Simon Ward, group sales director at Grahame Gardner, examines the growth of the salon and spa industry, a move to both fashion and functionality in uniforms, and the improvements in polyester fabrics

In which areas of the healthcare and beauty clothing market do you expect to see the most growth over the next few years?
The salon and spa industry is a key growth area as there have been many more opening up, particularly within the hotel and hospitality industry. For healthcare specifically, we are seeing lots of interest from other medical professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and radiologists who are keen to create a recognised brand for their particular profession.

What have been the most significant advances in beauty and healthcare clothing in the past few years?
A major development has been how clothing designs have moved to a much more modern and fashion-led style. Gone are the days where you just grabbed a standard uniform off the shelf. People want their workwear not only to feel good, but also to look good. There has also been a move to more functionality: we have seen more features being added, such as key clips and pen pockets, and there is definitely scope for more development there.

What are the key design trends in beauty and healthcare clothing at the moment?
Workwear trends tend to follow general fashion; this is particularly prevalent in the beauty sector where they want to present a contemporary look to clients. Currently this means flattering shapes, fitted designs and brighter colours. We are finding our customers are not afraid to be original with more of a focus on detail.

And what are the key colour and fabric trends?
Standard colours such as black, plum and grey for beauty, and classic blues and greens for healthcare are always popular. At the moment we are seeing a lot more vibrant colours like fuchsia pinks, lime greens and turquoise.

With regard to fabric, things have changed a lot. Five or six years ago it was all about polycotton, but during this time polyester has got better and it can now provide something much more practical that works for people who are on their feet all day.

The company has created breathable, moisturewicking and easy-care ranges for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists

The Ladies Mandarin Collar Tunic (PR681) and Ladies Straight Leg Trouser (Daisy) from Grahame Gardner

Do you expect to see more smart fabrics being used in this sector?
This is already happening and I see it becoming even more important moving forward. Here at Grahame Gardner we have worked closely with our sister company GForce Sportswear to take some of the latest sportswear technologies being used and migrate them over so we can be more creative with our workwear fabrics. This has been really successful, particularly with our ranges for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, as we have been able to provide more breathable, moisturewicking and easy-care fabric, which is ideally suited to that line of work.

What are the main types of decorations currently seen on beauty and healthcare clothing?
The most popular decoration is still embroidery – it certainly gives a classy look and is a great way of showing a logo. However, printing technology has improved greatly and is very cost effective for larger logos. Predominantly organisations put their name on the left chest of the garment, but recently we have seen people play around with this look. We are currently looking at some revolutionary ways we can further customise uniforms for the healthcare and beauty market, so it’s quite an exciting area for us.

What’s the best piece of marketing and/or sales advice you can give to Images readers to help them sell more Grahame Gardner garments?

I’d encourage people to look at our entire range rather than just focusing on traditional, standard garments, so you have a feel for the full capabilities we can offer.