It’s that time of year when the garment companies predict what they think will be the biggest sellers of the year. Read on to find out which essential styles you should be adding to your product portfolio for 2016

Predicting the trends for the coming year has always been a complicated business. And with the increasing influence of retail on many aspects of the imprint market, allied to the sheer number of new styles being launched each year, it has never been more important. This has meant that the imprint brands have become ever more adept at the trendspotting game. So what do the experts have to say: which styles are going to be the Top Picks of 2016? We asked them…

The T-shirt sector has seen some significant changes over the past few years as customers have begun to demand more flattering, fashion-led styles. Tees remain the backbone of any printing operation, and the brands have this year created a huge range of innovative designs for decorators to choose from.

T-shirt trends

SF Men has taken inspiration from what it says is the American craze for printing across the shoulders and created the Unisex Drop Shoulder Slogan Top (SF514). It has been cut with the maximum slogan area across the back and front chest, creating an eye-catching billboard for any branding.

Sol‘s is predicting stripes will be in big demand this year, in particular those on its new French Marinière striped T-shirt. It comes in traditional white/French marine stripes and white/ red, as well as ash/lemon. The men’s long-sleeve Marine T-Shirt (01402) is made from 100% ring-spun combed cotton and there is a complementary style for women, plus men’s, women’s and children’s short-sleeve versions.

Stripes have also made a mark at Babybugz, where the brand has launched its Baby Long Sleeve Stripy T (BZ38). It has contrast elbow patches and what the brand says is an immediate ‘aah’ factor, which is “so important for babywear purchasing”. It‘s available in a nautical tri-colourway or a pink/red/cream option, and features a tear-off label for easy rebranding. Skinni Minni also has the kids market covered with its new kids‘ long-sleeved Baseball T (SM271) – a trendy, perfect-for-print style with a white body and choice of three colours.


From left: The Unisex Drop Shoulder Slogan Top (SF514) from SF Men, Russell selects the new V-Neck HD T as its Top Pick for 2016, The new Kids long-sleeved Baseball T from Skinni Minni, Sol‘s French Marinière striped T-shirts

The big launch from Russell for 2016 is the V-Neck HD T – a soft, slim-fitting polycotton T-shirt that has been created for sublimation printing, as well as being suitable for direct-to-garment, screen printing and heat transfer. The tee come in white and nine marl colours, and has a removable adhesive label, making back-neck branding a simple affair. A long sleeve version and six new HD T styles for children (in sizes 5-14 years) have also been introduced.

Another exciting and clever new style for 2016 is the Women‘s Sweat T (M122) from Mantis World – a sweater T-shirt style that not only has a great name but also offers a great twist on the current trend of combining sports and streetwear. It is made from French terry fabric, has a wide neck, loose fit and rolled back sleeves for an effortlessly cool look. The back neck label is tear-off, making it ideal for rebranding, and, like all Mantis World garments, it‘s ethically made. A girls‘ version is available for those aged 8 to 12+ (MK122).

Anvil‘s top pick for 2016 is its women‘s Women’s Tri-Blend Racerback Tank (6751L). This super soft, semi-fitted T-shirt has a tapered fit, smooth drape and curved bottom hems for an extra touch of femininity. It is joined by the new Women’s Tri-Blend Deep Scoop . Sleeve Tee (6756L) and Women’s Tri-Blend V-Neck Tee (6750VL). Anvil has also added three new colours to the Tri-Blend range this year.

Polo predictions

Polos were dotted across the SS16 catwalks, with both John Smedley and Gieves and Hawkes showing off their latest take on this fashion staple. In the imprint market polos are tipped to have another good year as well thanks to new styles creating an uplift in interest and demand.

Fruit of the Loom is confident that there is going to be a buzz around its Performance range this year, which now includes the new Lady-Fit Performance Polo. The garment is made from a 100% textured polyester with Cool Wear technology that keeps the wearer cool and dry by wicking away any moisture. Performance T-shirts and Vests, Performance Shorts and Kids Performance Shorts have also been added. All the clothes in the range are ideal for both sublimation and screen printing.

