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Sponsored By: Targeted Media Services Inc - Hanes

Vol 230 / July 14, 2014

Clothes Make The Man
Wearables Managing Editor Joe Haley takes a look at some intriguing hoodie styles in this latest edition of "The Joe Show." Click here to watch.

Trend Alert: Variations of Blue
How to Sell: Fashion Tees
Sales Challenge: Conflict Resolution
What's Hot on
News Briefs
Wearables Terms
Our Favorite Wearables
Ask An Expert
Show List

Trend Alert: Variations of Blue

Fashion brands are moving toward bright shades of blue, like this Olympic blue soft shell jacket (88693) from Ash City (asi/37143). The jacket features water-resistant properties and adjustable, shaped cuffs.

Designers are staying true to blue — long a go-to hue in menswear. These days, however, they've expanded the range of their palette. Take Junya Watanabe's recent Paris show, for example, where indigo was the primary focus.

"There is always the common navy or dark navy being offered for men in fashion, but in terms of trending shades of blue, the classic French blue continues to become a popular choice, especially when it comes to a woven shirt collection," says Elson Yeung, director of private label design and merchandising at alphabroder (asi/34063). "When it comes to fashion shades of blue, both earthier tones and brighter tones are currently very hot at the moment. We're seeing a reversal of what was traditionally common, as many activewear brands are branching into a more organic palette, with shades like slate blue, while other fashion brands are moving toward more vibrant blues, like Olympic blue."

Blue is preferred among consumers because it represents more than just a color. "Blue is the color of travel or movement. It works well with all skin tones and is easy to add accessories or decoration," says Taraynn Lloyd, marketing director of Edwards Garment Co. (asi/51752). "Blue is a fashion color that is a mainstay in everyone's closet and works well for any image apparel program."

While blue is often regarded as a safe color with neutral capabilities, the expansion of options highlights its unique characteristics. It's a step beyond black and grey in that regard, says Yeung. "It's a color that offers various shades equipped to stand out from the crowd and create a unique identity, yet neutral enough to suit different outfits/uses."

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Plus, the color has staying power all year. "Adding a nice variety of colors will allow for blues to have some seasonal options but a larger year-round pallet," says Ashley Nielsen, marketing manager of S&S Activewear (asi/84358).

Edwards Garment offers a variety of blues. Light blue and French blue are featured in dress shirts, while casual shirts and polos come in light blue, navy, royal, French blue, denim, sapphire, marina blue and slate blue. "The wide assortment of blue provides promotional product distributors the ability to change an event color, without changing the style," explains Lloyd.

The trend has mass appeal. "For example, many organizations may choose these various shades of blue to match their company, team or event logo. I also see the trend driven by customers that are interested in active apparel," says Yeung. "Some of the brighter shades of blue are commonly requested by technology companies or a younger demographic."

Advertisement: Fruit of the Loom

'Top' of the Pile
Decorators clash to prove who the best is in the opening round of our Top Decorator contest. Click here to read.

In The Army Now
Military fashions have propelled the popularity of army green clothing. Click here to read.

Course Work
Get to know the latest in golf styles and trends. Click here to read.

Be sure to visit to read these stories and more.

How to Sell: Fashion Tees

Unlike the bulky, boxy T-shirts that dominated promotional apparel for decades, fashion tees offer a trendy, fitted take on the staple. Hundreds of retail stores, including H&M, Forever 21, Gap and Uniqlo, sell inexpensive yet stylish tees with an unfathomable amount of designs and prints. Singer Miley Cyrus and model Cara Delevingne, two young style-setters, are known for their creativity in taking these simple tees and spinning them into high-end, attention-getting items. In sum, these T-shirts are everywhere.

The Next Level terry dolman (6960) shirt from Bodek and Rhodes (asi/40788) features the flowy designs and alternative neck varieties popular in today's fashion tees.
Fashion tees are usually made with softer, lighter fabrics ideal all year long. For women's shirts, in particular, the trend is a more flowy design, allowing for comfort and breathability. Unique fabrics that make each piece an original, such as burnout treatments or slubs, are very popular. "These fabrics allow us to look like part of a team, but still support our needs to feel totally unique," says Mary Ellen Sokalski, director of marketing communications at Bodek and Rhodes (asi/40788). Alternative necklines (V-necks, scoop necks, etc.) and bold colors are other upcoming trends. The design options are nearly unlimited, as long as the shirt is fashion-forward and comfortable.

