Trend Spy: Sporty Apparel

Track jackets, racerback tanks and golf shirts aren’t merely considered performance wear these days – such apparel is dominating the retail market and representing related trends. When paired with street-wear such as jeans or regular tees, “sporty” apparel acquires a smart look that results when two opposing fashion styles merge successfully.  Danny Tsai, vice president of merchandising for Tri-Mountain, has witnessed the success of sporty apparel first-hand. “These new styles have been embraced by distributors and end-users not only due to their use of functional fabrics (with moisture-wicking, UPF solar protection or antimicrobial qualities),” he says, “but also because of the aggressive styling techniques that are used to make them authentic and sporty.” Some of the styles he’s seen increase in popularity are baseball windshirts and golf shirts, the latter of which “have been a runaway hit with end-users.”

Sporty apparel has broad appeal because it can be applied to a variety of settings, and hence a wide range of end-users. “Sports apparel is perfect for promotional campaigns, often outside of on-field or athletic circles,” Tsai says. He stresses the importance of promoting styles that offer a range of color-ways and sizes since entire groups can wear sporty apparel. “Everyone on the team – from the player to the parent – should be outfitted,” he says.

Tsai notes the prevalence of sporty apparel in retail and fashion markets and suggests that it allows for crossover into the corporate world as well as the hospitality and transportation sectors. The style is so versatile that its application warrants consideration in vir- tually any industry. “At the end of the day,” Tsai says, “there is not one sector or industry that doesn’t need or want high-performing apparel in a wide variety of interesting styles, colors and sizes.”