Trends - The Gingham Comeback

Color And Pattern Staple Of Days Gone By Is Shining Again

GinghamWhen it comes to fashion, today's looks can definitely be described as "throwbacks." High fashion lines and runways are crowded with vintage trends that have been adapted and improved for modern style.

A favorite blast-from-the-past over recent seasons is gingham. The checkered two-tone pattern was the go-to look for housewives in the mid 1950s and is now being reborn as a chic, sophisticated, and fun pattern that's adorning everything from formal wear to sleepwear.

"I think there is just a big revival of the retro look in fashion," says Cindy Sims, PR & promotions manager at Heritage Sportswear (asi/60582).

While gingham appears as a print for summer dresses or tank tops, it's also being used on winter jackets, men's dress shirts and children's clothing. According to Ashley Adams, marketing coordinator at S&S Activewear (asi/84358), this versatility is largely the cause for its popularity.

"We offer the gingham pattern in a variety of colors which allows the customer to wear the garments year-round," says Adams. This makes gingham an ideal pattern for promotional apparel.

Due to the popular retail demand for the pattern, Heritage Sportswear now includes gingham Van Heusen men's dress shirts in its product lineup. "Businesses everywhere are becoming more relaxed about their dress codes," says Sims, "so I think that's a great target market for the pattern. If need be, it can look very professional paired with a solid color tie but it can also be casual if worn with a pair of jeans."

In addition, Adams attributes gingham's success to the pizzazz it can add to a garment. "It's a consistent pattern that gives the product a trendier look than just a solid color would," she says.

However, it is important to be cautious when decorating gingham for promotional apparel. "For decorators, sometimes any kind of pattern is a deterrent," Sims warns. "It can be a challenge to add decoration to any pattern that has a horizontal stripe. If you have a long logo that has a definite horizontal Y, you run the risk of it looking crooked against the pattern. But with a round logo or emblem, it's not an issue."

Branding issues aside, there's no denying the pattern's rising popularity. "Wholesale mimics retail but lags about a year and a half," says Sims. "The pattern has been huge in retail so the promotional apparel industry is now picking it up."