Wearables Magazine

Online Exclusive - Product Analysis
Supplement to "Wearables Trendsetters 2013"
By C.J. Mittica

How do our Wearables Trendsetters go about creating some of the most unique garments in the industry? We found out by asking them to break down the creations of which they are proudest.

Heathered Microfiber Polo
Bjorn Bengtssen, Creative Director, Greg Norman (asi/93390)

Heathered Microfiber Polo (GNS3K430)

Collar: “We added a fully-fashioned knit collar to provide a touch of sophistication and style that our customers have come to expect from the Greg Norman Collection,” Bengtssen says. “Any time I can create a ‘new basic’ that is adopted by our customers, all the hard work pays off!”

Fabric: Heather fabrics are common with tees and sweatshirts, but rare in golf apparel, Bengtssen says. “By blending two different types of polyesters,” he adds, “we succeeded in creating an interesting fabric that has more depth and surface interest than a typical solid fabric, yet remains basic enough to become every guy’s ‘go-to’ polo shirt.”

Design: “One of the most challenging aspects of men's design is the re-invention of a basic garment. Basics comprise a crucial component in any guy’s wardrobe. Yet this is what my team and I face with every season for Greg Norman.” While the heathered microfiber polo is a basic style, it’s quickly become a top favorite with customers.

Roger Birden, Business Development, RN'B Parts (asi/202900)

Grand Ole Opry Shirt

Decoration: Each quarter, the Grand Ole Opry requests new design creations for apparel to sell to the public. For this piece, Birden decided to create a patriotic look that would resonate with the Opry’s target audiences. “I wanted a design that would have red/white/blue in it, as well as a gothic look,” says Birden. “I decided to showcase the fairly large design on a black tee. I thought that this design would be received by the public in a positive manner, and it has.”

Logo: To give the logo pop, Birden used multiple colors. “We used three imprint colors with flash to print the logo across the chest,” he says.

Tags: Custom tags are growing increasingly popular. Birden tapped into the trend. “We customized the neck tag to showcase the customer’s logo,” he says.

Grand Ole Opry Shirt
Eco Smurfs Shirt
Cloud Ettinger, Founder and CEO, Red Cloud Promotions (asi/305616)

Eco Smurfs Shirt

Fabric: “We chose a lightweight fabric because the client wanted them really soft and didn’t want thick, coated ink,” Ettinger says. “They also wanted huge adult sizes and this allowed us to get the soft touch without compromising any detail.”

Ink: With an eco-conscious angle, Red Cloud presented two options to the client: water-based screen printing and digital printing. “Out of the two,” she says, “our client chose digital printing because the colors appear crisper and brighter than water-based.”

Design: “The Smurfs are being rebranded so a whole new generation of children will get to know them in this modern sense,” Ettinger says. “We wanted to make a shirt that would be fun for the kids and the parents, and that’s hard to do.” The idea: a naughty and nice theme – since the movie features grey “naughty” smurfs and the traditional blue “nice” smurfs – that would be both accessible to kids and adults. “I think I’m so proud of it,” she says, “because it really is something fun that I would wear, and it’s also something I would feel comfortable putting on my son knowing that there were no harmful additives used in its creation.”

Todd Hirshman, Creative Designer, Vapor Apparel (asi/93396)

Cooper River Bridge Run Race Shirts

Design: Hirshman designed the men and women’s special edition shirts for last year's Cooper River Bridge Run. Vapor’s compression and athletic material were chosen for feel and wicking ability. In the end, the year was added to the material to make the shirts specific to that year’s race as well as a special edition.

Pattern: “Charleston, South Carolina is known as The Holy City,” says Hirshman, “so I worked in Photoshop to give one of the images a stained glass effect. For the men's shirt, I clipped the image inside a group of male runners and decided to do the same for the ladies. I had to position the photo so that the two towers of the bridge were present, as they are iconic of the race and part of The Bridge Run's logo.”

Colors: Gradient colors were added to both versions to fill out the shirts.

Cooper River Bridge Run Race Shirts
Silk Tie and Scarf Set
Diane Katzman, President, Diane Katzman Design (asi/63988)

Silk Tie and Scarf Set

Design: The scarf colors and design were based on the logo and PMS colors of the United Soybean Board. Soybean images were incorporated into the design in a subtle background pattern. The tone-on-tone silk ties are produced in three different sizes: regular, long and extra-long. “I think they represent how we truly listen to our clients' needs in our designing, manufacturing and pricing,” Katzman says.

Tags: Custom tags were created for the ties and scarves to give them a unique appeal.

Fabric: Katzman used soybean fibers to create ties for her soybean farming clients in the past, but decided to delve into more delicate fabrics for this line and opted for silk instead.

Mabel Kwok, Director of Design and Merchandising, Ash City (asi/37143)

Two-Tone Soft Shell Jacket (88686/78686)

Design: The COMMUTE jacket (88686 for men’s, 78686 for women’s) has a unique soft shell fabric that is subtle yet distinctive. Other design details include an inside stylized storm placket with a uniquely shaped chin guard and metal snap at the bottom, a brushed tricot-lined stylized shaped collar and concealed lower pockets, as well as an underarm/back vent system for added breathability. It also features heat-reflect technology

Pattern: The tonal plaid pattern on this garment brings city sophistication to life. “Overall, we wished to capture a sophisticated city look with a plaid tailored fabric, and blend solid color panels that highlight the style lines,” says Kwok. “A successful garment should also blend fashion with functional elements, and the COMMUTE does just that.”

