Warm and Toasty
It’s hard to imagine needing a fleece jacket right now in July. Before you know it, the days will get shorter, the leaves will change, and the temperature will drop. So now is the time for you to start thinking about fleece and fall apparel items. We spoke to John Perez, marketing associate at Tri-Mountain, Irwindale, Calif.; and Morey Mayeri, president of Royal Apparel, Hauppauge, N.Y., to find out about current market trends and what you can do to create new business opportunities with fleece and fall apparel.
Fashion moves quickly, and end-users who want to keep up with fashion trends will want the next big thing. Perez noted that certain patterns and materials have been popular in recent years. “A couple of items that come to mind are a sweater fleece, the Regan, and a performance fleece, Lady Lancer [from Tri-Mountain],” he said. “[The Regan] is not your normal fleece. The look is different—it’s a smooth sweater-knit exterior with a heathered pattern, and the hand feel is soft, but the interior has that traditional textured fleece feel. This makes it very comfortable and more fashionable, in my opinion, [than] the standard looking fleece.” He attributed the Lady Lancer’s success to its moisture-wicking ability and vents, which suit milder winter climates.
Mayeri added that the classic look of a pullover fleece hoodie can be fresh with different styles and colors. “We offer many different pullovers ranging from triblend to organic,” he said. “We also offer it in a camo, which is on trend and very stylish.” have samples
With a product like fleece, with so many different fits, textures and functions, showing the client the product can make a big difference. “It’s good to have samples on hand so customers can see and feel the different types of fleece—traditional, micro, performance, etc.,” Perez said.
He said that some clients may overlook products just from images, and by getting a hands-on feel, they may notice features that they like. He used Tri-Mountain’s Brody as an example. “It has a stylish retail look to it, and on the inside is a micro fleece lining,” he said. “Some distributors may overlook it if they don’t see it in person. It’s made really well, feels great and looks great. It’s a perfect piece for distributors who have customers who are part of the 20s-30s demographic.”
Reach a Young Demographic
When trying to reach a younger demographic, looking at what items are selling at retail stores can give you a clue into what clients want. Getting the right look, whether it’s a design or color scheme, or a specific style or fit that is in at the moment, is key to selling any apparel. “Many of our new fleece items are designed with a similar look and feel of what one might find in retail stores,” Perez added. “Stripes, slim fitting hoodies, contrast zippers and drawstrings.”
Morey said that it also helps when end-users see the benefit of high-end material and products made in the U.S. “The end-user has to see the upside in at least one of these aspects in order for the distributor to close the deal,” he said. “We always tell distributors that our products work great with the ‘premium’ end-users.”