March '20

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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4 2 P R I N T W E A R M A R C H 2 0 2 0 LET'S TALK MATERIAL The materials used in women's clothing are usually softer, thin- ner, more sheer, and often have a fine texture. Take some time to get samples from your distributors. Get to know what shirts will hold up to the printing process, or if the shirt is going to be difficult to em- broider. You wouldn't print on a woven but- ton-down shirt, so you would want to direct your customer to embroidery. But before you sell that shirt, do you have the expertise to em- broider it? Will it require a special needle for the material? Do you have the right stabilizer to ensure it doesn't pucker? And if it requires extra work to produce it, are you pricing it cor- rectly to protect your profit margins? In a similar fashion, if you have T-shirts or items you are going to print, you need to con- sider the curing temperature for the material, the heaviness of the print, the correct ink to use, and whether the shirt has a texture that will show through the design. Many women's items may contain a small percentage of rayon or spandex, which will affect your print process whether you are producing traditional screen print or DTG. LET'S TALK DESIGN In my experience, design and placement is the number one area we as decorators can get into trouble. I recently had a new customer walk into my shop with a T-shirt that had been done by another shop. It was for a high school women's basketball team and the design was printed on a basic T-shirt. The design was a left-chest AND a right-chest logo. Being that it was basketball, both of the designs were circular in nature. Based on the choices the shop had made, it effectively looked like bullseyes were placed over the young women's breasts. Not a good look! That leads me to BREASTS. Yes. Women have breasts and we must discuss them when it comes to design and placement. You can pick the best shirt, nail the fit, and then fall flat on your face when it comes to design and placement. My recommendation for design for women is to keep the design slightly smaller than you would for a unisex or men's design. For ex- ample, if you would normally print a full-front design at 11.5–12" wide, consider making the design for a women's shirt at 8–10.5". This will keep the design from overwhelming the frame of the women wearing the shirt. That being $ELLING WOMENSWEAR N ow that you have the nuts and bolts of womenswear, here are the key questions we ask ourselves and our customers: Who will be wearing the items? I don't want to be stereotypical here, but you need to look at the averages and determine what the best fit will be for the majority of the group. Here's a summary of who will likely be wearing what within this segment. JUNIOR FIT Cheerleading Dance Track Cross Country WOMEN'S/LADIES/MISS- ES FIT AND PLUS SIZE Moms Working women Sports Teams • Basketball • Volleyball • Lacrosse • Soccer What will the items be worn for? CORPORATE WEAR Higher end Wrinkle resistant Stylish Lighter fabrics Does the substrate also come in coordi- nating menswear? WORKWEAR Cost effective Longevity in washing Heavier fabrics Does the substrate also come in coordi- nating menswear? CHEER/DANCE Trendy fashions Washability Alternative deco- rating placement and materials Team pride ATHLETIC TEAMS Durability Washability Team pride Average age of team members? Tip: Offering e-commerce stores? Look for items that are offered in all fits: men's, junior's, women's, plus sizes, and youth. Create a design that will work universally and allow your customers to pick the fit that works best for them! Because mater- ials vary across distributors, be sure to request samples. (Images courtesy Vantage Apparel)

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