Decoration - Make it Shine

Appliques, Embellishments Can Make Apparel Program Stand Out

Hoodie'Tis the season to embellish, as high-end designers such as Chloe, Valentino, Moschino and Louis Vuitton have so graciously done in their summer and fall 2013 collections. Whether it's adding metal accents to high-heeled boots, colorful gemstones to handbags or fancy embroidery to skirts and dresses, today's top fashion gurus are implementing this style with inspired zest.

Lori Janke, art director for Art Unlimited Sportswear (asi/36978), states that embellished apparel within the promotional arena continues to enjoy consistent success, especially in the wake of its popularity within high fashion and the retail industry.

"Customers are always looking for something different," she says. "Trying new types of fabrics, colors and unusual textures is always a great idea."

One attractive feature of appliquéd and embellished apparel is that it adds a three-dimensional, tactile aspect to a product. "Appliqué and embellishments make people want to touch and feel the decoration and determine how it was created," Janke says. The result? Promotional recipients spending more time with an item and increasingly wanting to share it, all of which creates more impressions for the garment and logo on it.

Janke mentions a few embellishment trends she's been witnessing within the promotional market. "Appliquéd apparel is still a hot item for decorators," she says, "and distressed appliqué is very popular for customers looking for fashion-forward designs. Multimedia designs are also appealing."

She suggests incorporating more than one embellishment technique as a way to differentiate your client's company or brand from another. "Mixing appliqué, embroidery, print and even rhinestones can distinguish your design and logo from the ordinary," she says.

Because appliqué and embellishment types range so widely, they can be applied to several types of industries. Depending on the price point, such products make excellent giveaways and employee gifts for either men or women.