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Focus on Hoodies & Sweats


With hundreds of products on the market, the customer now demands something more. Sweatshirts now need to be more than just basic.


— Clare Dwyer, product manager, Kustom Kit I


f the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything it’s that traditional work attire has fallen by the wayside. Loungewear is in and that means the hoodie is fast rising in terms of popularity again. ‘Workleisure’ is a phrase we should all now perhaps become accustomed to as we see home working become the new normal.


Clare Dwyer, product manager, Kustom Kit, explains: “During lockdown, casualwear and loungewear became the new uniform for many. It is now likely that sweatshirts and hoodies will remain popular choices as people adjust to more flexible ways of working.”


Sell outs


This of course poses problems for product designers – how do you keep a product such as the hoodie relevant and exciting?


Jenifer Nairne, product development manager, at David Luke, says: “Recent events have meant we’ve seen the rise of loungewear and sweats quickly became the go to garments, selling out across websites. People are once again digging their jeans out the wardrobe, however there is no denying the sweat trend is here to stay. So, at David Luke we’ve been busy predicting how this sweatshirt trend might evolve into the traditional school uniform wardrobe.” Clare agrees: “With hundreds of products on the market, the customer now demands something more. Sweatshirts now need to be more than just basic.”


Clare says this has meant the development of fabrics engineered specifically for the decoration market. Hoodies, such as Kustom Kit’s Regular Fit Hoodie (K333), are the perfect combination of cotton and polyester for durability and warmth, with a 100%


cotton face making the garments perfect for direct to garment printing. Not only this, but product designers will also have to take into consideration a gear change in consumers’ shopping habits. “Customers are now changing their shopping practices to become more conscious of what they are buying. It is now very possible that, going forward, buying decisions will be based on quality and ethical credentials, rather than price. This trend will probably, in turn, lead to a changing of focus for manufacturers to ensure even better quality for the end user,” says Clare.


This train of thought is prevalent in David Luke’s latest product innovation, with Jenifer agreeing that the sweatshirt needs to evolve to meet the growing popularity in causal clothing as well as the new trend for conscious shopping. This has paved the way for the Zippy. Zippy, a full-zip baseball style sweatshirt with zip front fastening, is a practical over-layer making it the perfect solution for those in between seasons months. The ribbed collar, cuff and hem keep the cold out and the warmth in. While the side pockets keep hands warm. Jenifer says: “For those parents who are looking to make more considered purchases and reduce their environmental impact, the Zippy is a great evolution. Manufactured with durable, recycled fabric and designed with a modern unisex style, it can easily be passed down between siblings. The Zippy is the new basic among sweatshirts and the perfect alternative for retailers who don’t want to stock hold lots of different styles of sweats.” Both David Luke and Kustom Kit keep their fingers on the pulse of what is relevant and will likely become the next big seller. For more hoodie and sweatshirt inspiration, be sure to check out what’s new over the coming pages.


Top decorating tips


Clare Dwyer, product manager, Kustom Kit, gives her top tips for decorating a hoodie.


Direct to garment printing is increasingly becoming a key focus for Kustom Kit garments, such as the 100% cotton faced Regular Fit Hoodie KK333. It is a highly cost-effective method for decorating garments, which delivers high quality vibrant results, particularly at volume.


For businesses looking to diversify their offering going forward and taking advantage of existing technical advantages, DTG could be a good route to go down. To achieve the trend-led vintage effect it is also worth considering sublimation as your print method. Some polyester rich sweat fabrics, such as the KK302, lend themselves effortlessly to this process and achieve some interesting fashion focused imagery.


www.printwearandpromotion.co.uk October 2020 | 27 |


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