The managing director of Hultafors Group UK, owner of Snickers Workwear and fashion workwear brand Dunderdon, discusses ‘fabric-conscious’ wearers and street-wise looks
What are the key design trends in workwear this year?
Wearers are increasingly looking for technically advanced, innovative and high quality clothes that are built to last and look good in work, on site and at play – in essence, ergonomic workwear that can be used not only on site, but for leisure activities too.
What are the current fabric and colour trends in workwear?
Given the importance of comfort and fit, stretch fabrics have been very much to the fore since 2018 with two- and four-way stretch fabrics widely used in all garments, especially in work trousers where freedom of movement and functionality are particularly important.
Similarly, given the need to maintain comfort and fit in both hot and cold working environments, lightweight and breathable 37.5 sports fabrics that combine breathable and insulating properties have been widely used in tops such as jackets, fleeces and base-layer garments.
As regards colour trends, there will always be a requirement for a standard colour range based on primary colours, but as companies seek to be more distinctive in their corporate image requirements and wearers want to be more individual and fashionable, we are responding with newer colours and combinations, such as pastels, forest green and the camouflage-look in both adult and kidswear.
Which workwear fabrics do you expect to increase in popularity over the next 12-24 months, and why?
Wearers are becoming much more fabric-conscious as regards what they need to have in their clothes to ensure comfort and personal wellbeing at work. Similarly, wearers are increasingly aware of how different types of fabric enhance the protection levels and hardwearing properties of their workwear such as Coolmax and wicking fabrics to regulate body heat; DuraTwill, Canvas+ and Cordura for durability and protection; and Gore-Tex for waterproofing and windproofing.
New from Snickers for 2020, the AllroundWork Organic Cotton T-shirts
There was an increased focus on sustainability during 2019 – how has Hultafors responded to that?
In response to increasing demand from corporate clients and end users, the Hultafors Group is committed to demonstrating environmental responsibility by implementing sustainability policies throughout our product design, materials sourcing and product development processes. Two specific product examples are the 2526/2517 AllroundWork T-shirts for men and women, which are made from 100% quality organic cotton [available from April 2020].
How do you think the workwear market is likely to develop over the next few years?
There will be a continued emphasis on street-wise looks and fashionable body- mapping designs that work together to present a smart, professional image. Alongside this, design and development will continue to focus on the practicality and functionality of garments using fabrics that deliver comfort and freedom of movement for the wearer. What’s most important for comfort and fit is that the clothing will have to be produced in a wide range of sizes to suit all shoes and builds and there will be a particular focus on properly designing ladies’ workwear – specifically to fit the female form.
What’s the single best piece of marketing and/or sales advice you can give to Images readers to help them sell more workwear?
When talking to a customer about their requirements Images readers need to consider both the quality of the garment – ie how well it will wash and wear – as well as the logo type that’s being used. There is no point using the best-designed logo on a garment that loses its shape or fades quickly; equally, don’t invest in quality workwear and have cheap decoration. It’s all about creating the right professional image for the company.