February '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 F E B R U A R Y P R I N T W E A R 3 3 are looking for expertise. Shops need to be able to offer solutions. For concert or festival looks, a cropped style, pair of joggers, muscle tanks, striped Ts, and overall relaxed fits are a good start. For team wear, Brumer suggests raglan Ts and fleece while Beasley says solid and heather basics are ideal. For the col- lege scene, Picker suggests loungewear, oversized Ts, and crop tops. To help guide the customer, Seymour suggests choosing a few fabrics—at least one cotton and one poly blend—as well as a few different styles including relaxed and fitted. Then, give them a rundown of possible embellishments. "If possible, choose a sophisticated garment and pair (it) with a simple print or graphic," he advises. You don't want to give your customer so many options that it makes the decision harder. "Place the garments in categories based on fit and or demographic. This will solidify you as the expert versus putting it all in your client's hands," says Picker. It's also important to remember that apparel manufacturers do their due diligence in market research, whether it's staying relevant via social media channels or pop culture like music, tech, and entertainment. However, it's also critical that shops do the same. Beasley and Brumer en- courage decorators to get out of the shop and explore what's in retail, walk college campuses, follow key influencers on Insta- gram, and keep an eye on what's in the media. Having boots on the ground will give significant tells to on-trend graphics, colors, garment cuts, and embellishments. Beasley adds that big retail stores "spend millions to follow and learn the trends before putting anything onto their floors." Peruse retail racks and take your in- formation back to the shop to reinvent or recre- ate good finds. Brumer even suggests that shops create their own Instagram accounts to serve as a portfolio of work. In turn, this can generate more business while also having a visual aid for future clients to gain inspiration. If you're a shop that sees a gap in the deco- rated juniors' apparel market or maybe you're an at-home hobbyist looking to get a brand off the ground, these fabric and decoration insights are for you. Do your research, get in touch with the end user, and familiarize yourself with these fabric and decoration pairings. As Beasley puts it, "In reality, it is always the graphic that sells the garment. Nobody ever bought a cute garment with an ugly design! The blank garment is the can- vas for the designer to create." PW To get a good idea of what the customer wants, Mark Seymour, Next Level Apparel, suggests asking these four basic questions to help narrow the options: • Solid or heather? • Cotton or blended fabric? • Fitted or relaxed style? • Solid or color block? Left: Soft fabric styles like 40-singles 65/35 poly/cotton Ts are great for the concert, lounge, or team wear category. (Image courtesy Royal Apparel) Right: This year, decorators should be on the lookout for fashion details like pleats, cut-out backs, exposed shoulders, and curved hemlines. (Image courte - sy American Apparel)

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