2018 Style Guide: Hit Promotional Products' Marcus Sweeney On Logomania, Athleisure, Decoration and More
Last week, we talked with Blue Generation's Eric Rubin about where promotional apparel and uniforms were headed. This week, Marcus Sweeney, vice president of business development for Hit Promotional Products, Largo, Fla., sat down with us to discuss the trends shaping promotional apparel today.
The Future of Promotional Apparel
With the world of promotional apparel continuing to evolve, we're always curious where our experts see it heading.
"We do see some retail apparel trends working into the promotional market, but the basics are still the driving force," said Sweeney. "Customers are asking for softer lightweight fabrics with a fashion cut. We also see a demand for more technical fabrics with performance features."
Top 2018 Promotional Apparel Trends
With retail apparel trends continuing to influence the promotional apparel world, Sweeney has noticed an uptick in certain customer requests. First, he pointed out that the "fashion tee" with trimmer cuts, as well as lightweight, ring-spun and combed cotton, has been a top demand.
"Customers want a silkier drape in the fabric, but also expect the same with the decoration," he added. "Softer-hand inks, one-pass screen print with no under-base, discharge [or] DTG. The decoration on the shirt has become as important as the shirt itself."
Sweeney had some additional insight on color trends, as well.
"We recently went through a bright/neon trend, but things now seem to be more muted," he said. "Softer pastels and charcoals are doing well, [and] heathers also continue to be strong."
The Athleisure Update
According to Sweeney, athleisure isn't going anywhere in the promotional world, but it's definitely good news for distributors looking to make an extra sale.
"Athleisure will continue to be a thing," he said. "People want comfort and it is not acceptable to wear yoga pants, 1/4-zip, performance fabrics, etc., outside of the gym. Distributors who are not showing and pushing this trend are missing out on an opportunity. Layering pieces like a quarter-zip also give you a chance to upsell and add to their overall apparel spend."
The Decoration Landscape
Like Sweeney previously mentioned, customers are paying attention to the decoration on the garment. "They want something that feels softer, hangs nicer and just feels better when wearing," he explained.
In addition, Sweeney has noticed that the Logomania trend has had a direct impact on the promotional apparel world and the way distributors treat the client's logo.
"The nice thing about a trend like Logomania is that it feeds right into the promotional product industry," he said. "It is not cool to wear a large logo, and [it] opens the end-user up to doing something more creative with their branding."