May '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 M A Y P R I N T W E A R || 63 cause they can also crossover to after-workout settings," states Mark Seymour, CSO, Next Level Apparel. "The combination of soft and stretchy fabrics in fashion cuts will continue to be a powerful selling tool in the women's promo apparel market." The 65/35 poly/cotton fabric originally designed for sublimation is also now used for the athleisure market because of its weight and wicking quality. The trend even extends to fleece. "The yoga trend has a big impact on our fleece business—I definitely see this category growing in the near future," says Todd Proffit, marketing director at Alstyle Apparel. Performance fleece outer- wear and features, such as water-resistance and antimicrobial properties, is certainly top- of-mind for women as well. Whether they have just finished a workout or intend to walk around in the elements, the preference of staying dry, fresh, and comfortable will continue to be important. Robert Krebs, director of sales at Covalent Activewear, ex- plains that fleece jackets with antimicrob- ial properties and polyester spandex fabric is a top seller in the category. These pieces are considered "great layering options for women and can be worn throughout the year, especially since the fits are so com- fortable and loose," says Seymour. Other trending fabrics include soft- spun cotton, sustainable/eco-friendly fabrics, those that have a combination of soft and silky tri-blends with a flowy cut, and material that offers a suede or velvet-soft hand. No matter the fabric though, it is im- perative that women's apparel options are designed with their specific shape and silhouette in mind. Loose-fit- ting silhouettes at retail, such as drapey or flowy styles, are influ- encing overall design decisions in the promo apparel world, as are the additional offerings to accom- modate women of all sizes. "The athleisure/yoga trend has had a positive impact on the market by driving the importance of fit," Proffit says. Opposite: In an increasingly busy world, workout wear is becoming more acceptable as street wear. (Image courtesy Next Level) Below: The popularity of athleisure wear is affecting all categories, including fleece. (Image courtesy Covalent Activewear)

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