Apparel Trends to Watch
One of the most tried and true forms a promotion can take is apparel. In fact, it is reported that 31.5% of distributor revenue in 2013 was from apparel – a whopping $6.45 BILLION dollars. While mainstays of this category, such as t-shirts or hoodies, may seem done to death, promotional apparel is becoming more and more reflective of retail apparel and as such adopting a refreshed and often innovative look and feel. Take a look at this roundup of some of this year’s apparel trends, with insight from industry leaders Vantage Apparel and Advantages Magazine, and get inspired for your next promotion!
All About Performance
Performancewear has come to take over the apparel world in the last few years. Instead of the day-to-night look, now in demand is gym-to-street, meaning people are looking for upscale workout gear that can double as everyday clothes without screaming you just came from the trainer. On the flipside, it’s a great way to trick your friends into thinking you’ve been hitting the gym big time.
This Ath-leisure style is seen in leading brands like Lululemon and Under Armour. In the promotional world, look for polos and quarter zips in performance fabrics to be big. Expected to grow in popularity are compression tops and performance headwear, as well as biometric (fitness tracking) clothing as improvements to technology continue to be made.
Design and fabric choice are two more ways that promotional apparel is becoming more retail-centric. Bold geometric prints and pops of accent color in the form of contrast stitching, pockets and zippers add a unique appeal to a promotional piece. These accents can even be done in complementary colors to a logo for added touch of subtle branding. Another discreet form of branding is atypical locations for imprints and embroidery, such as along the side of a shirt or on the cuff of a sleeve. These techniques keep the overall look of the piece intact while still advertising for a brand.
Look for new takes on color blocking to be big in 2015 as well. For men, color will be popular, especially on athletic outerwear. For females, curved blocking on the sides of garments provides the illusion of a slimming body contouring effect.
Fit & Feel
Fabric texture and cut are also important ways to elevate the look and desirability of a promotional piece. This year look for ultra-soft and jersey fabrics, in addition to the moisture-wicking performance fabrics, to be popular. Another material trend is the use of multiple fabrics on a single garment. Mixed media is especially popular in outerwear, such as jackets that feature quilting and leather.
As far as fit goes, male and female cuts seem to be swapping their typical styles this year. Men’s clothing is getting a slimmer, more fitted cut while women’s styles are adopting a boxier, slouchy look thanks in part to the bohemian trend holding strong at retail.
Products to Watch
One of the hottest apparel items these days are high socks. We recently did a promotion and people seemed as excited to receive their decorated socks as they were their action camera! With opportunity for full sublimation, socks are a great branding outlet, as well as a quirky giveaway that stands out from the crowd.
Another popular apparel style is soft-shell, specifically jackets and vests. Thanks to their versatile heat retention qualities and non-bulky style, these types of goods are in high demand and worn three out of four seasons. This expanded wear-time increases brand visibility and as such these products are great ones to employ the subtle branding techniques discussed above, keeping promotions looking like retail goods and recipients in style.
These are just a few apparel trends we’ve seen so far this year. Keep checking back for more blog posts and trend reports as we uncover even more!