2013 Apparel Preview
As we wrap up 2012, apparel suppliers are preparing to introduce their newest products inspired by seasonal changes and flattering fits. Upcoming fashion trends for 2013 include a variety of bright colors like compass gold and purple orchid, additions to wovens like polos with pockets, and versatile designs like athletic wear that can be worn to the office. Take a look below for a sneak peek of what is about to become popular in casual, corporate and active apparel.
Trends: According to Elson Yeung, product line manager of design at Ash City USA, Lenexa, Kan., casual wear in 2013 is suited for the ever-changing weather. "Casual wear will get its inspiration from being prepared for all climates in 2013," he said. Ash City plans to offer comfortable, waterproof jackets, and practical polos that can be worn at the course or the clubhouse.
The first step of weatherproofing apparel is picking the right fabric. "Performance, print and texture continue to be key with fabrication," Yeung noted. "A fabrication's visual appeal is as critical as performance and styling this season." For Ash City, he listed new fabric trends such as embossed-print linings, two-tone shirts, hounds tooth, color-dyed mélange jersey and variegated rip stop fabrics.
Colors: Yeung predicted the popularity of bright hues in 2013. "The popular shades we can expect to see will be bright and pleasant tones to expand our color pallet from the go-to shades of black and navy," he said. He offered campus gold, true royal, ink blue, purple orchid and oak moss as examples of popular color choices.
Men vs. Women: The industry continues to strive for well-fit garments, with more women's fits available. "Women's specific details include adjustability at the waist to slim the silhouette of the body versus the traditional adjustable systems at the hem," Yeung said. "This offers great personalized tailoring with the simple touch of an adjustable tab or cinch of a shock cord," he added. Small details such as detachable hoods will also set women's designs apart from their men's companion styles. Yeung noted end-buyers have requested this change. "Our detachable hood system was applied to a few of our women's styles versus their non-hooded men's companion styles. This decision was based on preferences directly from the feedback of our customers," he explained.
Juniors: Children's wear can be a difficult market if you want to sell more than just school uniforms. Yeung suggested targeting what parents want and working from there. "With youth apparel, comfort and durability will continue to take precedence as these are the first concerns of parents when considering clothing for their children," said Yeung. He suggested durable, snag-protection polo and oxford shirts, as well as moisture-wicking fleece hoodies.
NEXT PAGE: Corporate Apparel
Trends: "Casual, yet professional looks continue to be the most popular styles for corporate apparel," said Shelley Renning, general merchandise manager at SanMar, Issaquah, Wash. "Polos easily fit in this category, as do easy-care wovens that incorporate new styling details," she noted. Renning mentioned that functionality will play a key role in trends for the office set. "End-users are always looking for ease of care and functionality in their apparel that still looks polished and put together," she said.
Colors: Color might seem taboo in the working world, but Renning explained how to include it in corporate programs. "Color works best when layered with neutrals or incorporated into an outfit as hits or pops," she said. While women are more likely to heed this advice, men are willing to experiment with color. "We're seeing lots of bold looks–like purples, limes and teals that look great on everyone," Renning stated.
Men vs. Women: Renning mentioned an uptick in the popularity of wovens for men and women. "For men we anticipate more interest in details that have a lifestyle appeal—elements like pockets that are functional but really add a fashion punch, and roll-up tab sleeves and epaulets," she said. "We're seeing a shift in knits and wovens to more feminine detailing for women–things like necklines, sleeve length and detail, hem details, etc.," Renning added. She also anticipates a shift away from what she calls the "shrink it/pink it" mentality for women's styles. Instead, apparel will complement men's pieces while making end-users look and feel good. "It's important to add versatility and features that encourage individuality and personalization, while still creating a team look," she emphasized.
NEXT PAGE: Active Wear
Trends: Expect a fusion of active and street wear in 2013. "We have been seeing how activewear and street wear have influenced each other, due to increasingly active lifestyles," said Christina Botkins, account manager of Tonix Corporation in Fremont, Calif. She noted the importance of durability in active and street apparel. "We believe activewear that can best support an athlete's routine should be able to endure the day-to-day wear and tear of constant practice," said Botkins. She listed other popular features such as UV protection on outerwear pieces and quick-dry properties on performance polos.
Men vs. Women: Botkins predicted that activewear will also experience a shift toward more flattering cuts for females. She noted that gender-specific products receive too little attention. "The biggest issue I see over and over again is the fit of a ladies' piece, which often looks boxy," said Botkins. Companies such as Tonix will solve this problem by offering a variety of styles specifically cut to flatter female athletic silhouettes. "An athlete should feel strong and also feminine," Botkins stated.