Trends - Wrap it Up

Promo Apparel Industry Taking Advantage Of Scarves' Popularity

ScarfWhile scarves have traditionally been an essential item in women's fashion, over the past few seasons they have successfully entered the men's market as well. Celebrities like Hugh Jackman, David Beckham and Cuba Gooding, Jr. were recently spotted on the red carpet with tasseled winter scarves paired with their suits and blazers, and retailers like Old Navy, Eddie Bauer and Lacoste currently offer scarves in a variety of soft blends and patterns.

Meanwhile, the promotional apparel industry is taking advantage of scarves' popularity by selling them as teamwear, year-end gifts and incentive items.

"The demand for scarves in general has increased significantly this year compared to the past two years," says Paulo Tang, operations manager for Apollo Group (asi/73392) at its New Jersey facility. "We didn't expect the kind of demand in which we're out of stock on some key colors like red."

One of the company's unisex scarves (WWS-6800) is made of 100% wool and comes in plaid and a variety of neutral colors, like camel and light gray. "This item seems to be the piece most often purchased for a male crowd," says Tang.

Meanwhile, Wolfmark (asi/98085) offers a complete line of men's scarves, including those in fleece, acrylic, bamboo, wool and cashmere. "Because of the increased fashion exposure of scarves for men," says President Bruce Everakes, "we're definitely seeing more of a demand for our scarf line. We made our men's wool scarves longer and narrower for a more fashionable look. We also recently added bright solid-color bamboo scarves to our plaid bamboo scarf offerings that have been popular."

While some clients may hesitate to offer scarves as a promotional item, incentive offering or year-end gift for men, Everakes says they're an ideal item for the winter months, and not just because of the celebrity-driven demand for them.

"Like an ice scraper, a scarf is always a winter necessity," he says. "They actually make a great winter corporate gift because they will definitely be used. We've seen an increase in demand for our glove and scarf set combinations in our fleece line, and companies will pair them with winter corporate travel destination events as part of a gift pack."