October '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 5 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R || 31 ing Pennington, say that the material from which the headwear is made can pose some issues during screen printing, embroidery, and other methods. Special tools are often required for screen printing on traditional headwear like caps, such as specialty platens, but that need can also extend to nontraditional headwear as the shape of many unique styles require nontraditional equipment as well. In some cases however, the development of newer, nontraditional styles has made screen print- ing downright impossible. According to Mosley, straw is not ideal for any type of decoration as it is difficult to decorate the material directly. While he explains that the straw material isn't a good match for any type of direct decoration like screen printing, embroidery, or subli- mation, there are other solutions. As is of- ten the case, fabric hat bands are wrapped around the base of straw hats and can be more easily decorated for clients who wish to have their orders customized. Furthermore, military-style caps have be- come a growing trend for both promotion- al wear and for hunters, particularly when they are printed with camouflage designs. This can make it very difficult to create a design that stands out without combating the base print. The fact that many types of nontradi- tional uniform headwear must comply with the standards for their respective industries adds another level of difficulty. As an exam- ple, according to Pennington, the standard fabric for chef 's hats is 65/35 poly/cotton twill or poplin. She adds that while embroi- dery is a possible method of decoration, the preferred method is to screen print designs onto them. However, seeing as these hats are made with two layers of fabric, registration issues are a relatively common problem. NICHE ADVANTAGES While it may have its challenges, nontra- ditional headwear opens up the door to unique business and, in turn, sales. rics with antimicrobial or moisture-wicking capabilities become more popular among consumers. Some golf companies are using moisture-wicking fabric, reports vice pres- ident of Kati Sportcap & Bag Gary Mos- ley. Other companies are looking towards the sustainability market, leaning towards eco-friendly or recycled fiber blends. In addition, more recent technologies within the world of apparel decoration have affected how nontraditional headwear is decorated. Soto explains that sublima- tion prints have become a popular choice because the method can be used on many different types of materials. She also notes that some materials, such as printed paper hats and water-based prints on burlap, are easier to decorate than tradi- tional substrates like fleece or polyester. However, with the huge variety of head- wear styles that can be defined as nontra- ditional, it is no surprise that there are at least a few styles that present challenges to apparel decorators. Many of them, includ-

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