2017 Apparel Preview
Fashion experts say the industry is cyclical. Trends come and go in waves, and the hits of the popular fashion world today may move into the promotional apparel market tomorrow. But ultimately, what’s most important is what end-users want. We asked suppliers to weigh in on the hit trends they think will light up the market next year.
The experts predict that trends from 2016, like textured fabrics and brighter colors, are here to stay. But what else is in store for 2017?
Vicki Ostrom, senior apparel designer at SanMar, Issaquah, Wash., said end-users often prefer versatile apparel.
“The desire for apparel to be as functional as it is fashionable is both a new and an old idea,” she said. “Easy care, easy wear, trend-right styles that work in a multitude of life situations are the trend today and will be in 2017 as well.” Find out what this means for five apparel categories.
Walk down any bustling city street and you’ll see an urban zoo of eclectic fashion trends on display. The more casual streetwear styles are going to have a big impact on promotional apparel collections this year, said Mark Seymour, chief sales officer for Next Level Apparel, Gardena, Calif.
Streetwear is dominating the T-shirt marketplace, he said, with casual wear moving to a fashion-forward urban trend. Seymour said Next Level Apparel is adding tons of street-savvy styles to its collection next year, including a muscle tank, tank dress and jogger pant. Expect softer, stretchier fabrics to dominate the casual wear marketplace.
End-users want their workwear to do double duty these days, with apparel that is suited for the job, but also looks good off the worksite. Cameron Niederhauser, sales executive for Overland Park, Kansas-based Dri Duck Traders said trends are moving toward styles that meet functional workplace demands and have form-fitting silhouettes for everyday wear. “Pieces like our new Elevation soft shell and our yarn-dyed Field Shirt are huge for us, precisely because they’re both functional and good looking,” Niederhauser said.
As end-users seek more versatile options, Niederhauser said workwear is merging with outdoor apparel as well. The weather- and water-resistant apparel you might see on the hiking trail also has its place on a job site that’s exposed to the elements. Next fall, Dri Duck Traders will introduce a water-resistant canvas that borrows from the technical performance fabrications of soft shells and rain jackets.
“While once workwear brands only focused on rugged durability and heavy textiles, the workwear customer continues to want the weather performance features typically reserved for outdoor apparel."
Women’s wear has seen a range of new styles introduced in the promotional marketplace in recent years, and collections now are filled with fashionable fits, brighter colors and lots of layering. All three of our experts said they are expanding on their women’s wear lines next year.
Expect promotional apparel suppliers to incorporate both versatility and style into women’s clothing as fits continue to evolve.
Ostrom said she is seeing a sophisticated use of layering in women’s wardrobes.
“Designers are responding to this smart way of dressing by incorporating performance fabrics into styles that can easily transition between active and work settings,” she said.
While layered outfits are appealing, it’s just as appealing to use those pieces to mix and match in different settings, making for a wardrobe that is more compact and less costly, but just as stylish.
In 2017, Next Level Apparel is adding to its popular dolman style shirt line for women. The long, flowing silhouette of the dolman has grown in popularity in recent years, with new colors and a rolled sleeve version coming from Next Level Apparel in 2017.
Seymour said dolman shirts have become a favorite promotional apparel choice, because they’re “the perfect cut and styling for office, events and advertising when made from soft-draped fabrics.”
In recent years, athletic apparel has promoted versatile fabrics and styles that look good on the running trail and at the mall. This trend, dubbed “athleisure,” took a fashion-forward approach to activewear. Now, more suppliers are thinking about the most important rule for being active—safety first.
Ostrom said SanMar has researched the ways in which exercise and social life have changed to find out what is driving trends. Bike-share programs are sweeping cities nationwide, and new sports, such as night golf, are gaining popularity, she said. This has led SanMar to adopt more safety features for its collections.
“Reflective fabrics and trims are now sought-after elements when making an apparel purchase,” she said.
SanMar’s new OGIO Endurance Flash Jacket follows the trend with an office-friendly, silver gray color that flashes bright white when reflecting light in a dark setting. Colors and Patterns
Classics will always have their place in a fashionable wardrobe, but next year, look for apparel to trend toward bolder, bouncier colors, and textures that add pizzazz to a solid color option.
“A trend we’ve seen pick up steam this year, and shows no sign of slowing down, has been the use of more heather and mélange fabrics,” Niederhauser said. “In crowded categories, these fabrics add visual depth and tend to read as high-end, premium products.”
One of Dri Duck Traders’ best-selling products, the Motion soft shell jacket, is getting a new splash of color and texture this year, with a black and gray heather fabric option.
“Sometimes it doesn’t always take a pop of color to get a consumer’s attention, just a pop of texture,” Niederhauser said.
At Next Level Apparel, Seymour said the color trends he’s seeing are pastels and garment-dyed colors, which are gaining popularity in all clothing styles.
“A color pallet once driven by a resort and college market is now spreading to all sectors,” Seymour said.
To meet this trend, he said, Next Level Apparel is launching a garment-dyed collection called Inspired Dye.