Embellish: THE TRUTH
DON’T ANGER OPRAH.
Despite the fact the point’s been hammered home to us mere mortals ever since Ms. Winfrey took over the world, memoirist James Frey still believed he could “enhance” a few pesky details with his formerly Winfrey-approved tale, “A Million Little Pieces.” We all know what happened next. He’s on the express train to obscurity. And the ticket is not round-trip.
For better or (more often) worse, embellishment gets things noticed—after all, the National Enquirer staff has to eat, too. Luckily for the honest-living promotional industry folk, the power can be harnessed for good. Chosen with the right amount of care, it can do wonders for apparel promotions. Read on for five tips on creating embellished garments and why they could be a viable option for the next crop of wearables. No exaggeration.
1) Choose wisely. According to Brittney Haar, director of sales and marketing for Carrollton, Texas-based In Your Face Apparel, the company offers more than ten embellishment styles, including rhinestones, nailheads and glitter. It can be slightly overwhelming, as these “extras” are just more additions to the ever-growing list of garment decoration choices. “For many distributors that we work with, this is the first project for embellished apparel—not using traditional screen printing or embroidery—so there is understandable hesitation,” Haar said. However, something shiny or graphic might pull focus better than the typical left-shoulder-embroidered logo. It’s worth thorough consideration.
2) Consider it budget-friendly. One important benefit of apparel transfers (including foils, felt and crystals) is they can be added to a garment order on a rolling basis. “This allows for … short production times, since the transfers are made and just need to be applied,” Haar maintained. Consequently, “you can produce all of the transfers in the first quarter for a large program that will need shirts all year with the same art,” she affirmed. The process can curb overordering on the most expensive part of the equation—the apparel.
3) Move fashion promotions forward. With the growth in popularity of urban apparel and designers such as Ed Hardy (see pg. 78), specialty logos are a great way to capitalize on the current fashion trajectory. Haar cited large-format screen prints with water-based inks as being a retail-trendy look that’s appropriate for the promotional industry. When coupled with embellishments, such as foiling or studs, a logo becomes more mainstream. “These garments will be worn out, not just at home to bed,” she added.
4) Be aware of fabric limitations. It’s important to note certain apparel fabrics can affect the application of transfers and embellishments. “When working with stones, studs or nailheads, really thin fabrics sometimes do not work because the heat affix (the glue that holds the stones on the shirts) will seep through the garment and will stick the inside of the shirt together,” Haar said. Additionally, the apparel must be able to withstand 350 degrees of heat for 14 seconds. “Most of the transfers are applied using heat of this magnitude,” she affirmed.
5) Check garment-care instructions. Depending on the type a company chooses for its logo, some adornments can affect the cleaning of the piece. Although Haar noted that, “some are fine for normal washing and drying while others might need to be hung to dry or hand washed,” it’s a point to consider. While some end-users would always select fashion over function, if the endgame is giving the garment a longer life than what is typical for promotional apparel, a more wash-and-wear style might be best.