Printwear

August '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Almost no part of an outerwear garment is off limits for decoration these days. (Image cour- tesy Vantage Apparel) "The fabrics are changing and get- ting more technical, and the deco- ration methods are changing, too," Jackson says. "Performance fabrics are finer, and companies are figuring out how to make heat-seal technol- ogy, like patches, stick on all those different fabrics. As long as you con- trol the temperatures, they adhere to almost any material." Newer to outerwear is the silicone heat transfer, which creates a raised effect for a clean, polished look. "We're at the beginning stages of this, but it looks promising," Nick- erson says. "It's a step up from screen printing because it doesn't compro- mise the garment. You can run into problems if you're not using the cor- rect materials when screen printing on a waterproof jacket, so we're al- ways looking for better avenues." Although heat transfers work on most fabrics, there are cases where they aren't the best method, says Jeff Silcock, senior marketing manager for Stormtech. For certain outwear, like a softshell material, laser etching or embossing may be a better option. "We've been doing more logos etched in the same color as the jack- et, like black on black," Barreca says. "It's a very high-end look. It's subtle, but you can still see it." While there are plenty of new ways to dress up outerwear, decorators shouldn't jump into trends with both feet, as traditional methods like em- broidery will always have their place. "It's smart to have as many offer- ings as you can to fill the gap of any order," Nickerson says. LOCATION, LOCATION Just as it's shortsighted only to con- sider traditional embroidery with outerwear, it's also a mistake to deco- rate the upper left chest exclusively. Today's end users are looking for more creativity when it comes to the location of embellishments. "It always used to be left chest, but a lot more people are trying to change where they're putting the dec- RELY ON VENDORS 46 || P R I N T W E A R A U G U S T 2 0 1 7 OUTERWEARTRENDS I s outerwear new to you? Or, do you find it difficult to keep up with trends in the category? Don't go it alone. Use your suppliers as a resource. They are typically happy to answer questions and help in many ways. "Coatings can change and something that has worked for years all of a sudden stops working correctly," Charles River Apparel's Noel Nickerson says. "If the chemicals change, it changes the way we have to decorate so we're constantly testing to make sure our product is up to snuff." Ask your vendors about their wash-and-wear testing. The findings can be helpful in guiding your decisions for which embellishments to use and which to avoid. They should know, for example, whether a heat transfer will stay on a particular material after repeated washings or whether cer- tain colors will bleed. If your supplier doesn't do routine testing, it may be time to find someone new. Outerwear suppliers may also be a great resource for outsourcing. "They may use us for specialty decoration they lack equipment for, like a laser bridge or appliqué machine," Gina Barreca, Vantage Apparel, says. "They don't have to tell their clients they don't have one. They can utilize us to supplement their sales. Or it may be a capacity issue, like a large order that would take down their production for two weeks. They can send it to us so they can maintain daily business and use us as backup." Finally, vendors are typically happy to provide spec products, which can help you with decoration placement and help your customers visual- ize the finished product. "Take advantage of that expertise," Jeff Silcock, Stormtech, says. "We provide a lot of visuals, like storyboards and mockups, to show various methods will look like and help push that sale through."

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