There are nearly three million people employed in 40,000 businesses in the beauty and hair industry in the UK. That’s a big pool of companies looking for uniforms and towelling accessories
As expected from an industry based on beauty and health, the image of its staff is of great importance. Laura Dutton, marketing executive from Premier explains: “In this industry, it’s vital that staff are looking at their very best so they can instil confidence in their clients.”
According to Della Barker, sales manager at Grahame Gardner, the company’s beauty and spawear customers say that simplicity and functionality are key to creating a welcoming and professional first impression when guests enter their spa or salon. “Staff need ease of movement and comfort to be able to carry out their tasks to the best of their abilities,” she says. “We find many customers in this sector opt for side-slits, which allow ease of movement.”
Della predicts that the sector will see an increase in demand for more performance-based technical fabrics that are purposely designed to move, stretch and breathe. It’s a trend that Grahame Gardner has already responded to with the launch of its Advance range, which combines signature spa fabrics with athletic textures to create tunics offering enhanced stretch, breathability and comfort. Della also notes: “Eco-friendly textiles are growing in popularity, such as Merino wools and bamboo in place of synthetic fabrics.”
The classic colours of white and black are still the bestsellers, she says, reporting that this is largely due to the fact that they present a sleek, clean and professional image. “These colours have been popular for a long time and this doesn’t look likely to change.”
Della recommends minimal decoration, with embroidery being a popular option, and suggests also focusing on providing a uniform that features a different colour to the main shade for the zip or collar and neck area.
The best-selling styles from Grahame Gardner in this sector are those that combine great design features, such as piping and tailoring, with functionality and comfort. “From the Noel Asmar range – a high-end, premium spawear brand based in Canada – the Dolce Ladies Tunic is one of our bestsellers, offering cap sleeves, a tuxedo-style front placket, generous side-slits to allow easy movement and Noel Asmar’s signature, easy-care spa fabric,” says Della. “Vitality is another line we stock and supply to the beauty market. It’s a more affordable option that doesn’t compromise on quality, offering contemporary design for everyday style. From that range, the Charlotte Empire Line Trimmed Zip-Front Beauty Tunic is a firm favourite. The garment, which has an empire line seam, open hem and bust darts, comes with a keyhole button and loop feature and a YKK silver metal zip.
“From our own Grahame Gardner range, the Asymmetric Contrast Piping Tunic remains a popular choice, with its mandarin collar, asymmetric button front-fastening and eight bar-shaped buttons. Its princess seams, back pleat and stretch capabilities make it one of our most flattering yet practical styles.”
Tunics and tabards
Premier’s latest beauty and healthcare collection, which is presented in a 32-page, A5 brochure for those looking to run a direct mail campaign, includes the bestselling Orchid Tunic (PR682), which is available in 14 colours. It is, says Laura, a great option for businesses looking for a rebrand, adding: “Customers can choose from plush purples, hot pinks and fiery reds or take a more minimalistic approach with fresh greens, clean whites and calming blues.”
PenCarrie highlights the Premier Ladies Blossom Short Sleeve Tunic (PR683). This 100% polyester tunic is easy care and machine washable, has princess seams and a mandarin collar for a feminine look and back pleat and side vents for comfort and ease of movement. It is available in four colours and in sizes 6-24.
Laura also notes that over-the-head styles, such as Premier’s Peony Tunic (PR684) and Rose Tunic (PR690), are proving to be popular this year. “These easy slip-on styles with back zip fastening, bust darts and side vents make for very flattering ladies’ beauty tunics.”
Ralawise particularly recommends the Rose Tunic (PR690), noting that its “elegant, self-coloured satin trim” creates the impression of wrap-over styling with flattering V-neck and side vents for ease of movement. The distributor recommends teaming the Rose Tunic with the Iris Straight Leg Trouser (PR536) or Senna Cropped Trouser (PR534).
While the Premier tunics are designed with the female form in mind (and are available in sizes 6-24), there are also options for men working in the industry, such as the Malvern (PR609) and Epsom (PR693) tunics.
An occupational hazard of working in a salon is the spilling of the various beauty liquids and gels – fortunately, Premier’s tabards can be washed at temperatures up to 85°C and all of the brand’s garments can be printed or embroidered.
