The Top Seven Color Trends Predicted by Pantone for Winter 2019

Each season, Pantone Color Institute graces us with their Fashion Color Trend Report based on the stunning pieces flaunted down the runway by top designers at both New York and London Fashion Week. The Fall/Winter 2019/2020 report includes a radiant display of bold and classic colors, proving that this year is all about individuality and expression

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, describes the collections as ranging from, “easy and sophisticated to strikingly different and unique.” 

As high fashion always seems to trickle down to the mainstream, it serves as a valuable piece of information to help make guided decisions for your upcoming inventory for the colder months ahead. 

Of the total 32 colors chosen as inspirational highlights (16 for New York Fashion Week, 16 for London Fashion Week), we chose the top seven most wearable hues you can expect to see in every shade this winter—along with a few products in similar color options. 

Pantone’s Top Seven Color Trends for Winter 2019

1. Chili Pepper: Pantone 19-1557 

A spicier cousin to Pantone’s spring ‘Fiesta’ shade, Chili Pepper is listed as the leading color for fall and winter this year. Incorporate a touch of the hue for added drama within your designs by selecting tees with statement sleeves, or showing some flavor with an all-red fabric and simple embroidered logo. 

View the color trend:

A close up of a coat

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[Above: J. America – Vintage Athletic Hooded Sweatshirt – 8847]

2. Biking Red: Pantone 19-1650

A fresh spin on the ‘Merlot’ classic, Biking Red is meant to exude adventure. Just as the name suggests, the warm shade is strong, powerful and confident. For the fashion-forward, the color was already seen on Nicole Kidman earlier this year at the Golden Globes. Keep as an all-over basic or screen print a lighter ink shade for bold contrast. 

View the color trend:

A red and white hat

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[Above: Richardson – Snapback Trucker Cap – 112]
[Above: Independent Trading Co. – Women’s Special Blend Hooded Sweatshirt Dress – PRM65DRS]

3. Orange Tiger: Pantone 16-1358

Fearless and energized just like the animal, this loud color sends a roaring statement. From dresses to color-blocked ensembles, you can expect to see it hitting all the major retail stores come fall and staying through the winter. Incorporate it as a pop of ink on a soft-hued garment for your casual enthusiasts or stock the colored apparel for the fashion savvy. 

View the color trend:

[Above: Gildan – Heavy Blend™ Hooded Sweatshirt – 18500]

4. Galaxy Blue: Pantone 19-4055 

An interpretation of our atmosphere, this elegant blue is a striking winter staple. Played up into gala attire, as seen by Lupita Nyong’o, or down into athleisure pieces—both evoke a thoughtful reaction. For added richness, pair the color with a silver screen-printed design. 

View the color trend: 

[Above: Sportsman – 12″ Solid Knit Beanie – SP12]
[Above: Bella + Canvas – Women’s Flowy Racerback Tank – 8800]

5. Eden: Pantone 19-6050

From the evergreen trees we place in homes to wreaths we hang on our door; Eden pays homage to stately winter traditions as a warm sister to Forest Green. It’s meant to provide an alternative to the common navy, black and gray, often worn during the colder months of the year. The earth tone also provides a steady base for an array of customization opportunities. 

View the color trend:

[Above: ALSTYLE – Classic Long Sleeve T-Shirt – 1304]
[Above: Mega Cap – Pigment-Dyed Twill Cap – 7601]

6. Crème de Pêche: Pantone 12-1110

A refreshing take from the normally dark hues of winter, Crème de Pêche is a softer tint of the peach family. Often worn layered, this chic color is a staple to build up any winter wardrobe. Embroider a sleek black logo for simple class or add a vibrant design using the bold shades above for true individuality. 

View the color trend:

A close up of a person

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[Bella + Canvas – Unisex Sponge Fleece Hoodie – 3719]
A person in a white shirt

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[Above: Independent Trading Co. – Women’s Lightweight Cropped Hooded Sweatshirt – AFX64CRP]

7. Frost Gray: Pantone 17-0000

Listed in London’s color trend report, Frost Gray is a diverse color that conveys timelessness. This color can be sported alone, layered under a cardigan, printed with a monochromatic design and more. It’s a versatile hue that belongs in everyone’s closet. 

