June '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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40 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 6 Beyond Button-Ups The World of Hospitality Uniforms B Y S A N D R A S E P A N I A K Left: Higher-end restaurants, cocktail bars, and other more formal businesses often complete their brand with formal vests and button-ups for their staff. Right: Resorts and cruise ships in tropical locations might outfit their staff with uniforms matching the local vibe. (Images courtesy Edwards Garment) U niforms are one of the biggest necessities in the hospi- tality industry. Although most people might associate the phrase "hospitality uniforms" with button-down shirts and simple dresses worn by hotel front desk staff and housekeepers, the options go far beyond that. Between themed restaurants looking for ways to outfit their waiters and waitresses, casinos looking to convey opulence to their guests, or anything in between, there are plenty of options for hospitality apparel. When your shop is helping a business select and decorate new uni- forms for its employees, using alternative styles can open up many avenues for workwear that is more functional than traditional styles. Even more, it can also present more opportunities for your clients— and in turn, you—to grow their businesses. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS Most people associate hospitality wear with the button-down shirts often seen on hotel housekeeping staff members, but there are far more options than that. There are specific styles for almost every organization, spanning from plaid flannel shirts that can be used in microbreweries, Hawaiian shirts in resorts or camps, to blouses and dresses for casinos and cocktail bars. When it comes to apparel, the term "alternative" can mean dif- ferent things depending on who you ask. Taraynn Lloyd, Edwards Garment, believes that when apparel is "alternative," it is simply a matter of style preference. For another opinion, Phillip Ambros, Sierra Pacific Apparel, adds that alternative styling can be anything from fashion plaids to bowl- ing shirts with contrasting panels. These looks can range from be- ing either trendy and retail-inspired or a unique take on uniformed looks. Oftentimes, they even have a more youthful vibe than tradi- tional styles. Some of the aforementioned apparel choices might seem relatively specific to their respective markets, but this trend is not limited to restaurants and bars. Practically every company, from resorts and health clubs to growing tech groups, wants to get noticed and stand out. Using alternative uniforms is one of the most immediately vis- ible ways to do that. "Any uniform should complement the company's brand," Lloyd explains. "Alternative uniforms can be seen as fashion-forward, styl- ish, and fun to wear." This could even go so far as using styles that are in a league all their own. Hawaiian shirts are popular with resorts and cruise ships, while Ambros reports that racing and bowling shirts are less typical but still very popular. Even more, some kinds of athletic products might be used for sportswear looks. "All markets want to have the availability of a product that is new

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