From left: The Women‘s Sweat T (M122) from Mantis World, The Baby Long Sleeve Stripy T (BZ38) from Babybugz, Orn has grown its polo range with the new Petrel and long-sleeved Eagle Polos, The DryBlend Adult Double Piqué Polo (75800) from Gildan

Orn Clothing selects its new 220 gsm, 100% cotton Petrel polo as its Top Pick for 2016, (along with its new long-sleeved version of the Eagle Polo in both female and male sizes). The new polo comes in an extended range of sizes – XS-5XL – and there is a matching women‘s style, the Wren 50/50. The brand also offers customers a free marketing polo printed with highlights of the Eagle polo to help them when selling Orn polos.

Gildan has also selected a polo as its best-seller for the year: the DryBlend Adult Double Piqué Polo (75800). This soft, 65% polyester/35% cotton, ring-spun double piqué polo contains AquaFX moisture-wicking properties and offers a narrower silhouette in the shoulders and sleeves for a fashion fit, along with side seams with side vents. It has tone-on-tone buttons, contoured welt collar and cuffs, and twin needle stitching on the bottom hem. It comes in sizes S-5XL.

Over at Stedman, the brand has introduced a dashing new polo called Hugo. Made from super soft, ring-spun combed cotton, this new style sports rib collar and cuffs, contrast neckband, three tone-on-tone buttons and has no neck label. It comes in 16 colours, while its partner polo for women, Hanna, comes in 14 shades – an increase of nine new colours for 2016.

Over at B&C, the Safran range points towards the continuing popularity of the 100% ring-spun combed cotton polo. The brand’s Top Pick for 2016 is the new Classic Fit – B&C Safran Timeless. It comes in a choice of 31 colours that range from classic to vibrant, has a great surface for printing, and is accompanied by the Skinny Fit – B&C Safran Pure. “Dressed up or down, for work or leisure, the B&C Safran polo shirts are the uncontested market reference,“ B&C suggests.

From left: Anvil‘s Women’s Tri-Blend Racerback Tank (6751L), Hugo and Hanna polos from Stedman, Fruit of the Loom’s Top Pick is its expanded Performance range, The Classic Fit – B&C Safran Timeless polo 

Fashion strides

The trend for athleisure is showing no signs of abating (see this issue’s Trendwatch for more details). The high street is packed with gymwear that looks as at home in a bar as on the running track, and the new Reversible Work Out Legging (SK424) from SF Women is a great example of how to get it right. The SK424 can be worn printed or plain side out, and can be decorated as desired. It comes in sizes XS-XL in a black/splash design.

Another enduring favourite on the high street is jeans – it‘s hard to imagine leisurewear without jeans, and this year is a landmark thanks to the launch of So Denim by AWDis, a dedicated denim brand for the imprint market. The Men’s Leo Straight Jeans (SD001) are a wardrobe essential for any guy, says the brand. They‘re made from an 11oz soft stretch fabric that has been cut to sit on the hips with a straight fit through the leg. (The matching Ladies Lara Skinny Jeans [SD014] are made from a 9oz soft stretch fabric and are cut to a mid-rise with a skinny fit.) Both styles have the traditional five-pocket styling, self-fabric belt loops and a zip fly and button fastening.

Like jeans, chinos are another perennial favourite with the fashionistas, which is why Front Row has added a range of men‘s and women‘s chino shorts and trousers. These great-fitting garments include a bit of stretch to ensure they are very comfortable. The men‘s Stretch Chino Trousers (FR621) come in a choice of five key fashion colours and in sizes 28-40“ and two leg lengths – regular and long. (The women‘s chino matches the men‘s style, and there is a choice of chino shorts for the warmer summer months.)

Workwear trousers’ appeal is not as closely tied to high street fashion, but they do need to react to the market, which is why the new Next Generation Work Trousers – Snickers’ Top Pick for 2016 – are a technically advanced garment that has been designed for workers‘ specific on-the-job needs to make sure they stay comfortable and protected no matter what the job entails.

We’ll be publishing Part 2 of this year’s Top Picks guide in the March 2016 issue, in which we’ll take a closer look at the cream of the new hoodies, sweats, and outerwear styles.

From left: Jeans for imprint from So Denim by AWDis, On-trend leggings from SF Women, Stylish chinos from Front Row, Next Generation Work Trousers from Snickers