Printwear

November '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Some of the most recent influential trends in wholesale apparel continue to reflect the rapid turnover of the retail market. According to Seymour, this includes adding pockets to various kinds of apparel such as a standard men's V-neck T. Seymour notes that pockets seldom interfere with decorations, as the embellishments can be printed or applied over them, making them good candidates for wholesale decoration. When looking at retail-inspired influences, it is important to remember that some trends stand the test of time better than others. This much can be seen in the colors and fabrics one can see on the market today—compared to the loud, bright neon colors and patterns of decades past, which were often printed thick on solid cotton basics, retail-inspired apparel now sports a softer hand and more subdued, muted, or darker colors than there once were across the retail and wholesale markets. Mai also notes that the success of certain retail-inspired styles often depends on how the consumer base receives them, as some styles may flourish while others will see less use. Timing the launch of specific products is also a factor to consider, especially for seasonal clothing. However, once trends begin to permeate the wholesale market and become popular enough, they may likely remain there for multiple years to come. For example, Mai mentions burnout fabric and how it has come to permeate both the retail and wholesale markets. "I would say this fabric has become a fashion staple for the past seven to eight years, maybe even more," Mai says. "Yet still today, you will see it in many retail stores, fashion bou- tiques, and gift shops." On the other hand, Mai anticipates that new trends in retail will continue to adapt quickly to wholesale within the coming year. She and the staff at Kavio! predict new prints and fabrics with retail-influenced cuts and finishes for the 2016 seasons. "A fashion staple could linger for about a year, until it has completely flooded the wholesale market in four or five years," Mai says. Some examples that became recent mainstays in the wholesale market include wider varieties of color options, patterns such as stripes that can still be worked with in decoration, and performance fabric. Many of these influences have re- mained as popular sellers on the wholesale market while slowly waning in retail. Other trends with soft, stretchy fabric that have recently come to the whole- sale side include racerback tanks for women, inspired by popular retail brands like Lululemon and the nationwide fitness and yoga crazes. "That was heavily influenced by the 100 polyester sports performance fabric, but it's taken on a retail fashion sort of look," Seymour says. Many members of the decorated apparel industry, from suppliers to printers, have focused at least in part on retail-inspired or retail-based apparel in order to appeal to a wider range of customers. Some plan their entire business around providing retail-in- spired apparel for the wholesale market, while others simply draw influences from retail styles over time in order to adapt to new decorating techniques. As retail and wholesale styles begin to circulate more in tandem with each other, however, the print shop owners ultimately have more options than ever for selecting which trends they provide to their clients. It's all a matter of paying attention to trends, knowing which meth- ods work best for them, and seeing how end users respond. 2 0 1 5 N O V E M B E R P R I N T W E A R || 33 Opposite: Retail-inspired apparel has evolved in recent years as social me- dia allowed wholesalers to more quickly adapt retail styles to their market. (Image courtesy Kavio!) Left: Patterns such as stripes have become a more common sight in retail-inspired apparel. (Image courtesy Kavio!)

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