Adrian Burton, of South East Workwear and the popular AskAdy workwear reviews site, discusses polo shirts and DTG printing
Out of all the products on the market, one of the trickiest things I get asked for is to recommend a polo shirt. I am asked daily what polo I think is best for a builder, a fitness professional, an electronics engineer… You might think that a polo is just a polo, but it’s not! 25 odd years ago, when I first started selling, workwear polos were easy. Most of the products had a good cotton content and we stuck to a couple to sell.
Now, however, things have changed hugely and my sales guys have had to build up a very technical knowledge of the different materials and applications of the garments as well as which processes can be used to decorate them.
The polo now not only comes in a variety of materials, but also in a huge array of colours and styles, with two-tone polo shirt sales currently going through the roof. For a fantastic range of two-tone products look at the Kustom Kit range; Dickies Everyday Workwear also has a huge range now.
Every brand seems to be coming out with their own take on what would be a good colour combination, which makes our life much easier when designing a uniform package for our customers. We can give them the bespoke look that they want, away from the run of the mill navy blue and black polos, and without the expense of a mass production run of 1,000 bespoke pieces and the eight weeks or so lead time involved in getting the items shipped in from abroad.
Embroidery on most of these products is no problem as the backing materials these days are so good that you can get great embroidery clarity on even the thinnest and flimsiest fabrics; GS UK offers a great range of products.
One thing to consider when decorating polos is that DTG printers, which spray ink onto the substrate, can encounter problems achieving a high quality print onto a piqué-type material. You will also need a high cotton content garment to ensure good adhesion to the fabric.
With this in mind, here is some advice for those who want to use DTG on polos: B&C has a very good, close-knit polo shirt that is available in a mass of colours. It is a polyester/cotton mix, but used in conjunction with a pre-mixed Image Armor pretreatment designed for a polyester polo shirt, it works a treat! The pretreatment is so good that we have even achieved durable, high quality prints on hi-vis waistcoats and AWDis Just Cool products during our in-house testing. Although we personally wouldn’t use DTG on hi-vis garments for our customers as it’s too slow – we prefer to use transfers – our tests do show how good this pretreatment is.
Adrian Burton of South East Workwear runs the extremely popular AskAdy site, which hosts independent reviews of workwear garments. He’s one of the first people to be sent new products launching both in the UK and across Europe.