Fabric: The water-resistant properties and three-layer bonded fabric keeps individuals warm and sheltered from the elements.

Two-Tone Soft Shell Jacket
Sub-Zero Hoodie
Jason Neve, Creative Director, Boardroom Eco Apparel (asi/40705)

Sub-Zero Hoodie

Design: Neve took inspiration from last year’s retail trend of hoodies that zip all the way up the face. “One thing I liked about that style of hoodie is the way the printing on the hood looks when the hood was worn down, with the artwork sort of folded, draped and piled on itself,” he says. “It reminded me of a layered look, with a scarf tucked in under a parka or ski jacket which adds flash to an outfit.” In the past, Boardroom sold hoodies with matching sublimated bandannas, so Neve decided to include it in the actual construction of the hoodie as a prototype. “A few prototypes later,” he says, “we have a hoodie with a built-in face-mask that can be worn a number of different ways, including folded away behind your neck, as a fashionable neck gaiter, or pulled up as a face mask. The hoodie is a cool marketing billboard, and the built-in face-mask is warm and cozy, covering your cheeks and nose up to the eyeballs.”

Sublimation: “I’ve printed everything from a trail map to a skull motif on the front panel, and really enjoyed a lot of success with this style.”

Color: The flatlock stitching accent and zipper color match the artwork on the face-mask. “I’ll often repeat the logo on the left-chest, sleeve or back as a silk-screen or embroidery in the same color,” he says.

Howard Potter, CEO, A&P Master Images

A&P Self-Promo Shirt

Body: Potter wanted to create an eye-catching self-promotional T-shirt with a laser appliqué design. His first step was finding a tee that would work well with laser appliqué. He discovered what he needed in the PC61 from SanMar (asi/84863). “It’s 100% preshrunk cotton, which is a very durable fabric,” Potter says.

Reverse appliqué: For this reverse appliqué design, Potter cut the material from the same style shirt. “We created a step and repeat design that would finish saying our name in the main two letters in our company’s name,” he says. “It keeps you reading left to right on one line at all times.” Potter took a PC61 and printed a two-color design on it. From there, he cut it out of the shirt that he had printed on. Next, he hooped the final shirt on an embroidery machine which the laser machine is attached to. In order to do the reverse appliqué, Potter had to hoop the screen-printed fabric on the inside of the shirt, and then cut out the shirt layer with a laser and weeded it away. “We chose to do the reverse appliqué before doing the top appliqué since it was the hardest part of the design,” says Potter. “If that came out perfect, then the rest was downhill from there.”

Top appliqué: This portion of the design is also cut from a PC61 shirt. “We kept it solid so it would pop from the rest of the design,” says Potter. “We did this step last by laying the cut PC61 fabric on top of the hooped T-shirt. We then cut it with the laser and weeded it away. After that, you have the final piece fully decorated.”

Self-Promo Shirt
OGIO’s Elixir Tunic
Shelley Renning, General Merchandise Manager, SanMar (asi/84863)

OGIO’s Elixir Tunic (LOG118)

Fabric: “We searched for a fabric that had a striated heather effect, which is also a trend in all markets from active to lifestyle brands, but we wanted it to have a soft drape, which is critical to allow for feminine styling,” Renning says. “Polyester combined with spandex and wicking technology gave us the perfect combination of street chic, easy care, and performance attributes.”

Buttons: “Simple details that can be overlooked – such as ensuring that buttons are placed at the apex of the bust to create less gapping and reviewing patterns so the garment is balanced and doesn’t ride back on the body – do not cost extra but make a huge difference in the comfort and functionality of a garment.”

Body: Inspiration for this tunic came from ruching and gathered details as well as longer-length tunics that were popular in the ’80s and experiencing a revival now. “Although initial designs had more gathering, we made adjustments to accommodate the decoration area by removing it at the shoulder so the chest area was easy to logo,” Renning says. “We transferred the ruching to the sleeve to give a nod to the trend without being too overt. Tunics can also be challenging to fit on different body types, so we added a low waist drawcord to help customize the fit.”

Neckline: “With a final look at the neckline, we took off the collar and created an open henley neckline – so flattering, yet still professional and easy to dress up or down.”

Dean Schwartz, President, Sobo Concepts (asi/329592)

Cross Fit Shirt

Shirt: Schwartz created this custom cut-and-sew garment by Guru (asi/58683) for a CrossFit center. “The customer was adamant on the florescent yellow color,” Schwartz says. “We also needed to find a matching ladies racerback tank. The shirt is 100% moisture-wicking polyester.”

Imprint: Sobo put its creative muscles to work to conjure this dragon design, which drew inspiration from the CrossFit center. “We designed this shirt from scratch, playing off of a dragon that someone had painted in the gym,” says Schwartz. “The design includes front left chest, side and back imprints.”

Decoration: “We used plastisol ink for a vibrant, crisp look on the front chest, side and back imprints. Special attention had to be paid to the side imprint, as printing over seams can be quite challenging.”

Cross Fit Shirt
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