What Women Want
The secret’s out: Women’s apparel generates big business. According to the NPD Group, a global information company, total U.S. women’s apparel retail sales reached $116.4 billion in 2013, up 4 percent from 2012. That number has caught the attention of industry giant Nike and it’s tailoring its marketing messages accordingly. At press time, Nike launched its #BetterForIt campaign as a way to inspire women trying to reach their personal fitness goals. The company hopes this major advertising spend will turn its $5 billion women’s wear business into a $7 billion business by 2017.
But not everyone is operating on Nike’s level, or budget, and no one expects that. What is expected, however, is a basic understanding of what’s hot and how to sell it. Not sure where to start? Tsedenia Kiros, director of design for Charles River Apparel, Sharon, Mass., and Mark Seymour, vice president of sales and marketing for Next Level Apparel, Gardena, Calif., shared some insights on trends and the best practices for this growing market.
WHAT'S TRENDING NOW
Fashion is cyclical. Remember those rib and baby rib fabrics that everyone had to have? They’re out, Seymour said. “The current hot trend is toward soft fabrics with stretch and recovery,” he added.
And then there is fit. Oversized tees may be great for a lazy Sunday, but many women want figure-flattering pieces, with good length and realistic sizing. “We came out with a contemporary fit, which is a more generous cut in the size medium, especially in length, and took a full retail grade as we went up in sizes to give it a more retail feel,” Seymour said.
Kiros shared a trend that ties into lifestyle. “‘Athleisure’ is a hot trend in both men’s and women’s apparel that mixes a broad category of clothing like athletic apparel, loungewear and business casual, making it appropriate for everyday wear,” she explained. “This is not a trend that will dissipate anytime soon because it has such a strong appeal and creates a lifestyle aesthetic for the wearer.”