If you want to stretch yourself this summer by targeting new markets, the dancewear market could be the answer. Limber up with some marketing advice along with the latest styles
In 2014, says Mantis World, around 4.8 million people in the UK took part in a dance class. Dance embraces many disciplines, as just a casual glance at the local listings for children’s after-school clubs and adult evening classes demonstrates: no longer does dance just mean ballet. Classes for street funk, Zumba, tap, flamenco, salsa, belly dancing, ‘dance fit’, pop dance… The list goes on, and so does the dancewear.
While leotards and tutus continue to be a staple of dancewear, the number of modern dance classes available means that leggings and street-style hoodies are in demand as well. Even modern ballet companies are casting aside the traditional look – the Scottish Ballet’s 2016 performance of Swan Lake has not a feather or tutu in sight, but instead features dancers wearing T-shirts and trousers. Decorators can feel reassured, therefore, that they have a wide number of garments to offer dance schools.
For those looking to break into the market, Natalia Bonner, marketing and merchandising coordinator at Henbury, recommends starting by going on social media. “Many dance troupes are highly active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,” she says. “Searching hashtags, locations and keywords in social media search functions can be a useful tool.” She also suggests looking out for groups that are appearing at local hall venues or are advertising in local papers and stores. Talking to local residents is also often the best way to find out about new dance classes, Natalia advises.
There are many cross-selling opportunities. “Schools, universities and colleges have dance classes, societies and courses, so it’s always worth cross-selling styles,” says Natalia. She adds: “Many drama schools use dance leggings to rehearse in due to the flexibility in the clothing.” Natalia also points out that not only do schools use dancewear styles for dance classes, but many class trips, after-school clubs and gym classes may prefer to use styles more commonly used for dance too.
The bold and the beautiful
According to Natalia, the current athleisure trend has meant dancewear sales are booming. “As well as providing all the necessary style features needed when lots of movement is required, styles are bright, bold and abstract…and at all times, trend-led.” This can be seen in SF’s new Women’s Reversible Work-Out Leggings (SK424), which are solid black on one side and have a cool, abstract print on the reverse side. PenCarrie says the leggings “are the ideal choice for active, high-motion wearers”, adding, “They are easy to move in, durable and stretchy as well as easy to wash.”
The brand says the flatlocked panel seams of the non-transparent, stretchy, bonded interlock fabric mean it is a flattering style for dance and fitness groups who usually get their fashion fix from the high street. It also has a hidden coin-pocket in the waistband, which is where the tear-out label has been hidden, making it perfect for complete brand personalisation.
Stedman’s Active Performance Pants (ST8888), introduced earlier this year, are another clear choice for this market, especially given the May launch of five new, bold, all-over prints for selected items of its activewear. The pants were inspired by running tights, feature a functional, flattering fit and are made from a fast-drying, moisture-wicking fabric and feature flatlock seams for a comfortable, friction-free fit. They are available in future pink, universe, asphalt (a heathered dark grey) and black opal (solid black).
New from Just Hoods by AWDis is the slim-fit Dropped Crotch Jogpants (JH073), which have an elasticated waistband with inner drawcords and are made from a soft, cotton-faced fabric. For women there is the Girlie Cuffed Jogpants (JH076), which have a cuffed leg opening and a 1 x 1 rib waistband with drawcords. Both come in heather grey, jet black and French navy.
Spiro’s Women’s Capri Pant (S273F) is a 3/4 length leisure pant made from breathable and lightweight soft stretch fabric, and features flatlock seams and a reflective logo. The Women’s Fitness Trouser (S275F), which offers a full length alternative to the Capri Pant, has a flared ankle and reflective logo.
The 3/4 length Girls Cool Capri (JC086) from Just Cool by AWDis now comes in three new colourways as well as grey and black. For children there is the Girls Cool Capri (JC086J). The brand says its full length Girlie Cool Pant (JC087) is also perfect for dancewear with its flat seams, while the Girlie Cool Training Shorts (JC088) are comfortable, fitted shorts with a smooth, elasticated waistband and a tear-away label for easy rebranding.
Also offering shorts is Sol’s with its Ladies Juicy Shorts (01174) in French terry (80% cotton/20% polyester), along with its Ladies London Running Leggings (01411), which are made from a quick-dry, 90% polyester/10% elastane material.
Another great choice for this market for women and children are the SF Body & Mind classics: Slimfit Lounge Pants (SK061/ SM061), Shorts (SK062/SM062) and 3/4 Length Workout Pants (SK423/SM423). SF’s Women’s Leggings (SK064) and Retro Shorts (SK069) are now available for kids (SM064 and SM069).
SF’S Unisex Drop Shoulder Slogan Top (SF514) is great for those wanting to rock the street dance look. It has been garment-washed for a soft finish and has a relaxed, retro, over-sized fit that offers a large area for decoration. Another dancewear style is the Work-Out Cropped Top (SK235), which SF says is “more than just a basic sports bra”. It has been engineered with shaping for support where it’s needed most and is made from a double layer, interlock poly fabric for stretch, comfort and shape retention, while the racerback adds a feminine touch. It can be worn underneath the single jersey, polycotton Ladies High Neck Slash Armhole Vest (SK232).
