2018 Style Guide: SanMar's Vicki Ostrom on What Millennials Want In Promotional Apparel (and More)
As part of Promo Marketing's annual Style Guide feature, we interviewed several suppliers about the current state of the promotional apparel market, millennial promotional apparel, and where they thought the industry was headed. Here, Vicki Ostrom, trend editor for SanMar, Issaquah, Wash., shared her thoughts on the hottest new trends, and what millennials are looking for in their promotional apparel.
Promotional Apparel Inspiration
In the promotional apparel world, we're always looking for new sources of inspiration. While promotional apparel in the past followed multiple seasons behind retail and runway trends, the gap is getting closer.
"Promotional apparel is definitely mirroring retail and runway styles," said Ostrom. "The ability to see these styles coming off the runway in almost real time has sped up the fashion cycle. Influencers on Pinterest and Instagram share their interpretations of the runway looks and their followers can 'try on' the ideas visually first and decide how they want to bring the looks into their own wardrobes."
New Promotional Apparel Trends
Between colors and technical features, Ostrom pointed out all the important 2018 promotional apparel trends you need to know.
"We are now in the Athleisure 2.0 era and the promotional apparel industry continues to respond to this way of dressing," said Ostrom. "Technical fabrications that include functionality like a soft hand feel and fabrics that drape are now being designed into lifestyle silhouettes so they can easily be worn in an office setting."
She also pointed out the growing popularity of sport stripes and varsity silhouettes that can be worn in "sophisticated and streamlined ways."
As for color trends, promotional apparel style is definitely experiencing some shifts.
"We’re seeing the addition of a lot more lifestyle colors in the industry and shades that go beyond traditional team and business colors, but are still very logo-friendly," she said. "We’ve added more shades of millennial pink and heathered versions of red that play into both style and athleisure trends."
Promotional apparel style is shifting to meet demands from millennial end-users, so it's important to know just what millennials are looking for. Thankfully, Ostrom had the inside scoop on millennial promotions.
"Millennials want styles that blend function and fashion that are also budget-friendly," she said. "Many items from the promotional apparel world tick all these boxes. They’re interested in modern, interchangeable wardrobe components that provide stylish options at a lower price point. Companies like Target and Amazon and Walmart are rolling out their own fast fashion brands to appeal to this market, understanding the need to balance the desire to look good with a lack of a huge disposal income."