Fabrics - Nice Mix

Mélange Is A Versatile Material

MelangeThe distinctive pattern of mélange fabric makes it a perfect choice for fresh, retail-inspired promotions these days. Industry suppliers offer everything from full-zip hoodies to lightweight tech polos in mélange, making it an ideal style to transition clients from winter to spring. Also known as heathered fabric, mélange is traditionally made of dyed and undyed fibers weaved together inconsistently, resulting in a unique, eye-catching pattern. Wearers will appreciate the soft hand, striking design and plethora of garment styles available.

“The demand for mélange is strengthening because its fabric variation adds to the garment’s visual value,” says Andrea Routzahn, vice president of portfolio and supplier management at alphabroder (asi/34063), which currently offers a mélange bonded fleece jacket (88697/78697), piqué heather polo (DG210/DG210W) and performance shirt (87045/77045). “We’re seeing this trend across many applications, from basic performance tees and polos in uniforming brands, to corporate outfitting with outerwear, fleece and wovens.

And, the markets that this kind of fabric appeals to are widely varied. “It’s especially popular for corporate, team and activewear applications,” Routzahn says, “but it’s been resonating in all markets.”

Gina Barreca, director of marketing at Vantage Apparel (asi/93390), says that, while traditional gray and blue shades continue to own the day, brighter colors, especially for women, are gaining traction when it comes to heathered materials. “Mélange is showing up in all types of silhouettes, from classic jacket styles to sportier activewear pieces,” says Barreca. “It adds interest to a fabric, which gives the garment a higher perceived value.”

Jerico Sportswear (asi/63304) offers the retail-inspired Artisan Mélange collection, including a short-sleeve henley (10S), long-sleeve henley (10L), crewneck sweatshirt (76) and full-zip hoodie (74). “Sales have consistently grown,” says Salmaan Andani, director of business development. “Mélange is a brilliant, understated look that can be dressed up or down. Colleges like our classic hooded and crewneck styles because they’re campus wardrobe staples, and the marbled finish provides a great palette for student logos and emblems.”

When pitching mélange, it’s important for distributors to stress to their clients that it’s a style currently found at retail, which in turn emphasizes a brand’s forward-looking image, says Routzahn. “I’d say it’s beyond just a trend,” she adds. “It’s becoming a new key category, so it’s a must-have in any quality supplier’s collection.”