June '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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A FOCUS ON FABRICS, DYES, AND TEXTURES OUTSIDE THE BASIC COTTON T 3 2 P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 9 S pecialty, according to Merriam- Webster, is a noun, often attribu- tive, defined as 1. "a distinctive mark or quality" and 2. "a special object or class of objects: such as a product of a special kind." When apply- ing this definition to the world of blank garments, it opens the floodgates to a lot of possibilities. Specialty Ts can be defined as anything outside the basic but classic 100% cotton T-shirt. Let's look at exactly what that entails, what it means for decorators, and how producers can better navigate and capitalize in the specialty apparel market. FABRICATION BREAKDOWN Keeping those keywords of 'distinctive' and 'special' in mind, let's dive into what's popu- lar in the wholesale market right now. Blank apparel manufacturers are dishing out vari- ous kinds of eco garments in hemp viscose, organic cotton pique, RPET/organic cot- ton blends, and eco tri-blends. Overall, the market is picking up on eco-friendly fibers, softer hands, and flexibility, says Royal Apparel's Glen Brumer, and experts agree across the board. Regarding blends, both Brumer and Marcus Davis of HanesBrands, point out that combining different fibers in varying percentages creates a new appear- ance, changing the way the garment feels and elevating the traditional 100% cotton T. Davis adds that it also affects the way the garment dyes. "If you have a heavy cotton blend, and you dye only the cotton, you will end up with a darker, richer heather. If you flip that and you only dye the synthetic fiber, you may have a bright, light shade of that exact same color but a completely dif- ferent look. If you are going for super soft, you might put more modal into it. If you are looking for more stretch, you can add more spandex. There are so many things Outside the realm of eco- friendly blends, different wash treatments and prints like burn- outs and camo are considered distinctive and specialty. (Im- age courtesy Royal Apparel) Something Special A L E X A N D R I A A R R O Y O

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