October '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Printwear 2013 Q&A Apparel What are the top consumer expectations when it comes to a supplier's product offering? Consumer expectations have definitely evolved over the past few years. Not only is there a stronger attention to the details within apparel, but it is increasingly apparent that customers expect comfort, protection and performance to complement the style. As suppliers continue to develop state-of-the-art apparel through performance details such as moisture-wicking and antimicrobial, they are also narrowing the gap between retail and corporate apparel trends. As consumers have come to expect the protection and performance features, they are now looking for a fresh take on the typical jacket, polo or soft shell. Further, the world of corporate apparel has made immense strides to evolve women's designs. Rather than creating a sizeddown version of its male companion style, it has become imperative that the women's version needs to be designed with fit and shape in mind. A more flattering fit will showcase a nicer silhouette and by combining that with comfort, corporate apparel can look, fit and feel as good as any personal purchase from retail. Lastly, subtle accessories and hardware can also really add depth to an already eye-catching piece. Branded rivets, contrasting zippers, or the use of embossed lining inside a jacket are just a few examples of how suppliers can offer technical designs that make individuals look sharp and well-presented. In the past, the details offered in corporate clothing were limited. As the industry continues to evolve, quality suppliers must offer designs that blend style with uncompromising functionality. Elson Yeung, Ash City All this environmental concern is a fad and a bunch of bull, and "organic" doesn't really mean anything, right? More pesticide (poison) and chemical fertilizer (also poison) is used on conventional cotton than any other crop. That all eventually gets into water, food, milk, and then into you and your grandchildren. Last I checked, poison is bad for you. Nothing can be called organic unless it is certified as such. There are very specific rules which prove that it has not been grown with pesticides or fertilizer and that the fields it has been grown in have been chemical-free for three years. You can ask for the certificates that prove it. It can't be called organic unless it is certified organic, and that's true for food or cotton products. The system, of course, is not perfect, but it is strict and certainly specific. Short of buying organic shirts, there are plenty of other simple actions to take that make sense from a business and environmental standpoint. Re-use all the ink you can and don't put harmful chemicals down the drain. Roll on bulk adhesive when you can and don't use aerosol cans. Rick Roth, Mirror Image Inc., Several customers want to be more environmentally-conscious by purchasing "green" products whenever possible. What are my apparel options that will still keep my business price-competitive? There are many eco-friendly options in apparel today using a variety of fabrics from bamboo to cotton, and there is an even wider range of price. But the good news is that going green does not have to cost more, especially for those that focus on cotton/polyester blended shirts made in part from recycled plastic bottles or recycled cotton. Andrew Verga, HanesBrands Branded Printwear 80 | Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 80 October 2013 9/18/13 11:53 AM

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