View the color trend: 

A person with collar shirt

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[Above: Next Level – Inspired Dye Short Sleeve Pocket Crew – 7415]
[Above: Alternative – Youth Eco-Fleece Dodgeball Pants – K9881]

Bobby Hundreds Turned His Passion for Art Into a Streetwear Brand

The man, the myth, the legend: Bobby Kim, better known as “Bobby Hundreds” in the industry, is one of the most coveted names in streetwear. But it wasn’t a straight shot to success. In fact, in an interview with GQ, Kim said his failures were the greatest lessons that fueled his ambition to think more creatively—and that he did. 

To understand how Kim cultivated a successful streetwear brand, just look to his undeniable passion for art.

From Art to Successful Streetwear Brand

“You’ll never make money off your art.” 

From an early age, Kim’s obsession with art was impossible to miss. As a child, he could spend hours quietly doodling to keep himself entertained. However, as he grew older, his parents made it clear he should pursue other paths. While they appreciated the arts, they never thought it was a viable career and told him he’d never make money that way. 

Despite this, he continued to take up photography, snapping photos at concerts he was attending to capture the skate culture he was fascinated with. He also began experimenting with writing, designing and other art forms. Though, it wasn’t until he moved to Japan as a young adult that he found an affinity for the streetwear lifestyle and culture. 

The first time he saw graffiti and character art incorporated onto skate shirts—the kind of art he wanted to be creating—it excited him. He especially admired the work of Nigo, the fashion designer behind “A Bathing Ape” (BAPE), and also loved how Harajuku’s Busy Works shop looked more like an art gallery than a boutique. 

At the time, Kim was able to support himself through various freelance jobs, however, the market changed after 9/11. With his parents’ old doubts still echoing in his ears and a desire to be more politically active, he eventually decided to apply to law school. Little did he know, he  would meet his business partner there.

A Turning Point 

While studying law, Kim met Ben Shenassafar after noticing a particularly cool pair of shoes Shenassafar wore. After learning they shared a similar taste in style, the two began developing an idea for a company named, The Hundreds.

After excelling in law school after his first year, he landed a cushy internship at a great firm working for a notable man named Abe Edelman. Tragically, at the age of 48, Edelman was dying of cancer. With his time left, Kim and Edelman grew fond of one another and he would occasionally share his art with Edelman as he drew during his lunch break. 

On the last day of the internship, Edelman told Kim something he’d never forget. After a string of compliments on Bobby’s ability and bright future, he said Kim should never become a lawyer. To be specific, Edelman said, “Do you want to be forty years old and realize you spent the entirety of your life doing something that you never really cared about?”

With art always at the forefront of his dreams, Kim decided to finally turn the sketches in his black book into printed pieces. If only he knew then the impact his brand would make.

From Idea to Reality

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The Hundreds X LDRS. Thursday.

A post shared by The Hundreds (@thehundreds) on

In the summer of 2003, Kim (the “artist”) and Shenassafar (the “business guy”) walked in cold to Fred Segal to pitch their line. They spoke to the manager of the store and acted shocked that he hadn’t heard of their brand. Their passion (and bluffing) skills shone through in their pitch and the manager agreed to sell a few of their shirt designs as a test run. 

As The Hundreds grew, they were eventually able to open up their own store, allowing them to cultivate a community around the brand—just like he used to find in skate parks as a teenager. Nowadays, they do a lot of artist collaborations, featuring the original artwork in the shop whenever possible. 

A lot of valuable lessons can be learned from Kim’s story, but if nothing else, remember these three things: 

  1. Turn negative feedback into positive energy.
  2. Believe in your work or no one else will.
  3. Stay true to your dreams, because your passions can oftentimes lead you to success.

What streetwear icons inspire you the most? Let us know in the comments!

The Fair Use Defense: What is it and How does it Apply to Businesses?

The proliferation of appropriation art—or art that intentionally copies another person’s work and alters it in some way—has been at the forefront of a series of copyright infringement cases over the last few decades. A common defense used in this age-old strategy is “fair use” under U.S. copyright law. This claim has provoked a longstanding debate among the industry. 

To some, the ability to claim “fair use” opens up the possibility to creatively expand upon existing visual works. However, others fear it opens up their material to exploitation at the hands of well-known artists and companies who make minor “cosmetic upgrades” and then take credit for the work as their own.

