Designs - Nice in Stripes

Look Is Expanding The Appeal Of Promotional T-shirts

Nice in StripesThe stripe look is expanding the appeal of promotional T-shirts.

From thin to thick, stripes have always been a style staple. On occasion, they’ll take a backseat in fashion, only to be revived brighter and bolder than before. This year, designers such as DKNY and Tommy Hilfiger incorporated more multicolored stripes onto the runway, reminding the world that stripes can appeal to a wide variety of consumers.

When you consider how many ways shirts with stripes can be employed, it makes sense that stripes continue to gain converts, particularly in the promotional market. Distributors can find stripes on many different apparel products and accessories, but for apparel, the pattern is in higher demand on products such as the venerable T-shirt, which accounts for about a quarter of overall promotional products sales.

“People are more likely to have a little more fun with their wardrobes during the warmer months, and stripes are a great way to inject a little playfulness without being over the top,” says Albert Samuels, senior merchandiser at Alternative Apparel (asi/34850).

This trend toward stripes, suppliers say, provide distributors with a unique spin on T-shirts that they can provide to clients. While many traditional buyers will gravitate toward white, black and grey T-shirts, other progressive buyers looking to appeal to a more fashionable consumer, can go with a striped look – something that’s much more prevalent in the supplier catalogs today than they had been in previous years.

Stripes are also a good way to mix things up in a consumer’s wardrobe without being drastic. “It’s about simplicity, wearability and being just the right amount of different to increase long-lasting impressions,” says Mark Robinson, vice president of imprintable sales at Alternative Apparel. Stripes often add that little something extra.

When it comes to printing on stripes, subtle-yet-noticeable designs are essential. Robinson says stripes tend to work best with one- or two-color artwork – the key being you don’t want the artwork disappearing in the stripes.

“Screen printers are more comfortable with printing on stripes now,” says Margaret Crow, director of marketing at S&S Activewear (asi/84358), in part because the current trend for embellishments and designs is less about being precise and more about stretching all over the garment.

“Now is the time to suggest stripes to all markets because your customers may not be thinking of stripes as an option,” Crow adds.