Orn offers an extensive range of beauty and spawear for both women and men, including the women’s Tonia V-neck Tunic (8200). This features a contrast trim at the neck and pocket tops, a double action back for comfort, and a concealed zip fastening. “The Tonia is a fashionable, long-line tunic that is particularly suitable for use in spas as it offers the wearer a very stylish, practical and hardwearing uniform,” says Orn. It is available in 14 colourways and in sizes 6-30.
Also from Orn is the Florence (8600), a women’s tunic that has all the features of the Tonia along with a rounded revere collar and two lined chest pockets. It is made from a hardwearing, easy-care fabric and is available in 21 colourways and sizes 6-30.
For men there is the Darwin (8500) tunic, which features a contrast trim colour, double action back and side vents. It is available in 13 colour combinations and in sizes XS-3XL inclusive.
Ralawise also recommends Alexandra’s range of beauty tunics, and suggests that these styles bring sophistication and style to salons. The AX003 Easycare Wrap Button Tunic (NF990) features asymmetrical button fastening, a mandarin collar and two hip pockets in soft touch, stretch fabric, and comes in a choice of seven colours.
BTC activewear stocks a wide selection of Denny’s beauty uniforms. New for 2016 is the Beauty Tunic Asymmetric Stud Fastening (DA74), Beauty Tunic Asymmetric Zip Fastening (DA75) and the Unisex Beauty Tunic (DA76), all of which come in a wide range of colours and are suitable for industrial washing up to 65°C.
Exclusive to BTC activewear is Karlowsky, whose range includes the Aphrodite Wellbeing Tunic (KS60), which features short sleeves, a back pleat for comfort, an asymmetric front with black piping and eight black press studs. The Harmonia Wellbeing Tunic (KS62) has short sleeves, a wide open stand-up collar and side slits. Both can be washed at 60°C.
Smart tops and towelling accessories
Tunics and tabards are not the only uniforms seen in beauty salons and spas, with reception staff, spa hosts and hairdressers often wearing a more casual uniform. The B&C Collection includes ringspun cotton T-shirts, polos and shirts that combine durability and comfort for day-long wear. They come in a choice of cuts and colours, with guaranteed consistency, and are perfect for printing.
SF also offers items suitable for these staff, such as the Modern Essential Stretch Polo (SK042, men’s style SF042), which the company says is perfect for smart-casual uniforms. This 200 gsm, 96% cotton/4% elastane slim-fitting, short-sleeved polo is available in black, white and surf blue for both women and men, and also in fuchsia for women and navy for men. It’s available in a long-sleeved style in selected colours (SK044/SF044).
The brand recommends its 100% viscose Slinky T for wearing under tabards or tunics. The Slinky T is available in black long sleeve (SK260) and black and white short sleeve (SK261) styles. Mobile therapists can opt for SF’s long-line, zip-through Microfleece Jacket (SK/SF028) or Padded Gilet with detachable hood (SK029).
Uniforms aren’t the only concern in this industry: towels and towelling dressing gowns are a necessity, as well as often being offered for sale in destination spa gift shops. “A day at the spa is always complete with a soft and comfortable robe,” says PenCarrie. The distributor suggests using the Towel City Kimono Towel Robe (TC21), which it says “offers luxurious comfort and excellent absorbency” thanks to its 400 gsm, 100% heavyweight cotton fabric. It has two pockets and a tie belt and hanging loop, and comes in navy or white.
BTC activewear recommends the Towels by Jassz range. This offers a choice of towelling products including the Sauna Towel, which has an elasticated waistband, Velcro closure and pocket for locker keys. Also available is the Edgar Bath Robe in sizes XS-4XL, which has long sleeves with cuffs, a shawl collar, patch pockets and tie belt.
“Add a touch of luxury to the spa experience with Comfy Co (CC020) soft, towelling, kimono-style robe with belt and large deep pockets, small hidden opening for earphone cord feed and easy tear-out label for simple rebranding,” says Ralawise. It is available in a choice of 15 colour options to co-ordinate with salon decoration and branding.
The Christy Sanctuary Royal towel collection made from Turkish 100% cotton offers five-star luxury along with durability, absorbency and comfort, Ralawise adds. The collection includes hand, bath, jumbo and bath sheet in classic white. Spas can also opt for Towel City’s Open Toe Slippers (TC067) in navy or white. They have a padded sole, adjustable hook and loop fastening and can be embroidered or printed. Finish off the look with Towel City’s Beauty Hairband (TC062), a soft, cotton-rich hairband with adjustable Velcro fastening.