for $48 (then less and less as the brand lost it’s cool factor) the sweatshirt style was fairly similar in style over the years and a staple in teenager’s closets. At one time the IOU brand accounted for 30% of all sales in the company, which grew to over 1000 stores before declaring bankruptcy in 1994 and closing the majority of it’s stores in 1996, ending it’s 20+ history of being the cool place to shop in the mall.
Of all the trends that were big in IOU’s heyday (Z Cavaricci, BUM Equipment, Hypercolor, Cross Colors, LA Gear) the IOU sweatshirt is what I get customer requests for the most. What is it about IOU?
Some of our favorites over the years:
Luckily, it’s never difficult to date an IOU sweatshirt – I’ve never seen one that didn’t have the year screenprinted somewhere on it…therefore, I won’t bother showing you the tags.
Right now, we have only one IOU sweatshirt in stock
but don’t worry, we’re always on the hunt for you!
If you wanna have some flashback fun, I highly recommend checking out the Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Alumni Facebook page and looking at the pictures!
If you are looking to buy a vintage IOU sweatshirt, you can check out what I have for sale in the shop here.