Of the 64 percent of professional photographers who had their work stolen in 2016, commercial businesses were responsible for 28 percent of the theft. 

As a business owner and decorator, it’s important to thoroughly understand the difference between “fair use” and copyright infringement to avoid costly lawsuits. But don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you. 

*Please note, this article should not be taken as legal advice. Always consult with your personal legal advisor before relying upon the information provided. 

The Fair Use Defense 

What is Fair Use?

“Fair use” is outlined in a set of guidelines found in Title 17, Section 107 of the U.S. copyright act. It allows the use of copyrighted materials without permission from the owner in specific cases. Essentially, the guidelines give people the ability to build upon the work of another so long as it doesn’t deprive the original artist of the right to “control and benefit from their works.” 

For example, Section 107 states that using someone else’s work as a part of “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research” is not considered an infringement of copyright.

Note, we said guidelines, and not clearly defined circumstances. The wording of the law is meant to be vague. It avoids stifling the very creative process it’s protecting. 

While the lack of specificity can be daunting, there are a set of principles that courts use to determine if a case adheres to “fair use” guidelines. 

Principles to Consider

If you’re considering using someone else’s artwork or imagery in your next project, be sure to evaluate each of these four principles:

  • The purpose of use: Non-commercial, editorial, parody and educational use are covered under the law. Commercial use is a gray area, though. Tread carefully if you’re mass producing printed tees with popular paintings, images or designs.
  • The nature of the copyrighted work: Is the original work part of public domain? For example, the Mona Lisa is considered public domain use because Leonardo da Vinci died over 70 years ago. 
  • The amount used: The smaller amount of the original work used, the better. 
  • The market effect: As mentioned previously, if your appropriation of a copyrighted image deprives the copyright owner of income through direct competition, you can be hit with a copyright lawsuit. 

When it comes to decorated apparel, “fair use” is not duplicating a work of art as is, screen printing it and then selling it. Making only minor tweaks to the artwork, such as mirroring an image or changing a color, would also not be “fair use.” 

So, how can businesses ethically claim “fair use” when appropriating visual creative?

Businesses and Fair Use

At its core, “fair use” is a defense against claims of copyright infringement to allow for freedom of expression. If you’re comfortable navigating the waters, keep the following top of mind:

  • Use as little of the artwork as possible
  • Transform the design in a significant way
  • Make sure your purpose is clear 

Worried about copyright infringement? In the end, originality is always best practice. To truly become a lifestyle brand people will respect, work to build your own definable brand aesthetic. 

Pro Tip: Carry a sketchbook so you’re prepared when inspiration strikes! Have a cool idea in mind already that merits the work of an artist you admire? Reach out and discuss the possibility of a collaboration. 

To learn more about copyright laws to protect your business, check out our guide on how to avoid copyright infringement.

6 Steps to Find (and Keep) Your Dream Employees

Employees who love their jobs perform better and stay with their companies longer. However, according to Gallup, only 15% of employees worldwide are truly engaged in their current roles. Put another way, this year, 52% of U.S. workers plan to hunt for a new job, and of those, 54% landed their current job less than a year ago, Adtaxi reports.

That speaks to a larger trend of smart business owners creating cultures that appeal to workers’ needs, like a work-life balance or flex time. But first, you need to find, train and retain the right employees.

“The most difficult aspect of hiring and training employees is finding the right match for the employee and your company,” says Linda Gadwood, owner of Omaha, NE-based LogoLinda LLC.. “From the company side, [that means finding] someone who’ll show up and be fully engaged with my business. From the employee side, [they’re looking for] a company that allows them to use their talents.”

We asked four industry business owners and experts to weigh in on six key areas for finding and retaining the best employees.

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5 Keys to Transform Your Business into a Lifestyle Brand

In today’s digital era, anyone can have an idea and start a business. Only a few, however, can truly become lifestyle brands with a devoted customer base. Great lifestyle brands have personality, influence behavior and create a strong connection with their audience. 

Here are five keys that will transform your business into one of the greats by building customer retention, brand loyalty and overall profit growth.

1. Understand Your Audience 

Integral to all facets of a business, you need to thoroughly understand your audience. The best way to do this is by creating buyer personas—or semi-fictional characters who represent your optimal consumers based on detailed market research. 

