Color-blocking: a trend that’s bold and fun

THE COLOR-BLOCKING CRAZE is still quite alive and well, as evidenced by this spring’s high-contrast, high-fashion interpretations by DSquared, Cedric Charlier and Balmain. This retro-inspired decorating style is an imaginative way for companies to put a spin on promo staples like polos, sweatshirts and jackets to create a successful branding campaign.

Color-blocking is a trend that’s bold and fun and doesn’t quickly go out of style,” says Jennifer Bailey, spokesperson for Dickies. “It’s unique in that it’s multifunctional yet simple at the same time.” The look is a fit for just about anything, from fashion to work wear. And while color blocking is in itself decorative, it leaves plenty of room for logo embellishing.

Color-blocking can be used in a way that’s not overpowering and keeps company logos as the main focal point. 


Styles That Score A Home Run 

You might think that a baseball cap is simply a baseball cap. In reality, there are many versions, looks and features to consider. Caps can range in size, fabric, number of panels and types of bills and closures. 

One key difference is ready-made vs. custom. Hundreds of suppliers offer many inventoried styles, some fitted and others one size fits all. The benefits include quick fulfillment and plenty of affordable choices, but that is counterweighted by limitations on how the caps can be decorated. 

By contrast, creating a cap from scratch can take much longer (eight weeks for samples and production, with up to another month for shipping), but offers a much more robust selection. “Total customization or manufacturing from scratch is the better way to go when using headwear as a promotional tool,” says Mitchell Krakower, president of Topwear International. 

What else should you consider? On-trend material, for starters. Cotton is a classic casual choice while polyester performance fabrics are very popular. “Performance fabrics look good, they can be waterproof, easy to care for, fast-drying, breathable, moisture-wicking and sun-proof,” says Krakower. 

Patterns and looks with a fashion-forward vibe add even more appeal. SanMar’s “The Style Network 2015 Trends” issue highlights Sporting Luxury – the intersection where fashion meets fitness. Camouflage is key for men, but with an upgrade such as the Sport-Tek CamoHex Cap (STC23). It’s a digital, tone-on- tone pattern rather than straightforward camo. Another trend: Varsity designs. A varsity-style cap, like the NE206 from SanMar with a heathered melton wool crown and cotton twill bill, has an old-school collegiate vibe that’s definitely current for today’s young adults. 

The best news: there are year-round opportunities for headwear.  Knits and camouflage in the winter, rugged headwear in the fall and performance and colors in the summer. 


FIND A POT OF GOLD WITH Rainbow Patterning

A STUNNING CURRENT fashion trend, rainbow patterning offers a stand-out contrast to the enduring popularity of neutral apparel. This trend exists in a number of varieties, from gradient patterns and traditional stripes to knit apparel and tie-dyes.

“This trend is significantly unique because there are so many different ways in which each designer or company can achieve their own variation,” says Yvette Corona, marketing representative for American Apparel. “From varying methods of layout and design to the colors that are used, the possibilities are really endless!”

Tim Tousignant, president/owner of Kerr’s Cotton Creations Inc., agrees. “There is a high level of interest in bright rainbow colors for spring apparel,” he says. In addition, tie-dye designs are especially applicable to wearable promotional items. “Tie-dyed apparel, especially shirts, makes the perfect choice for staying in tune with this high-fashion trend,” Tousignant says. “They’re great for a promotional campaign aiming to incorporate a solid area for decorating on the center or left-breast area of a garment while also featuring bright, bold rainbow colors.” 


gingham revival has staying power 

HAILING DIRECTLY FROM 1950s and 1960s fashion, gingham is one of this season’s most significant fabric trends. Just take a look at the latest offerings from Michael Kors, Bottega Veneta and Diane von Furstenberg for an impressive display of checks in all hues and sizes, adorning everything from flowy dresses and pencil skirts to button-down blouses and woven shirts. Accessories, such as handbags and totes, are getting “checked” too. 

“The gingham revival has real staying power because it’s being used in such a variety of ways and for different products,” remarks Senior Designer Vicki Ostrom of SanMar. “Overall, gingham’s current popularity is due to the fact that it’s retro and modern at the same time, so it suits a broad customer base and age range.” She feels this pattern lends promotional apparel tons of charm and fashion appeal: “In this industry, a gingham shirt has a fresh energy to it. And the color ‘pops’ effectively, either matching customers’ logos or [creating] a visually compelling background that highlights them.” 



LONG A TRADITIONAL sports team and fan favorite, the baseball jersey got a “major” makeover during Spring/Summer 2015 Fashion Week, which was filled with sports-themed apparel dominating the catwalks. Reed Krakoff unveiled his dugout-inspired micro-striped dress, while DKNY showcased a men’s oversized, blazer-friendly jersey. 

“The look of a classic baseball jersey never goes out of style,” says Jennifer Nixon, marketing manager at Holloway Sportswear Inc. “And when design elements such as patterns and neon hues are applied to jazz-up these shirts, it gives them a unique look.” 

These design options are a direct result of advanced printing innovations. “With new technologies like custom sublimation,” Nixon says, “the customer’s options are limitless. Colors, fonts and patterns can all be updated as these trends expand.” 

Baseball jerseys can work for everything from fan wear to unique corporate promotions. “Baseball jerseys are always popular in the spring,” Nixon says. “They’re a great way to show team unity.”