Gildan’s director of marketing for Europe discusses the brandable outerwear market and why the time is right to introduce the new Hammer outerwear styles

What prompted Gildan to enter the outerwear market at this time?

We see this range extension as a natural progression. Many printers and decorators who are currently using Gildan products are supplying this type of everyday products to their existing customers. It just makes sense that they can offer a Gildan jacket to go along with a Gildan T-shirt or sweatshirt, matching those colours and offering the same Gildan values about responsible production.

What are the key drivers in the brandable outerwear market currently?

The product needs to be able to perform to the expectations of the end user at the price point that they believe represents best value. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that we get that balance right in our new lines.

The softshells are expected to be the most popular styles in the new Hammer outerwear range

The microfleece is a versatile style that provides an extra layer of warmth

What are the essential features that end users are looking for in a brandable jacket?

An imprintable jacket is different to a retail jacket as it is designed to be decorated, and is sold at a price that allows printers to add value to the product and yet still sell the product at a price that makes sense to the end user. Great design and functionality are obvious required features, and it’s vital that the garment has been made responsibly and ethically.

Are particular jacket styles most suited to particular end users?

Yes, I think they are. Our Windwear jacket is suited to lighter weather protection, so think of sports or school club trips or branded holiday groups as likely users, whereas the three-layer softshell styles provide more substantial protection against the elements, and so can be worn by teams all year round who are working outdoors. The microfleece is a really versatile style that can be seen in many work or team environments such as retail locations like supermarkets or garden centres, or as an added layer of warmth in offices, stores and workplaces.

Which of your new styles do you expect to be the bestseller and why?

Each of the styles has a clear and different core purpose, and all are extremely versatile. However, I would envisage the softshell styles to be the most anticipated based on feedback that we’ve had from our UK brand representatives when they’ve previewed the range with their network of contacts.

What does this say about today’s brandable jackets customer?

I think softshell jackets are now an established part of the decorator’s toolkit, from the small local printers servicing the diverse needs of their local communities to the larger printer supplying larger teamwear contracts.

What single piece of advice can you share with Images readers to help them to sell more decorated outerwear?

Make sure you show samples to your existing clients! It really helps them to envisage where they might have a use or a need, and they’ll be able to see for themselves the quality of the new Gildan Hammer outerwear styles.