The sportswear and athleisure markets are among the hottest areas in textile printing. Audiences worldwide enjoy garments for various everyday activities and when attending games to support their favorite teams. This growing popularity expands the profit margins for brands and vendors.
As exciting as this progress may be, it also uncovers some of the biggest challenges sportswear production faces. These challenges can change the entire picture for the businesses that manage to overcome them, and for those that fail to do so. Let’s take a look at the elements recreational sportswear, promotional apparel, team gear, and other sports producers and brands should focus on to deliver what the market wants and capitalize on this athletic business opportunity.
The Race for Quality
Quality is always essential. In the sportswear market, it plays several roles. In addition to consistent top-quality production in general, brands in that field should provide durable outfits that can handle outdoor games and activities. Items must endure different weather conditions and maintain their quality for the long run.
Manufacturers in sportswear also deal with the unique quality challenges of polyester production, as it is the leading fabric type for this segment. Producing high-quality results when printing on brushed polyester, for example, can be extra tricky for brands that aren’t equipped to do so.
The Ink Rink
Polyester printing makes the choice of ink more critical than ever, as this fabric is susceptible to the unfortunate phenomenon of dye migration. Brands must prevent this to deliver perfectly printed items even when challenging substrates and low-energy dyed fabrics are involved. The result must be soft to the touch, even though sportswear items often include ink-heavy impressions.
Choosing the right textile printing vendors for global sportswear brands, team gear, and fan apparel producers is a sensitive process because they’re looking for strong color-matching capabilities that will stay true to the team or brand’s creative assets and vision. A wide color gamut of vivid shades including neon colors is another must-have because sportswear items are typically vibrant and colorful.
The Creativity Trophy
As the sportswear vertical grows in popularity, customers look for items that can surprise and delight them, encouraging brands and fulfillers to up their creative game. Businesses aim to produce a set of creative capabilities as comprehensive and versatile as possible, adding new applications and colors to the mix.
Brands that introduce new creative designs to the market stand to enjoy a significant profit boost, but they and their business partners should remove all obstacles for that to happen. Limitations related to fabrics, production volume, or the end result simply cannot stand in their way.
The Production Podium
Without a solid, streamlined production, every goal mentioned here is impossible to achieve. Businesses in the textile arena who wish to grow their sportswear market share rely on technologies and methods that eliminate unnecessary steps and expenses. Multi-step, time-consuming procedures move out of the way and make room for simplified, robust solutions that boost cost-efficiency and are easy to implement. Eliminating the need for multiple diverse production systems, and consolidating every application to a single mechanism, requiring less labor, less floor space, and less capital and operational expense, would also do a great deal to promote production agility, new business opportunities, and long-term growth for any such brand or fulfiller.
Sportswear may be a specific field for brands and producers to focus on, but textile printing professionals shouldn’t have to undergo exhausting training to get to work. Businesses should utilize their existing skills, equipment, and capabilities. In the on-demand era, with more than half of athleisure revenue coming from online shopping, textile production should move fast while keeping in mind everything we said about quality and creativity.
Sounds like a lot, right? Brands and fulfillers with high aspirations in the fan gear and activewear market should get active and find the technologies to support the above needs. This is a race worth winning, as it is rewarding and exciting.
As long as we’re on the subject of technology, Kornit recognizes the above challenges and our teams have been working tirelessly to develop groundbreaking solutions that will take activewear items to another league. If you’re curious to know what Kornit has planned for this and other exciting markets, stay tuned for our announcements on Tel-Aviv Fashion Week, April 3-6.