PPAI Magazine May 2024

diamond quilt is definitely something that draws the eye.” And quilting suggests coziness, which is in high demand year-round. “People want to wear things that make them feel comfortable,” says Nicki Staats, director of merchandising at iPROMOTEu, the No. 13 distributor in the inaugural PPAI 100. She highlights snuggly fleece and the softness of recycled polyester as popular textures in promo apparel. Both Robinson and Staats say sustainability and texture go hand in hand. Demand for more sustainable products continues to grow, and while the link between sustainability and texture might not seem obvious at first, high-quality recycled polyester and organic cotton fabrics provide the softness people want next to their skin. Vantage’s Earthwise Collection includes apparel made with Repreve, a high-quality fabric with a silky hand that’s made from recycled polyester. “Whenever we do trade shows, we make sure that we put an Earthwise piece in the forefront, because when they feel it, they don’t believe that this is made from plastic bottles,” says Robinson. People are also looking for style, and the boxy, oversized look of ’90s streetwear, with details like dropped shoulders, pairs well with the growing demand for unisex garments and layering options. “We’ve been getting requests internally for more of a boxy, unisex look or genderinclusive look, and we’ve definitely incorporated a lot more gender-inclusive [pieces],” says Robinson. “… I think having that universal shape where it looks good on men and women is something that is going to increase more in the next couple of years.” And while promo apparel designers generally stick to more classic shapes to make sure their apparel appeals to as many people as possible, the versatility afforded by oversized pieces meant for layering offers more room – literally – for creativity. Layering is an easy way to elevate a look, too, Robinson says, so she doesn’t see the oversized fit going away anytime soon. “I love it because I’m a big fan of layering,” she adds, “and I feel like it allows people to express themselves in their own unique way.” Staats says the Kastlfel RecycledSoft T-Shirt “has an amazing hand to it.” These super-soft tees are made of certified organic cotton and recycled polyester treated with an eco-enzyme finish for softness, smoothness and color retention. The printed neck label provides sustainability data, and the tees are available in 13 colors created with low-impact OEKO-TEX certified dyes. S&S Activewear / PPAI 256121, Platinum / ssactivewear.com Get that boxy but relaxed look with the Unisex Sponge Fleece Drop Shoulder Sweatshirt, a classic unisex pullover crewneck in comfy, super-soft fleece designed for warmth and breathability. Available in 35 colors and sizes XS-5X. BELLA + CANVAS / PPAI 304892, Silver / bellacanvas.com PPAI • MAY 2024 • 23 In Style | Essentials