ISS Long Beach, which took place from January 17-19, proved host to the maturation of several key apparel trends that have grown in the industry over the past few years. Here is what suppliers and decoration equipment companies have in store for 2014.
Pattern: The creeping influence of patterned garments is beginning to be felt. Alternative Apparel (asi/34850) has seen a tremendous response to its printed hoodies, available in patterns like stars and stripes and florals. Camo, too, continues to creep into a number of items. Sweatshirt experts Independent Trading Company brought camo patterns to two of its top-selling hoodie styles. Tri-Mountain (asi/92125) is the only company doing oilfield camo hoodies and sweatshirts. “Oilfield camo is here,” says Danny Tsai, vice president of merchandising for Tri-Mountain. “This camo is becoming a big seller to the U.S. oil industry.”
Transitional Performance Pieces: The demand for performance pieces that can be worn in everyday settings continues to increase. Hanes (asi/59528) has launched its new X-Temp series of garments. The unisex T-shirt is made from a 60/40 ring-spun cotton/poly blend, so the garment wicks but still has a similar hand feel to cotton. It’s available in 10 colors, including five neon heather hues. Expert Performance Tee (asi/53404) has launched a number of new items this year, including yoga pants, color-block shirts and a spaghetti strap tank with built-in bra. All can be used as activewear or everyday items. “We don’t look at ourselves as just a performance brand anymore,” says Merchandising Developer Nino Phimphachanh. “We see ourselves as a lifestyle brand.”
Direct-to-Garment Printing: The wide variety of direct-to-garment printers now available means decorators have more choices than ever before with this burgeoning technology. But a sea change is forming, particularly with the arrival of the Epson SureColor series of printers. Stahls’ ID Direct (asi/88984) has thrown its considerable weight behind the printer as a distributor, after revealing an aborted attempt a few years ago to develop its own machine. Marketing Director Joe Longtin of AnaJet (asi/16000), which owns the largest market share of DTG revenue and sells its own printers, believes that many manufacturers that outfitted their printers with Epson print heads will now be confronted with a choice. “It’s either become an Epson distributor or close your doors,” he says.