Performance wear is king currently, and polyester has been greatly accepted as a result. A move to poly/cotton blends brings the best of both worlds: the performance aspects of polyester with the soft hand of cotton. "We are going to see a comeback of cotton," declares Anne Ingham , VP of design for Tehama (asi/62274). "I’m not saying 100% cotton, but the hand feel that you can get with a pima cotton paired with the performance aspects you get with polyester."
Durable and versatile, poly/cotton blends fall right in line with what consumers expect from a polo shirt and other apparel currently. "Lighter is better today," comments Marc Held, national sales director. "It used to be when we sold a polo shirt, you wanted them to say ‘Wow, feel how heavy that is.’ Well that’s going away. Lighter is better, and poly cotton blends are also easy to launder."
Polyester didn’t always used to have such a sterling reputation. "It took awhile for people to understand it’s a different product than the old polyester that was out," says Wendy Gray, director of creative services. The old polyester did not have the performance properties that consumers now recognize polyester for. Blends will continue to change people’s minds.
For more trends like these, check our upcoming November/December issue of Wearables, where we cover Top Trends for 2010.
Selling Tip: Don’t just tell clients about poly/cotton. Show them the difference with samples, and explain which of their favorite retail brands use it too.