February '20

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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3 4 P R I N T W E A R F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0 tent, uniform colors across batches for items like T-shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, half-zips and outerwear, says Brad Moxley, associate director of corporate for Cutter & Buck. Producing an exact color from batch to batch through the traditional method of piece dyeing can prove a challenge, but using a new technology called spin dyeing can produce an exact match across palettes and different products, he says. Spin dye- ing, involves melting polyester pellets and injecting the dye into the melted polyester, which is extruded into yarn in the desired color. "It's going to be the same color … all the way through to its core. It gives you long-lasting color that's not going to fade," Moxley explains. DESIRED QUALITIES IN WORKWEAR Companies seek additional qualities in uniforms and workwear that depend on the job and geographical area. For instance, moisture-wicking is desired for warmer climates and is a baseline re- quirement for most of the uniforms pro- duced by Tri-Mountain Apparel, since physical labor typically generates sweat, Moxley says. Polyester, unlike cotton un- less it is treated, has moisture-wicking properties and will not absorb moisture, he states. "That's the benefit of wearing poly- ester," Moxley states. "If you're outside on a hot day, your shirt is not going to suck up that moisture. If it does get wet, it's going to dry quickly." "One of the most common complaints about workwear is that it gets hot and heavy, and the moisture-wicking materials can help to mitigate that weight," Bowser adds. "We are also starting to use lighter weight heat-retention fabrics in some of our new outerwear styles that reflect the wearer's own body heat to keep them warmer in cold weather without contrib- uting extra weight." A required feature for some garments is high-visibility reflectivity, such as for con- struction crews that need to meet job-site American National Standards Institute, ANSI, federal requirements and wear bright colors with a certain square inch requirement of reflective taping. For out- erwear, the requirement is usually full zip for easy removal and greater safety. "The U.S. workwear market is still trending toward a functional, utilitarian cut," Bowser explains. "This is particularly evident in the high-visibility market where our designs are somewhat limited due to the constraints of the ANSI/ISEA 107 standard. … The cut of a garment can also allow the wearer more freedom of move- ment or the ability to work overhead with- out their sleeves shortening up. A fuller cut will put less stress on the seams of a garment, but too full of a cut can create a snag hazard for equipment or machinery." Chromaticity is another required feature for outerwear to be made from photo- reflective material. When light is turned onto the material, it passes it back, protect- ing workers during afterhours or in places like dimly lit warehouses. "It looks like a cool, sublimated print on the jacket," Moxley says. "It's a cool way to add photo reflectivity to a garment." PROTECTIVE QUALITIES Additional fabric performance depends on the job, such as UPF, or ultraviolet protec- tion factor, is a desired feature for sun pro- tection specific to garments. For example, some of Cutter & Buck's distributors sell its products to golf courses, which need to outfit the grounds crews with lightweight, breathable garments that pro- tect them from the sun. For uniforms and workwear that needs to be washed frequently, companies seek easy- care garments that can hold up in the wash, are easy to clean, and are durable enough to withstand exposure to chemicals, food, and weather. IL50, or industrial laundry, is for a specific subset of garments worn in environ- ments where chemicals are used. That's to say that employees remove the clothing at the end of the workday for washing, avoid- ing leaving the premises in contaminated materials. The clothing needs to be able to endure heavy-duty wash cycles, which causes materials to break down and quickly wear out. Overall, the most important things to consider in workwear are stylish outfits that well represent a company but also allow its wearer to do their job properly and safely without hindrance. PW Shelley Widhalm is a freelance writer and editor and founder of Shell's Ink Services, a writing and ed - iting service based in Loveland, Colo. She provides editing, writing and ghostwriting services and offers con- sultations on writing and editing. She has more than 15 years of experience in communications and holds a master of arts degree in English from Colorado State University. She can be reached at or Far left: Complementary styles for men and women make for uniformity in an organization while allowing ev- eryone to look their best with special- ized tailoring. (Image courtesy SanMar) Left: Workwear has been adopting some of the trends from the athletic and leisure markets by mimicking their more modern, tailored cuts and lines, as well as adding performance finishes. (Image corutesy SanMar) Right:

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