February '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 F E B R U A R Y P R I N T W E A R || 45 Partly, this is owed to the desire for individualism often felt by teens and young adults. The individual, unique message and design has become more impor- tant than wearing the same thing as everyone else, Sey- mour says. "Social media again is driving a faster-moving target that direct-to-garment decorating can keep up with," he says. "This is especially relevant in internet sales." Those who want to get into or keep up with the ju- niors' market definitely have a few unusual challenges in lightweight fabric blends and other innovations, but there are plenty of options to choose from across all decorating media. "Decorators have come up with amazing techniques for delivering art and messages to garments that were not available four or five years ago, especially when it comes to today's blended fabrics," Seymour says. Some of these relatively new styles include sublima- tion, water-based and discharge printing, and new in- novations on old formulas. Case in point, some plastisol inks are now being developed for a softer hand. Even new equipment is being developed for these purposes, which creates new decoration options that are suitable for the more premium fabric blends that are popular in the market today, with reportedly excellent results. However, in addition to influencing the develop- ment of new methods, Mai suggests that the ongoing prevalence of lighter-weight cotton apparel and other light blends has affected the popularity of certain deco- ration methods that are already available. "Usually, with these lighter weight garments, the junior market tends to favor screen [prints] or other printed methods because these garments have a com- bination of synthetic fibers woven into the materials," Mai says. Between choosing a quality garment that still offers a trendy, contemporary fit and the decoration meth- ods that best accommodates the blend of that garment, there are a lot of individual factors to consider when marketing juniors' apparel. However, for as picky and ever-changing as the market can be, it's also quite a lucrative opportunity for anyone who can invest in anything from water-based inks to soft-hand plastisol, all the way up to sublimation. From there, it's only a matter of keeping up with the pace of the market and catching hold of the unlimited potential. Those who wear juniors' ap- parel enjoy styles that they can wear in everyday life. Because of this, it is important to pay atten- tion to their preferences. (Image courtesy Next Level Apparel)

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