Images was offered a sneak preview of the new Aptus Essentials entry-level sportswear range from Banner before its official launch at The Schoolwear Show in October

Aptus Essentials is a new range of garments from schoolwear specialists Banner. It has been designed to encourage pupils to participate in sports and enable them to perform at their best, while making them feel self-assured and comfortable. Dean Plant, marketing director at the Banner Group, reports that a team of in-house designers – led by Emma Robertson, head of design – began the research and development process 10 months ago. This involved listening to feedback from Banner‘s retail customers as well as talking to students, PE staff, athletes, parents and product specialists to discover what is needed in school sportswear today.

“We hold many focus groups with different schools and visit retailers to discuss product development requirements,” explains Dean. “For Aptus Essentials we also teamed up with the charity Mermaids UK to learn about how we can support all children at school. The children gave us really valuable feedback that we used to develop the range, in particular our choice to focus on product fit and not gender.”

The resulting range, Aptus Essentials, focuses on fit, comfort, design and colour, and is at a lower price point than the brand‘s established Aptus Performance range. “Aptus Essentials is an entry-level school sportswear range that is competitively priced,” confirms Dean. “The Essentials range boasts a combination of modern designs, carefully balanced flashes of colour and hints of reflective detailing to create smart, contemporary garments.”

There are 10 garments in the Aptus Essentials Senior range, which is targeted at the secondary school market: Short Sleeve Training Tee, Polo Shirt, Fitted Polo Shirt, Long Sleeve Multisport Shirt, 1/4 Zip Training Top, Full Zip Training Top, Training Shorts, Skort, Training Pant and Leggings. For primary schools there are four core garments: Junior Training Tee, Junior Full Zip Top, Junior Training Shorts and Junior Training Pant.

The new Aptus Essentials range from Banner is designed to encourage pupil participation in sports

Polyester performance

The Training Tee is expected to be the most popular item because of its role as a core basic combined with an extensive choice of colours. Made from 160gsm polyester mesh, this crew neck tee has silver reflective details along with contrast colour panels and bindings. Other features include Aptus-branded internal tape and a curved back yoke design. It’s available in 13 colour options: black/white, black/gold, black/red, navy/white, navy/gold, navy/sky, sky/navy, red/white, burgundy/white, white/navy, royal/white, purple/white, and bottle/white.

Other styles include the Training Shorts, which are made from 100% polyester micro fabric with a peach finish and have an elasticated waistband with internal Aptus-branded drawcord and a contemporary, curved side seam design; Fitted Polo Shirt, made from 160gsm polyester mesh with a long, slim shape and includes features such as a flat knit collar with asymmetric placket and curved back yoke design with disappearing centre tape; and Skort, which is made from 90% polyester/10% elastane to allow for a wide range of movement, and has an elasticated waistband and dipped hem with a comfortable and discreet inner short. “The Full and 1/4 Zip Tops have a sporty appearance whilst offering warmth and comfort with a soft brushed inside,” adds Dean.

The entire range is made from polyester fabric, he explains. “Polyester is our choice of fabric for the Essentials range as it’s strong and flexible, and tends to crease and shrink less than other fabric types.” The garments can all be embroidered and screen printed, apart from the leggings.

Dean comments: “The Essentials range shares the same colour palette with Aptus Performance, enabling customers to mix and match products to create the perfect look, hit the right price point, or find the perfect balance between technicality and functionality.”

Orders are now being taken, with products in stock in March 2019 for ‘Back to School 2019’.