Hot Apparel Trends to Remember for 2023
At the close of every year, the fashion world gets a little makeover. Some apparel trends will stay around for the long term, whereas others fade in and out quickly. Most trends are dictated by retail and global influences, and while distributors probably aren’t going straight to the runway or H&M for the latest looks, they should be taking notes. Sticking to stale, unhip styles isn’t enough anymore.
Clients want the latest and greatest to help their campaigns stand out, to encourage their employees to rock gear outside of work and to show their unique flare.
Take a look at upcoming trends for 2023 and make sure you get your clients ahead of the game to welcome in the new year.
Where It’s Headed
Topping apparel trend charts heading into 2023 are pieces that are functional. Garments that can be worn in the office then later to happy hour or even on weekends for recreation are all the rage.
“Versatile silhouettes, including mid-weight knits, lightweight outerwear, hoodies and fleece of all types will be important, with a focus on streamlined design, functional features and comfort,” says Brian Deissroth, senior key accounts manager for Augusta Sportswear, Grovetown, Georgia. “Performance fabric attributes, such as wicking and four-way stretch, will be increasingly important across all categories.”
More and more users pursue styles that can meet multiple needs for ease and comfort, but the benefits don’t stop there. These styles also have sustainability appeal.
“The top trends for 2023 are using apparel not only for functionality to meet the needs of an event or activity, but also to impact social, eco, and personal initiatives,” says Christina Marcantelli, business development specialist for S&S Activewear, Bolingbrook, Illinois. “The pandemic has had such a profound impact on society, that companies and brands are working together to continue to impact sustainability efforts, social activism such as inclusivity, and promote a healthier lifestyle both mentally and physically.”
Caius Olowu, director of merchandise and design for Next Level Apparel, Gardena, California, notes that this emphasis on nature and sustainability influences the colors that are trending going into 2023. “As fits are becoming more and more particular and defined, customers are finding their favorite style and just wanting more color versions of it,” he explains.
Marcantelli says that this has led to a push for neutrals — a departure from the neons and tie-dyes that have dominated the past couple years.
“We are seeing color palettes of neutrals, earthtone browns and greens in monochromatic cozy, gender-neutral fleece sets, as well as elemental blues and purple hues, evoking balance and calmness,” she shares.
A particular point of note is the gender-neutral styles, which continue to gain momentum. Not only are customers searching for looser, comfortable fits, but streetwear is also a huge part of this trend.
“Other popular trends, in retail especially, are collaborations within high fashion brands and workwear or streetwear styles,” says Marcantelli. “Streetwear and oversized comfort will continue to thrive as younger brands continue to find success in logo heavy fleece and graphic T-shirt merch.”
Taking It to Promo
It’s clear that many of these trends influence each other and play off the same driving forces. As younger generations gain bigger buying power, their personal beliefs and associations will continue to push the major trends of 2023 and beyond.
As such, distributors must ensure they are staying on top of these conversations.
“Apparel is a significant and growing segment of the promotional products industry,” Olowu points out. “Keeping an eye on trends and how they can be applied to our market will allow distributors to stay ahead of the competition in this profitable category.”
There are a few global influences — such as inventory challenges — that distributors should monitor in order to stay in the know.
“Apparel trends can shift rather quickly based on a variety of influences, from fashion houses, technology, music, [and] sports, to entertainment and how we connect socially as humans,” says Deissroth “Availability of materials can certainly impact trends. Unfortunately, higher costs across the board have made some brands and styles harder to access.”
He’s hopeful that some of these costs will see some stabilization, though it’s hard to predict how that will play out.
Fortunately, distributors do have tools to make sure they stay on track with these constant changes. Leading the way are transparency and communication with suppliers.
“Partnering with suppliers and brands that feature on-trend designs can help with sourcing opportunities,” says Marcantelli.
On the flip side, distributors should also keep in close contact with their clients.
“Following customers on social media, websites, blogs and newsletters can be a valuable source of information as well,” Marcantelli says. “This can lead to actionable questions that will provide meaningful suggestions and solutions to align with the campaign initiative.”
Of equal importance to communication is research. While it’s crucial to work with both suppliers and customers on what fresh apparel trends to offer, distributors should also pay attention to runways and retail brands. This ensures distributors have the scoop from every angle.
“Stay on top of what new styles and cuts are coming from retail to the wholesale blank apparel world, and make sure you’re the first one to try them out and offer to your customers,” Olowu suggests.
He also adds that you shouldn’t wait for trends to hit — stay ahead of the curve by researching what’s coming in 2023 now.
That’s a point that can be easier said than done. “It’s tough to predict where
trends are going to come from,” says
Deissroth, “but start with looking outside of the apparel world at pop music, art, technology trends and, of course, social media for what is exciting for 22- to 28-year-olds, as they often set trends that then filter down to other consumer groups.”
And don’t forget: Staying on top of apparel trends helps elevate a distributor for every branding campaign need.
“Corporations, schools and businesses are looking to incorporate trends and initiatives into their design elements, from offering welcome and recognition kits,
pop-up and online store options, and venue aesthetics that will appeal to employee and patron views and initiatives,” says Marcantelli. “Staying on top of trends will help distributors [remain] competitive and align the best product assortments with each customer, which in turn provides exceptional value and an individualized experience for all.”