GET COMFY WITH Pajama-Style Fashions 

You only had to look so far as Marc Jacob’s or Rochas’s “Resort 2014” collections to see that designers continue to cozy up to pajama-themed fashions. From comfy silk blouses to loose-fitting jacquard-woven pants, the pajama trend offers supreme comfort tailored with suave sophistication.

“The popularity of loose-fitting women’s apparel has continued to grow over the past few years and isn’t expected to lose steam anytime soon,” says Ashley Nielsen, marketing manager for S&S Activewear. PJ bottoms are among the most popular items, says Nielsen: “Flannel pajama bottoms have been around for years and are popular for school and athletic programs.”

Pat Prosser, senior marketing manager for Boxercraft, says that pajama-inspired apparel has developed primarily in response to a need for convenience. “People are not just looking for comfy clothes,” she says. “They also want apparel that can be worn in all the different environments they find themselves in, whether it’s work, home, the gym or on errands.” She adds that pajama-styled fashions have gotten slightly more upscale as a result. “What was once referred to as loungewear is now being seen out-of-doors,” she explains, “and designs have accommodated that trend.” 


Check patterns are making waves

Check styles are a trendy print in fashion, offering a versatile, dynamic and abstract design that creates a cool visual effect. High-end fashion labels like Louis Vuitton (with its Damier collection) and Burberry (with its Heritage Check pattern) love them, as do casual trendsetters like Ralph Lauren and J. Crew with their gingham shirts and tops. The classic print can either make a bold or simple statement, while adding depth to a fashion piece.

The check print is making waves in the promotional market as well, as companies and organizations look for ways to separate their apparel from the traditional offerings. “The days of printing over solid colors only is long gone, in my opinion,” says Andrea Engel, vice president of portfolio management for alphabroder. “Thanks to extreme popularity in fashion for pattern and print, we are seeing our industry embrace the trend and delivering great-looking decoration on patterned apparel.”

There are a variety of popular check styles, all of them incredibly versatile: bold checks, houndstooth, windowpane, plaid, gingham, weaves and more. They vary in style and size and also come in a variety of color schemes that provide pieces with personality and character. There are feminine prints, large all-over prints, quilted looks, print blocking and simple checks, and they can be featured on jackets, woven shirts and polos.

Nancy Robitaille, head designer for Fersten Worldwide Inc./Fila Golf, cites a check base with a floral overlay as an especially exciting pattern option right now. “The check trend is popular because it creates depth in the fabric,” she says. “It gives the garment a higher perceived value due to the classic aesthetic of the design.”

Checks can be bold or subtle. For example, Fersten offers a heavyweight jacket with a checked patterned front. “The plaid fabric design hints at subtle texture,” says Robitaille, “yet the jacket can be decorated using most of our decoration techniques and the pattern does not interfere with a logo.”

"Checkered patterns can also be very sporty and would work well in the car/racing industry,” she says. Casual or sophisticated, you can “check” the box for either.


Black and white apparel is red-hot

Take a look at the latest offerings from Badgley Mischka, Louis Vuitton and Kate Spade for a mere sampling of how dramatically this color scheme is dominating the fashion world. We’ve always known how reliable these two neutrals are when taken separately, but they present even more possibilities when paired together.

Shurli Allinot, president of Brandwear, explains that black and white apparel is a successful trend due to its simplicity. “Black and white designs are timeless,” she says. “They provide a classic look that can be worn with any other color, making them very versatile.”  “Color combinations in general are very effective, especially for corporate businesses that tend to stick with logos based on two simple colors,” Allinot says. “You can never go wrong with black and white.”

Joel Freet, corporate national sales manager for Cutter & Buck, also attests to the convenience and functional essence of black and white combinations, especially for sportswear items. “Black and white is really sophisticated, and when it’s com- bined with sports apparel, it creates a great look for the office or an evening out,” he says. Freet evaluates this style as being wonderfully versatile, something that end-users request regularly. “We are bring- ing more sportswear looks into the promotional apparel marketplace,” he says, “because customers are demanding lifestyle apparel that they can wear well beyond an event or for their promotional needs.” 


In The Red

The impact and effectiveness of red in any promotional campaign can’t be underestimated.  The fall season will be alive with this standout hue; keep an eye out for bright and succulent tomato-y reds that nearly tip over into orange.

“Red evokes energy, and it’s attention-grabbing and provocative”, says Kay-Lee Wheeler, product designer for Vitronic Promotional Group. Red makes an elegant pairing when applied to leather products.  It also remains the top color choice for company logos.  While Pantone has tabbed the darker Aurora Red as a color to watch this fall, any shade will truely prove successful. “Fashion trends show that red is a constant”, says Wheeler.  “Even with variances in hues from spring to fall, red will not be a color that gets over-looked in any product.”


August Trend Watch: Back-to-School Gear!

With school just around the corner, students and schools alike need to start gearing up for everyday wear, staff-wear, even for orientation and events.

Showing your school colors is truly in the spirit of this exciting time. Look for collections that offer variety, while providing consistent color stories that can easily be cross-merchandised to create the perfect look.

With Ash City’s extensive and comprehensive collection, it’s easy to outfit your team or group, from base layer to outer layer, in true school spirit.

Check out the STRIKE (88201/78201) Jacket, available in 5 color ways and features moisture wicking performance, perfect for back-to-school season!