Trends - Dots All

Polka Dots Back In A Fresh Way

Polka DotsLooking for a different pattern to suggest to progressive clients? Try the increasingly popular polka dots.

Polka dots are a classic pattern that have been sported by everyone from flamenco dancers to rockabilly singers. Now they are back in a fresh way. Fashion house Dolce & Gabbana offers a calfskin box handbag with spicy red dots, while Fendi and Miu Miu currently carry heeled sandals featuring striking black-and-white dots in unique locations.

But polka dots aren’t just for haute couture applications. In the promotional industry, Assertive Creativity (asi/37166) offers cashmere-feel scarves and polyester ties that feature this eye-catching design. Product Manager Peter Schlieckmann says that, while it’s currently popular with younger demographics, the dotted pattern also evokes the staying power of a brand.

“They gained traction in the 1920s,” he says, “and were made popular by Minnie Mouse. Then Frank Sinatra sang about them in ‘Polka Dots and Moonbeams’ in 1940, and fashion houses started to take them to the runways. Companies with an appreciation for retro American flavor would do well with them.”

Boxercraft (asi/41325) serves up dotted flannel pants and boxers, which have proved very successful sellers. In fact, the company’s polka dot pattern and related swiss dot, a smaller version of the polka dot, are its best-selling novelty prints ever, according to marketing director Sherri McCarrell.

“Polka dots of all sizes are hot heading into 2015, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down,” she adds. “They’re very popular in the college market, especially in team colors. Clients can pair dotted bottoms with a tee or hoodie decorated with a dot pattern, or even use the dotted fabric as an appliqué on top.”

Fortunately, polka dots’ versatility means they’re an ideal fit for men’s looks as well. Wolfmark (asi/98085) offers them on ties for a variety of applications. “They’ve been a favorite traditional pattern,” says owner Bruce Everakes, “so we’ve offered a polka-dot pattern in several solid ground colors with white polka dots in both ties and scarves for several seasons. Our most popular seller is the black-and-white combination. It’s perfect for an upscale restaurant: The servers wear a white shirt, white bistro apron and black-and-white dotted tie.”

In addition to apparel, think polka-dotted accessories. Terry Town (asi/90913) offers beach towels and spa wraps in this whimsical pattern.

“Polka dots evoke a youthful look that’s also retro-inspired, so it does really well in younger markets,” says John Thompson, art and advertising supervisor at Terry Town. “These are really popular with home embroiderers and Etsy stores. The spa wraps in particular are popular for bridal parties and sorority events because the large dots frame Greek letters nicely.”