February '20

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 2 0 F E B R U A R Y P R I N T W E A R 3 3 C ompanies needing to outfit their staff in uniforms and workwear want special features that make sense for the work environment, but their employees, too, expect to be comfortable and stylish. They want to wear flattering cuts and not dread getting dressed for the job because they don't like the look or color. "Some of these special features are prac- tical…like moisture-wicking, stain resis- tance and easy care," says John Perez, mar- keting manager of Tri-Mountain Apparel. "Other design features like slim-fitting, jacquard knits and tailored cuts are what end-users have come to expect as we see the retail industry influence the promo- tional apparel industry." THE PERFORMANCE OF WORKWEAR Any special features need to consider the use of the clothing item, says Janine Oates, design director of SanMar Corporation. "When considering trends for uniforms and workwear, it is always critical to consid- er the use first and foremost with a focus on utility, mobility, and comfort," Oates says, adding that just like for athletes, apparel for employees "needs to perform just like they do." "Taking trends from sport athletes has infused the workwear realm with more per- formance and elevated expectations for how workwear functions." Traditionally, workwear is loosely cut with the thought that more room in a garment allows for greater mobility, Oates states. But, "As most athletes know, the closer to the body, the less bulk and weight as well as more mobility." As such, workwear has been adopting some of the trends from the athletic and leisure markets by mimicking their more modern, tailored cuts and lines, says Meg Bowser, product manager of Tingley Rub- ber. "You're seeing more of a balance be- tween fashion and function than you have in the past, along with more incorpora- tion of technology into the design of PPE (personal protective equipment) using higher-end, technical fabrics," she explains. The close cuts also are ideal for layering, which can address multiple uses and weath- er changes with base layers fitting closer to the body and mid- and outer layers fitting over them, Oates adds. "Comfort is key no matter the environment, so choosing gar- ments that keep the user comfortable en- ables them to perform at their best longer." In addition, it's important to think about who will be wearing the garment. "There's a demand for women's styles that are cut and designed to fit a woman's figure more comfortably," Mo says. Women have tired of wearing polos and want something that is more feminine, such as a half zip with a small stand collar or zippered mock color, Moxley said. "They don't want a polo, especially men's polos, sized for ladies. It's not very flatter- ing," Moxley says. As such, many compa- nies offer companion styles with different design details for men and women but still match in fabric and color. No matter the fit, look, and performance aspects, companies expect to see consis- Make it Work UNIFORMS AND WORKWEAR THAT HELP GET THE JOB DONE S H E L L E Y W I D H A L M Companies seek additional quali- ties in uniforms and workwear that depend on the job and geographical area. (Image cour- tesy Tri-Mountain)

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