When looking for a target market for T-shirts, start with a younger demographic who is more likely to dress casually. Colleges are a major consumer of these T-shirts; a fashion tee decorated with their colors or logo allows a student to look stylish, while still showing school spirit. That said, the appeal spans generations, and fashion tees are quickly becoming the preferred choice of many Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

The popularity of workout apparel has also had a significant impact on the fashion tee industry. Athletic and active people are big proponents of fashion tees. They can wear them out and even to the gym. "It used to be that [our Bamboo] tees were just for play and sold to organizations that had a green initiative in place," says Dale Jalovec, manufacturer representative at Brandwear (asi/41545). "Our fashion tees and tops are sold as uniform items for service, spa and corporate as a first-layer piece."

Be aware of the size ranges fashion tees come in (check whether there is extended sizing to fit a larger clientele) as well as fabric variety. Poly tees are perfect canvases for all-over sublimation, while 100% cotton pieces can be personalized with direct-to-garment printing. "Create virtual samples before you come in to show the decorating possibilities," says Sokalski. "The more imprint locations and special treatments, the more profitable your sale can be."

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Do You Know A Wearables Trendsetter?
Do you push the envelope with decoration? Know someone who is raising the industry's style quotient through apparel?

If so, Wearables magazine wants to recognize that person with our annual "Wearables Trendsetter" distinction. We seek to honor the visionaries who are doing incredible work in apparel and decoration.

Who is eligible for the award?

  • Distributors who routinely produce dazzling apparel promotions or retail-worthy custom clothing.
  • Suppliers who craft the trendiest and most innovative items in their company's lines.
  • Decorators with a penchant for creating brilliant and unique prints.
To be eligible, send in a nomination for yourself or someone else in the industry to Editor C.J. Mittica at Please include the person's name, company, qualifications and any examples of his or her high-quality work. The Wearables Trendsetter honor recognizes individual people, not companies. Winners will be profiled in our annual "Style Issue" this September.
Sales Challenge: Conflict Resolution

When clients are irate, a positive, proactive approach can defuse their anger and put you in control. Use this proven strategy to find a speedy resolution – and lower your stress level.

Let Them Vent: When a quality client is upset, they want to be heard. If you interrupt them before they've had their say, you'll only intensify their anger. As they speak (or yell), don't tune them out; pay attention. "Listen for feelings, and listen for the issue or problem," says Barry Maher (, an internationally renowned business sales trainer, speaker and author.

Stay Calm:
When the vent concludes, hold your emotions in check and don't get defensive. Instead, use words the client spoke to ask them if you correctly understand exactly what the issue is. Talk slowly, in a calm tone. This helps de-escalate the situation.

Sympathize: After ascertaining the problem, tell the client you understand where they're coming from and can see why they'd be upset. Phrases like "I understand you're angry" or "I can see why this is frustrating" can go a long way toward cooling the customer down, says Maher. Use them, even if the issue at hand isn't your fault. The person may then begin to view you as more of an ally than an adversary.

Provide A Solution:
Based on the particular problem, you may be able to suggest a solution immediately. If that's not feasible, assure the client you will do everything you can to find a workable fix. "Give them a definite timeframe in which you'll get back to them with an answer – and then make sure you follow-up," says Promo Biz Coach Rosalie Marcus (, an ad specialty industry consultant. Sometimes, the best solution you can offer won't be ideal, but it may be enough to smooth things over and maintain the relationship.

Practice Prevention: Many common problems, says Marcus, can be nipped in the bud by taking preventative steps that include: sending clients tracking numbers with the date when the items will ship; keeping the client in the loop with dates, times and exact product specifications; and connecting with a client after an order to see if they were satisfied.

Piqué Knit: A knitting method that creates a fine textured surface that appears similar to a birds nest or waffle weave.

Rapid Dry: A fabric designed with a unique weave to wick away moisture from the body.

Singles: A term used to indicate the diameter of a yarn; the smaller the number, the thicker the yarn.

Summer Dress

This ankle-length summer dress (993024) is perfectly suited for any party, day or night. It's the quintessential style of the season with a trendy hook thanks to its Indian-inspired look. Made from polyester, its light hand and breezy design are right at home with summer's backyard barbecues and beach parties. The dress comes in a variety of colors and print designs and can feature colorful beaded straps. Available from Dollar Days, Inc. (asi/50287);

Selling Tip: Cultural shops and boutiques will find success selling this dress to a wide of range of ages given its flowy and forgiving design.

American Apparel (asi/35297) has reached an agreement with investment firm and hedge fund company Standard General that will result in the clothing maker receiving $25 million in financial backing.

Ash City/alphabroder (asi/34063) welcomes Tom Alavi as a dedicated sales representative, responsible for the Greater Toronto west territory. In addition, Bernie LeBlanc was appointed the new territory sales representative covering the Atlantic Canada area.

Bag Makers, Inc. (asi/37940) welcomes Amanda Madai as a regional business development manager for New York.

Beacon Promotions Inc. (asi/39250) has launched 19 new mid-year products, including tangle-free shoe lace earbuds, frizzy slippers and CREE lights. For more information, click here.

