Stereotypical promotional apparel comes in the same handful of neutral colors and comes in small, medium or large. But when you walk into your favorite retail stores, you see far more variety. This allows you to choose the exact article of clothing you want. If it’s comfortable and well made, you’ll wear it over and over again. You may even return to the same store if that item wears out and needs to be replaced.
The way Tsedenia Kiros, director of design for Charles River Apparel, sees it, promo apparel can follow many of the same rules as retail apparel and reap the benefits because of it. After all, your clients want their end-users to adore their logoed T-shirt or sweatshirt so much they wear it everywhere. When they do, your client’s logo and message become all the more visible. Talk about multiple impressions!
Here are five retail trends Kiros knows can (and you should) apply to promotional apparel:
1.Variety in color:
In the retail world, colors abound, but basics like black, white, gray and navy prevail among promotional apparel. Kiros says it’s important to embrace color even just in pops here and there. The retail industry is fashion-forward with its view on color and customers love having a rainbow of options. Right now she’s noticing a surge in preppy colors, like pinks, mints and aquas, and enjoys using them to enhance a color palette that would ordinarily be black, gray or navy. “Fashion is creeping into the promotional apparel market,” she says. “And fashion means adding colors to the lineup.” That doesn’t mean getting rid of black and white; it means expanding and thinking about other options that might appeal to end-users.
2. Recognizable patterns:
Something else you see a lot in promotional apparel? Solid colors. But clean, classic patterns are popular in retail because they’re aesthetically pleasing (think stripes and polka dots). Visually, these patterns are easy to understand, pair well with many other articles of clothing and flatter everyone. They also (almost) work as neutrals, allowing you to incorporate logos more easily than you might assume. That makes pieces with these patterns something people will want to wear again and again. “Promotional apparel that incorporates patterns is fashion forward and gives the buyer an alternative to the ordinary. It also helps you sell them at a retail price,” Kiros says.