Here Comes the Sun
As for what's in demand in 2011, Clifford mentioned, "Styles in general have been moving to a more relaxed fit, cut longer and looser, and this is definitely reflected in summer apparel this year." Crow agreed. "Shirts and jackets are longer than they were two seasons ago. This trend started last year, and it's even more entrenched this summer," she said. "Another overall trend that is continuing this year is the use of softer, lighter fabrics that are comfortable and look great alone or layered."
Though the cuts might be relaxed and simple, the details are not. "Some top trends in retail this season are the biker look, stripes, long dresses and skirts, flared pants and lace. Translated to the promotional products industry, look for detailed fashion T-shirts with stripes and intricate printed designs, jackets with more zipper and button details and longer-length shirts overall," said Crow. "Detailed styles are big," Clifford agreed. She offered pockets, raw edges, distressing and contrasting fabrics as examples. "Exaggerated neck lines [like] deep V's, scoops, boat necks, off the shoulder and modified crew necks [are popular]. Sheer, ultra-lightweight fabrics, dolman sleeves, oversized and relaxed silhouettes, stripes and bright colors are other big trends this year," listed Clifford.
Another trend in summer apparel is lighter weight outerwear for those breezy beach nights. "Lightweight cover-ups are great outerwear products for the summer seasons," said Clifford. "Another great summer outerwear item is the lightweight zip hoodie. Year after year it continues to be a hugely successful summer item. Burnout zip hoodies, pullover lightweight jersey hoodies and even 1x1 rib hoodies are great summer outerwear styles," she noted. Crow added that lightweight full-zip hooded fleece jackets and denim jackets are good summer outerwear products.
BABES, BOYS AND BURNOUT
Like all fashion trends, imprinted or not, gender and age dictate style, cut and color of garments. "I think it's key to keep age in mind when marketing products, it helps you to better understand the end-user," said Clifford. "Age affects the demand because people of different age groups are ordering different styles," she explained. "With the vibrant colors, sheer fabrics and fashion silhouettes that are part of the summer styles, you tend to see the market demand come from the younger crowd. The older age groups tend to drive the demand for the more classic styles," she continued.