Fierce Femme Fashion
For the uninitiated, women's fashion can be intimidating. Trends shift overnight, neon is either '80s-retro-chic or like, ew, depending on whom you ask, and there's a budding renaissance in floral prints, thanks to something called a Downton Abbey. And that's before you even get into the epaulettes (a folk/indie band all the hipsters are into?), Betsey Johnsons (maker of the first American flag?) and infinity scarves (think about it too hard and your head might explode).
Confusing? Maybe. But the women's apparel market is huge—$621 billion by 2014, according to MarketLine's 2012 Womenswear: Global Industry Guide study—and to miss out on your piece of the prêt-à-porter pie would just be so passé. So what are you waiting for? Get selling with the following guide to what to watch for in promotional women's wear.
"Technical knit tops and activewear are prevalent in current women's apparel," explained Mabel Kwok, director of design & merchandising for Lenexa, Kansas-based Ash City USA. "Active jackets and fashionable fleece pieces are trending this season because of the convenience of layering." Kwok listed performance, functionality, stretch and comfort as the hottest women's apparel trends, making it unlikely that activewear sales will slow down any time soon. "Activewear is a dominant trend that doesn't seem to be going anywhere," she said. "Now that activewear designs have innovative silhouettes, technology features and vibrant color selections, women are more comfortable taking their active looks outside their fitness regime."
And then you've got T-shirts. Sure, they're always in style, but that doesn't mean you can pitch a bunch of unisex white undershirts and call it a promotion—you have to know what's popular in retail stores. "Observing today's T-shirt trends, we see flowy, boxy, high-low hemlines, dolmans, neon colors and off-the-shoulder styles are just a few retail-style trends that currently have influenced the decorated apparel industry," said Ivy Mai, marketing associate for Kavio!, Commerce, Calif.