The 2013 Imprinted Sportswear Show in Atlantic City Featured the Hottest Apparel Styles and Decorating Techniques
This year's Imprinted Sportswear Show in Atlantic City, held annually at the Atlantic City Convention Center, opened on Friday, March 8 at 10 a.m. Despite snowy conditions affecting travel in much of the Northeast, the show floor was packed by 11 a.m. "The show has been very busy, which is good—there haven't really been many lulls," said Cherish Tanner, senior marketing coordinator for L.A. T Sportswear, Ball Ground, Ga. She added that while many attendees were there to browse, many others were there to talk business. Mary Ellen Nichols, MAS, director of marketing communications for Philadelphia-based Bodek and Rhodes, agreed. "They want to talk turkey, they want to see what's applicable, and that means that there's activity, there's actual live business out there," she noted.
Nichols mentioned that fashion tees and athletic wear were popular among attendees, but performance apparel was garnering the most interest at the Bodek and Rhodes booth. "Performance wear is still going gangbusters, and experts say it's going to increase 19 percent over the next two years," she explained. "This is not a fad, this is indeed a trend—it's still going bonkers." Much of this surge in sales is the result of new markets adopting performance apparel, Nichols said. "More corporate accounts and even service accounts, teams and rec leagues are now going from basic cotton polos to more utilitarian wear that's going to make workers look better and perform better in the workplace and on the field."
While suppliers promoted new apparel lines, decorators showcased the hottest machines, materials and imprinting techniques. "There's been a lot of interest in what we would call a multi-decoration strategy, or multi-decoration apparel," noted Jay Busselle, general manager for Digital Art Solutions, Tempe, Ariz. He gave the example of adding rhinestone embellishments to a T-shirt that has already been decorated with a digital print. "Just when you think rhinestones aren't cool anymore, they are, because they'll come out with some other metallic or some other look, not just a stone,” Busselle explained. "So anything that's 'bling,' anything that's shiny, anything that's glitter is still huge."
For most exhibitors, though, the show was more than just a sales opportunity—it was a chance to interact with customers one-on-one. "We always find it exciting to come, not just to meet customers, but also to see what our customers are doing, what's available and the products that they use," Tanner said. "It helps us tailor our product for them better. It helps us to be a better manufacturer for them."
For more information about ISS Atlantic City or other ISS shows, visit www.issshows.com.