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Looking Ahead: The Future of Uniforms

Posted 11/5/2020 by Diana Fernandez

When considering the bright side of 2020, it is clear that businesses have been given the opportunity to rebrand. This has been seen amongst several industries where uniforms have become more essential as companies want to ensure that employees are looking polished and up to speed whether they are on the job or working from home.

For 2021, we can expect to see more businesses looking to differentiate themselves and completing a whole 360 on their uniform programs. Promotional apparel has opened doors to increase engagement, create lasting impressions, and reinforce a positive and professional image.

Lauren Cocco, Director of Merchandising at Vantage Apparel, has explained that there has been a growing trend for better basics and wardrobe staples when it comes to uniforms. “This includes comfortable fabrics, quality construction, and timeless styling. We’re also seeing that need-based attributes are becoming more popular when choosing the appropriate apparel for your employees. Depending on the job, companies may look towards apparel that features moisture-wicking properties, stretch, pockets, or even reflective taping.” Employees are also demanding comfort above all and want the ability to be able to choose their own size and have more unisex styles.

This transition of uniforms to more comfortable and casual crested apparel has made the polo shirt the official non-uniform, uniform and really opened the playing field for placket shirts. The Vansport Omega Solid Mesh Tech Polo hits all the above points and continues to be the #1 selling polo shirt for uniform opportunities. Be sure to consider sizing availability, color consistency, and washing instructions when shopping for polos that will be worn as part of an ongoing program.

Woven fabrics with performance features will continue to enter the uniform spotlight for their polished physical appearance along with their breathability, moisture-wicking and stretch features that employees appreciate. The Vansport solid twill Wicked Woven and blended poplin Sandhill Dress Shirt are great examples of styles that have revolutionized the button-down market. These styles can be easily decorated on various placements to enhance a brand’s image.

Wicked Woven (men’s style 1205, women’s style 1206)
Vansport Sandhill Dress Shirt (men’s style 1250, women’s style 1251)

Vantage is also incorporating Xtreme Visibility safety apparel into the uniform mix. Specially made for employees in construction and beyond, the Xtreme Visibility brand offers ANSI certified styles that provide superior visibility during day and night, are carefully constructed, and have quality fit. Several months back, a popular grocery store chain added a safety vest for employees working curbside pickup. This was to fulfill an immediate need of contactless pickup. They are now considering adding this service long term and they are looking to use the vest as part of their ongoing uniform program. Most of the Xtreme Visibility styles can be customized with various decoration methods such as heat transfer, screen print, embroidery, and laser applique.

The Distribution Pivot

The ability to monogram, handle ordering, and drop ship small quantities, including single-piece direct to employees, are all value-add services that will help to close new uniform programs.

According to Grand View Research, the drop-shipping market has been forecasted to reach $557.9 billion by 2025. It is our goal to offer the best-in-class integrations and e-commerce solutions for our customers to benefit from the growing demand for single-piece decoration and direct fulfillment.

No-touch, no-inventory programs are the key to keeping margins strong and clients satisfied.
Distributor online sales with Vantage have increased in revenue by 135% in comparison to 2019 and distributors have been able to reduce their overhead by nearly 20%.

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