Sarah Clark, B&C’s sales manager for UK and Ireland, discusses the latest colour and design trends in polos and explains the advantage of high quality piqué fabric
What are the key design trends in polos at the moment?
If we zoom in on 2017, polo shirts are on-trend as they represent comfort while maintaining a youthful attitude and a rebellious smartness. For S/S 17, the honest beauty of everyday domesticity is transposed onto the simple functionality of everyday sportswear. Sentimental and homely, chintzy florals and tablecloth checks are being applied to polo shirts, tees and sneakers.
For A/W 17/18, cotton piqué polos with a flat-knit or woven collar piece are key for the young men’s market and will be perfect for transitioning into spring. Wide check designs will be a key design development for men.
And the key colours?
For women, the must-have colours are chalk white, warm neutrals, dusted pales, summer spice, bright red hues, intense brights, pink to purple, deep navy and jet black.
For men, the single-colour outfit is a tool often used to convey a colour message, but this season it’s a trend in itself, especially in stone khaki and grey, the new ‘non-core’ fashion colours. Familiar colour stories and combinations are wrapped up for S/S17, taking on extra intensity to transform normally staid resort looks. In line with the underlying trend towards more seasonless or trans-seasonal lines, collections are often an exciting mix of stylish dark shades as well as the more expected vibrant brights. Must-have colours are cotton candy, sandstone, teal, bright yellow, concrete grey, tangerine, olive, cornflower blue, russet, intense red, clean white and navy.
What fabrics have customers been asking you for, and which do you expect to increase in popularity?
100% cotton piqué knit fabric remains the bulk of the demand and will continue to be the main volume in our industry. Our unique Fine Piqué with its tight weave and flat surface provides the best surface for a high quality, high definition print on piqué (DTG included).
How do you think the polo shirt market will develop over the next few years?
The polo shirt market is already huge, due to its versatility. We are now seeing a shift towards clients wanting something of a higher quality. They see the advantage in investing more in a product which will last longer and give a higher perception of their own brand.
What are the main types of decorations currently seen on polo shirts?
Due to the specific structure of the fabric, decorators are more willing to embroider polo shirts. But in reality, this depends on the structure of the piqué your product offers. Not all polo shirts offer the same quality and the majority of them have an open weave structure with a highly uneven surface. But if the piqué is of a high quality, made with a fine premium, ringspun combed cotton yarn, and enjoys a tight and very stable knit, such as on the B&C Safran or the B&C Heavymill lines, the fabric structure will offer an even and smooth surface on which to create beautiful screen and digital prints.
What’s the best or most unusual decoration you’ve seen on a polo shirt?
Decorations that include a mixed media approach – for example, mixing screen print and embroidery or flocking. Many decoration techniques are possible on a high quality, ringspun combed cotton polo. Follow your creative instincts.
What’s the single best piece of marketing and sales advice you can give to Images readers to help them sell more B&C garments?
‘Be Inspired’ has been our slogan for more than 10 years now. If it lasts, it’s because it encompasses what we believe in. Our advice is: trust in your creativity, it has no limit! We offer quality in an efficient range of styles and colours to make sure you have the best canvas for your brand, action, message or uniform. At B&C we strive to inspire you, to innovate and bring new horizons to the imprint industry.