For men there is the retail-inspired High Neck Slash Armhole Vest (SF232) as well as the Muscle Vest (SF236), both of which are available in black, white and heather grey. They can be teamed with the Unisex Bomber Zip-Through Sweat (SF511) with YKK metal zipper.
vAmerican Apparel is another brand whose garments are ideal for the modern dancer. The new Cotton Spandex Off-Shoulder Top (RSA8389) is a simple, form-fitting style with added stretch for comfort. It is made from American Apparel’s cotton spandex jersey fabric (95% cotton/5% elastane) that offers “superior screen printing results” and is available in black and white, and in sizes XS-L.
Another great top, says BTC activewear, is the Women’s Performance Top (ST8310) that has been added to the Active by Stedman range. This racerback style is made from 100% Active-Dry Polyester mélange, offers great freedom of movement, is available in four shades and can be teamed with the Women’s Performance Pants (ST8888).
For kids, Just Cool by AWDis has the JC007J Kids Cool Vest, which the brand says has been a hit with schools and dance clubs. It is made from Neoteric fabric for wickability and comes in nine shades, including sun yellow and sapphire blue, and in sizes XS-XL.
This year Sol’s launched the Ladies Melba T-Shirt (01406), which it says is perfect for the dance world with its sheer jersey in 110 gsm combed cotton. It has a trendy cut and turned-up cuffs and comes in five on-trend colours. Also in sheer jersey is the Ladies Marylin (11398), a long and feminine T-shirt with wide neckline and kimono sleeves.
Another top from Sol’s, the 100% polyester Unisex Jamaica Tank (01223) with deep armholes, is available in four vibrant colours and perfect for sublimation. For a more sporty look there is the Ladies Rio Tank Top (01418), which has a racerback and front contrast piping.
This year Spiro launched Spiro Fitness, a new range dedicated to leisure and fitness. The vibrant colours and stylish designs are ideal for dancewear, including the Ladies Quick Dri Neon T-shirt (S270F), which is breathable and has flatlock seams. The Ladies Quick Dry Shiny Marl T-Shirt (S271F) is similarly made from a breathable and quick drying fabric.
The Women’s Stringer Back Top (S272F) is a stylish, breathable and lightweight vest top that is available in neon contrasts colours and has a reflective logo in a contrast colour. Spiro’s Women’s Crop Top (S274F) is a twin-strap top that is ideal for yoga and, again, is made from a breathable fabric and features flatlock seams for comfort.
Hoodies and accessories
Hoodies are always a winner with the dance brigade, and the Women’s Oversized Hoodie (M113) from Mantis is a great example. This multi-purpose style is as ideal for warm-ups and cool-downs as it is for the journey to and from the dance class. It’s long and loose – a perfect layering garment – and ethically made.
According to PenCarrie, the new-for-2016 Girlie Sleeveless Zoodie (JH057F) from Just Hoods by AWDis is “dancing up a storm” thanks to its on-trend style. It comes in six colours with a self-coloured contrast drawcord with silver stripe, and is made from a 280 gsm, 80% ringspun cotton/20% polyester fabric. The Men’s Sleeveless Zoodie (JH057) is available in five colours.
Just Hood by AWDis also recommends the men’s Toodie (JH007), a T-shirt hoodie style that is lightweight and slimfit and which the brand describes as being “almost purpose-built for dancewear”.
Prestige Leisure highlights the Kids Varsity Jacket (JH043B) from Just Hoods by AWDis, saying: “It’s the ideal showstopper with its contrast sleeves, knitted collar, cuffs and waistband with stripe details. It has contrast studs that are press-stud closure, welt contrast pockets, taped back neck and a hanging loop at back neck, and a soft, cotton-faced fabric that creates an ideal printing surface and is WRAP-certified. There is also an adult equivalent, JH043, to create the ‘one team’ look regardless of size and age.”
BTC activewear has accessories covered for dancers, starting off with BagBase’s new Athleisure Kit Bag (BG546), which has zippered front valuables pockets, tear-away label for ease of rebranding and water-resistant fabric. Also available from the brand is the Junior Dance Bag (BG145) in four colours with retro styling. Sol’s offers the Soho 420D holdall in two sizes (72500/72600). This vintage duffle bag has a retro-feel and is available in six colours.
The bags are ideal for holding the Guest Towel (T03509) from Towels by Jassz, which BTC activewear says comes in a fantastic range of colours. Sol’s says its Atoll microfibre towel is another dance studio winner thanks to its quick-drying properties. It is available in three sizes.
The too-cool-for-school dancer always needs a good snapback to finish off their look, which is why BTC activewear suggests Beechfield’s Graphic Snapback (B880) with four on-trend, patterned crowns to choose from.