Stand Out With Pastels

Pastel Coloring Isn’t Just For The Spring Season

Thanks to consumer and couture trends, pastels can no longer be pigeonholed to maternity wards, Easter parades and granny’s closet. They’re making a statement at all levels of fashion and at all times of the year – from catwalks to retail racks to promotional showrooms. At recent Fashion Weeks in London and New York, designers such as J.W. Anderson, Emilia Wickstead and BCBG Max Azria showcased outerwear, dresses and accessories in pale pinks, light blues, soft lilacs and seafoam greens. In fact, this classic springtime palette is now popping up all year round, often paired with neutral colors for balance.

In the promotional industry, suppliers are capitalizing on pastels’ popularity by offering them in women’s, youth and even men’s styles. “Athleisure is becoming a staple trend, and with these more streamlined silhouettes, fabrics can be bolder, while colors remain muted,” says Vicki Ostrom, senior designer at SanMar (asi/84863). “We’re seeing more heathers and more textured fabrics in the pastel palette, and the ombré trend fits here as well.”

Next Level Apparel (asi/73867) offers a variety of pastel-inspired colors, including peaches and cream, banana cream, light pink, mint and Tahiti blue. “These are really trending strongly right now,” says Mark Seymour, chief sales officer. “We offer them in most of our styles, including men’s, unisex, V-necks, tanks, women’s fit, and our kids’ and princess tees.”

Seymour says the demand for pastels in unisex and men’s styles has been an especially interesting phenomenon to watch. “Men like our light blue, Tahiti blue and mint,” he adds. “While pastels are still popular for traditional promotional use, they’re big right now in tour and band merchandise, particularly for music festivals. We find that festivals really influence color palettes across the industry. Younger people nowadays wear and use colors that aren’t traditional, so that means color stories such as neons and pastels stick around for much longer. We’re expecting pastels to stay for the next two or three years.”

Accessories in pastel hues can also add a touch of whimsy to a promotional program. Heritage Sportswear powered by Virginia T’s (asi/60582) offers hats, visors, beach towels and bags in this color palette, with additional pastels from MV Sport/Weatherproof (asi/68318) and J. America (asi/62977) joining the mix in 2016.

“Our items sell best to resorts, sororities, health-care facilities, spas and gift shops,” says Cindy Baker, public relations and promotions manager for Heritage. “Distributors and decorators often use a subtle tone-on-tone approach, with a darker shade of the garment’s color in the decoration.”