Gillian Wilson, merchandising manager at Just Hoods by AWDis, discusses slimmer sweatshirts, pastel shades and hat-wearing hamsters

What are the key design trends in sweatshirts at the moment?
Sweatshirts are big this season; we have seen the return of the sweatshirt on the catwalk, in retail and in our marketplace as well. The key design trends include slimmer, more modern fits rather than the boxy shapes of the past. The products in our sweatshirt range have all been designed in response to these changing tastes – our JH030 AWDis Sweat and JH036 Girlie Sweat are great examples.

And what are the key colour trends?
Hot this season are sweats in pastel colours. We’ve definitely seen an increase in sales in our lighter coloured sweats such as baby pink and sky blue. Although we already have one of the largest sweatshirt colour palettes in our marketplace, we’re always on the lookout for gaps in our offering: for example, by November this year you’ll see the colour nude added to our sweat offering.

What fabrics have customers been asking you for?
Our market wants a fabric that can be easily decorated, provides a great finish when embellished and looks good on the wearer. In terms of decoration and finish, the advantage of our unique fabric is that it offers a super smooth printing surface creating the perfect canvas for all types of printing and embellishment. In terms of silhouette, wearers are much more discerning and are no longer satisfied with ill-fitting garments, which is why we spend an extraordinary amount of time getting the fit of our products just right.

What do you think have been the most significant advances in sweatshirts recently, and is there scope for further development?
I think there will always be a market for the basic sweatshirt design, but with a little innovation you can add value through styling. For example, our JH033 Baseball Sweat and JH093 Washed Sweat have proved really popular since we released them over this past year. In terms of further development, we’re always exploring the edges of our imagination to come up with different and desirable products. I do believe that there is scope to push the envelope further.

How do you think the sweatshirts market will develop over the next few years?
We have some strong ideas about where the sweatshirt market is headed over the next few years, but you’ll have to keep an eye out for our future press releases for more details!

What are the main types of decorations currently seen on sweatshirts?
Do you see digital processes as being a serious contender to screen print? We have seen all types of decoration on our sweatshirts including screen printing, heat press printing, DTG and embroidery. The simple, minimal design of a basic sweatshirt creates the perfect canvas for strong designs or slogans, whilst retaining the everyday wear appeal. Increasingly, wearers are looking for greater levels of personalisation in their apparel and digital processes lend themselves well to this trend. However, we don’t think the higher unit cost of digital processes will lead to the replacement of more traditional methods any time soon.

What’s the best or most unusual decoration you’ve seen on a sweatshirt?
Personally I love seeing our sweats covered in rhinestones – they look stunning and so eye-catching. In terms of unusual, I have seen one design of a hamster wearing a hat on a rhino on a doughnut flying through space! There is no accounting for taste.

What’s the single best piece of marketing and sales advice you can give to Images readers to help them sell more Just Hoods garments?
In terms of marketing tools, I would strongly suggest using our colour card, which contains swatches of fabric for each colour. Printed media cannot properly represent the correct shade and with a colour palette as wide as ours (87 colours at current count!) it’s important to know exactly what each shade looks like. In terms of more general sales advice, I would ask resellers to try and put samples of our products in customers’ hands before they make a buying decision. Very often the benefits of one product over another can only been realised when you physically have them in your hand.


Gillian Wilson

The Girlie Fashion Sweat (JH036) has a feminine fit and scooped neck