Trends - Rain Jackets

They Present Versatile Promotional Canvas For Many Types Of Clients

Rain JacketsRain jackets present a versatile promotional canvas for many types of clients.

The traditional yellow rain slicker is often constructed of polyester-backed PVC, making it durable and waterproof in all kinds of weather. But now, industry suppliers are meeting rising client demand for lightweight alternatives that are perfect for a variety of applications year-round.

"Lightweight jackets are designed for more than just summer use," says Shelley Renning, general merchandise manager at SanMar (asi/84863). "What might be worn during a summer rain in one part of the country could be a winter jacket in another. Extending the use of one jacket into multiple seasons adds more perceived value to the garment while meeting the immediate spring or summer use."

In addition to water-resistance and breathability, added features can make a lightweight rain jacket perfect for all-season wear. "Design features such as ventilation under the arms and at center back can help cool down the body," Renning says, "while adjustability at the cuffs, hem, waist or hood help to customize the protection needed for unexpected showers. Also, consider the packability; it should be easy to throw into a day pack or bag."

Vanessa Keefe, vice president of marketing at Charles River Apparel (asi/44620), says that the strongest sales of lightweight rainwear take place in the fall, while the springtime comes in second. "Now, we're adding bright colors to our line, including aqua, coral and buttercup, to match a variety of branding efforts," she says.

Though lightweight rainwear may seem appropriate only for niche markets and thus is not always top-of-mind on sales calls, Keefe recommends pitching it as a unique idea. "Many times, end-users will add a rainwear item to their jacket assortment," she says. "It's also a great gift item for executives, company employees or even parents with athletic kids, who may sit in the rain as spectators."

Other popular markets, says Keefe, include construction, landscaping, utility providers and cable companies, as well as service sectors like EMTs, firefighters and police.

"I encourage distributors to think beyond the obvious markets," she says. "A nationally-renowned cancer charity chose our women's New Englander rain jacket in pink as a reward for fundraisers and donors when they hit a specific dollar volume. It was an incredibly successful campaign."