March '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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34 | PRINTWEAR M A RC H 20 1 5 At the lower end, especially in private la- bel and house brands, we are seeing some chief value cotton of 60/40 cotton/poly- ester blends. These fabric blends offer a price point advantage with little or no per- formance features. Although our market- place is overwhelmingly trending further into 100 percent polyester and polyester blends, there will always be the consumer who enjoys cotton and cotton blends and their cost advantages. With today's continued shift to polyester, we predominantly see a selection of jersey knits—just like your favorite T-shirt. Mesh knits are also prevalent in both body fabric and as accent and panel pieces. The piqué and birdseye piqué fabrics, for example, are present in both branded and private-la- bel collections. In the golf arena, specifical- ly branded golf collections, there's a huge increase in auto-engineered and feed stripe yarn-dyed patterns, along with new ombre stripe looks. To round out the knit fabric selection, there's plenty of Jacquard and textured knit fabrics. These are important specifi- cally in the promotional channel because they offer an alternative to solid golf shirts. PERFORMANCE FEATURES With more polyester comes a huge in- crease in performance knitwear. Partly because of polyester's inherent properties, we're enjoying a huge selection of mois- ture-wicking performance knitwear. The polyester movement has also spawned a huge market for anti-bacterial and anti-odor finishes in fabrics. With- out these anti-microbial finishes, a poly- ester garment would help breed bacteria and an unpleasant aroma by the day's end. These finishes are usually topically applied chemical finishes that prevent bacteria or inhibit bacteria growth, but there's some good mechanical treatment in fibers that provide this same function, such as bamboo and coconut charcoal. The 100 percent polyester and synthet- Left: With vibrant colors and performance features, placket shirts are getting a new look. Right: Today's placket shirts feature more performance qualities for better comfort and drape.

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