Boxercraft (asi/41325) will launch its fall catalogue at the ASI Show in Chicago this month. New items include the Trendy Team Flannel Pant, Signature Cotton Boxers and Kickoff Fleece Capri. Go to for more information.

Bullet (asi/42424) has released 20 additional items in the Bullet's Best collection, which includes products in a variety of categories, including bags, drinkware and technology. Visit for more information.

Dalco Athletic is now offering the Dalco Sport Pocket, a custom-printed sublimation pocket that can feature virtually any logo or design. For more information, visit

ERB Safety & Fame Fabrics (asi/51204) have both achieved Product Safety Aware status through PPAI's Product Safety Awareness Program.

Fruit of the Loom (asi/84257) announced that it will be expanding its Summerville, SC, distribution center. The company will add 402,000 square feet and 49 jobs. Visit for more information.

Gildan Activewear Inc. (asi/56842) has completed the acquisition of Doris Inc., effective July 7. Last month, Gildan announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Doris, a Montreal-based manufacturer of hosiery, legwear and other shapewear products.

Great Dane Graphics added new T-shirt designs suited for the back-to-school markets, including designs for chess clubs, theatre, art and chemistry. Go to for more information.

Hirsch International (asi/14982) has released PulseID, a new automation and personalization software. It standardizes critical embroidery production processes, without the need to repeatedly input information, and it speeds up the personalization process by eliminating operator errors. For more information, visit

Prime Line (asi/79530) announced that Congressman Jim Himes, representing Connecticut's 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, recently visited the Prime Line facility and met with management and employees. Himes offered his support as the company looks to expand into a new location. Jerry Russo, vice president of operations, has also been working with the City of Bridgeport and Connecticut's Department of Economic and Community Development to investigate expansion options. Visit for more information.

Roland (asi/18201) has introduced its new VersaEXPRESS RF-640, a high-speed, large-format inkjet printer, incorporating the new Roland Ink Switching System, which allows users to load a backup cartridge that automatically replaces an empty cartridge. Go to for more information.

Ryonet (asi/528500) announced a new addition for its DIY Print Shop Kit: the first-ever UV Screen Exposure Bulb, specifically designed to expose emulsion used in screen printing. The bulb emits light between 360-380 nm, using only 25 watts of energy and exposing screens 30% faster than before. Visit for more information.

Stahls' ID Direct
(asi/88984) announced Texture-TWILL, its newest offering in the CAD-PRINTZ line of digital transfers. This digitally printed logo product provides a woven, textured finish on twill. For more information, visit

The Wild Side has added a new line of 12 soccer rhinestone transfers. Designs come in an array of colors including pearlescent AB stones. Visit for more information.

Vitronic Promotional Group (asi/93990) welcomes Daniel Pendleton as its regional sales manager for Florida and Georgia. Kevin Sephton, previously responsible for those states, will now cover Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Q: I'm looking for a quality supplier for men's swim trunks. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Weber's Camo Leather (asi/73777);; product 609221 is a men's Mossy Oak camo-trimmed swim trunk with an elastic waistband for a perfect fit.

Or, the polyester Striped Swim Trunks (9401) from Sierra Pacific Apparel (asi/87224); They come in black/red, black/white and heather/yellow.

Finally, make a splash with smart swimwear from Sportailor Inc. (asi/88796); The Beer Can Swim Trunks (M016047), for instance, feature a pocket conveniently sized and shaped for a cold beverage. Also check out products M016056, M016055, M026990, and more.

Selling Tip: Swimwear is a terrific way to brand beach resorts, seaside restaurants and bars, and spas/health clubs.

Q: My client needs some spiffy tennis skirts for a women's tennis league she works with. Can you help?

A: Serve your client with the nylon/spandex Martina Skort (016) from Brandwear (asi/41545); It's available in black or black/white, and in nine sizes, and it's ideal for many women's sports, including tennis.

Another smart option is the Compete Performance Tennis Skirt (product W0904) from Sports One Group (asi/50240); This sporty staple features Lycra/polyester construction, asymmetrical pleats, and two-tone trendiness.

Or, net some profit with RaceReady (asi/74894); Product 2802LD is a long-distance running skirt, but with handy pockets, ease of movement and breathability, it's your perfect tennis companion.

Selling Tip: Athletic clothes are popular this season, and not just for athletes. End-users just about everywhere love comfortable outfits; be ready with options for gym-goers, couch potatoes, and everyone in between.
July 15-17, Chicago, IL
ASI Show
(800) 546-3300;
July 26-27, Nashville, TN
Embroidery Mart – EAST
(800) 866-7396;
Sponsored By: Targeted Media Services Inc - Hanes
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