April '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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60 || P R I N T W E A R A P R I L 2 0 1 7 DECORATION METHODS AND SELLING DECORATED ECO- ALTERNATIVE APPAREL Different decoration methods pair best with different types of eco-apparel. Sources say water-based inks work best when printing and organic or eco-dyed threads are favored when embroidering. The benefits of selling decorated eco- alternative apparel are plentiful, perhaps most highlighted by the "halo effect." Stevens describes the "halo effect" as the positive association made by the end user about the brand because the brand in- vested in an environmentally-conscious product. The end user recognizes that the brand cares about our shared home, enough to choose the sustainable option. Customers also understand they are getting the highest quality when they invest in eco-alternative apparel, which is always a draw. Stevens explains that eco-products provide the seller with an opportunity to let the products they are selling amplify their core values in a very visible way. This is beneficial for both the seller and the buyer. Plus, selling deco- rated eco-friendly garments allows for a greater consumer base, appealing to eco- conscious customers that are looking for sustainable options, says Alicharan. While the benefits of selling eco- alternative apparel are abundant, there are some drawbacks when it comes to marketing. While Bonner and Alicharan highlight the fact that responsibly craft- ed apparel comes at a higher price point than its non-eco alternatives, Stevens be- lieves in not over-hyping eco-attributes. People will recognize and appreciate your efforts if you keep it simple and stick to the facts. For example, while many non-eco brands use in-your-face tactics to grab consumers' attention, non-eco alterna- tives tend to stick to simplicity and mini- malism when it comes to marketing. THE CURRENT STATE OF ECO-ALTERNATIVE APPAREL With all this talk about eco-apparel, it is im- portant to look at the current state of eco-al- ternative products. Stevens states that she has noticed a growth in demand for environmen- tally responsible materials, particularly in the outdoor and surf market. Alicharan has also noticed the eco-alterna- tive apparel market continuously expanding. As consumers become more conscious of the garments they purchase and the processes used to create them, there is more desire for sustainable clothing. Bonner adds that eco-alternatives are be- coming more mainstream. Businesses are adapting and reducing waste by making small changes in their organization, such as going all digital. It is small changes that lead to more substantial ones in the long run, and the trend towards sustainable, eco-conscious clothing is strong. Following this continuing trend, the fu- ture of eco-apparel looks bright. Stevens re- ports that she expects the knowledge level of the general public to continue to increase, coupled with a surge in millennial buying power. These factors, along with a growing trend towards an increased desire for authen- tic brands by consumers, will foster a contin- ued growth. Alicharan has noticed that younger genera- tions have an even more acute environmental awareness than the generation that came be- fore them. This attitudinal shift will not only drive increased demand but spur new tech- nologies and innovations. Bonner adds that we can only expect prog- ress. The idea of eco-alternatives is beyond the "phase" period. The desire to maintain the earth and reduce global warming will contin- ue as visibility continues through social media and the overall media. We can only hope con- sumers will begin to view eco-alternatives as the go-to for all their needs. And after knowing all this, why wouldn't they? ECO-ALTERNATIVE APPAREL Eco-apparel contin- ues to see growth and it is estimated to continue taking up more market share in the coming years. (Image courtesy Alternative Apparel)

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