The most important things to include when developing these personas are:

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4 Ideas for Mini-Me Matching Themes

In light of the “mini-me” fashion craze, we’re seeing everything from parent-child tees to dresses to hats pop up in the market. In fact, if you search the hashtag #minime on Instagram, you’ll find over seven million results

High-profile celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé are no strangers to the style, as they are often seen flaunting matching outfits with their kids. So, why are we so obsessed with looking like our children and having them look like us? Let’s dive in. 

The Mini-Me Craze

If we travel back to the 1960s, mothers used to make clothing for themselves and their children using the same fabric. However, back then these matching styles were usually considered outdated. If only they knew how the style would be highly popularized today. 

Conversely, elegant mini-me matching has long been popular in Russia and the Middle-East. Only in the last couple of years have we seen an uptick in trendiness in the U.S., due in large part to celebrities and social media influencers. 

According to Carolyn Mair, author of The Psychology of Fashion, family members want to dress similarly because it creates a sense of belonging and show of good-standing. Mair explains, “It makes a positive statement about the family to observers, as it’s doubtful that a family or couple who were not in a good place emotionally would dress the same.” 

Not to mention, it pulls at the heartstrings. All in all, the trend is well-received globally by parents and kids alike and offers an opportunity for brands to expand their product offerings. 

The luxury market may be leading the charge, but that’s not stopping retailers from throwing their hats in the ring, and it shouldn’t stop you either.

We’ve rounded up four fun ideas for mini-me matching themes below.

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5 Things College Students Love Wearing

When we think of college we think all-nighters, dissertations and spring break shenanigans. College is a time for education, growth, and discovery, in all areas of life—from earning a degree to crafting a signature style. More importantly, the numbers show that the college retail market is vast and thriving. 

Research by Deloitte revealed college students and their parents planned to spend $4.2 billion on clothing and accessories in their back-to-school shopping last year, with an average per student spend of $279. 

So, what are college students actually wearing these days, and how can your brand cater to the market? Instagram, Youtube, and niche sites like CollegeFashionista can give you an inside look from the student’s themselves. 

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10 Ways to Increases Sales AND Create Good Business Karma

Distributor Rick Tidd has helped raise $750,000 for charity and local organizations during his 35-year career—and wants to hit a cool million before he retires.

“My primary goal is to help people, so that’s why I get involved in charitable efforts,” says Tidd, owner of Findlay, OH-based Mad Hatter Promotions. “But it also tends to help my business, since people invariably end up asking what I do and then want to work with me.”

Michelle Long, CEO of Glen Burnie, MD-based Hullabaloo Promos, agrees. “As a community, we need to work together,” she says. “If you have the capability to assist a neighboring company or school, it just seems like the right thing to do.”
But how do you get started when you’re busy running a business? “Evaluating your options is simple— don’t take on anything that will cause your business to lose money,” says Long, who advises that processing orders at a discount, at cost or as a donation for advertising is best. “It’s a balance, though. Remember to leave time for your regular clients.”

There are lots of charitable organizations, many with branches in your area, that would love your help. When you support a nonprofit that aligns with your firm’s values, you’ll also attract like-minded customers. One idea: Tidd recommends choosing a charity that you want to affiliate with—and offering up a few hundred tote bags free or at End Quantity Pricing, if they’re hosting an event. “You get to add your logo as a sponsor,” he says. “You can even ask one of your clients to sponsor the bags or other items for the charity, and put both of your logos on it. It makes everyone happy.”

Tidd has repeated this charitable model in one form or another over and over, helping to raise three-quarters of a million dollars for his local community. For a Kentucky Derby-themed gala to raise money for his local senior center, Tidd produces a printed whiskey glass or stemless wine glass each year. “We’ve gotten our customers to sponsor the glasses,” Tidd says. “And we all get our logos on the drinkware.” For his local Honor Flight Network veterans program, Tidd sources “challenge” coins, “good conduct” medal pins and celluloid pins at cost. “We’ve saved the group more than $2,000 vs. a retail cost,” he says. 

Read on to learn more about how generous distributors have gotten involved in their local communities—and been paid back in dividends. Plus, get some great ideas on how you can get involved.

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5 Innovative Pop-Up Shop Ideas Your Brand Can Emulate

Have you noticed how pop-up shops have literally been “popping” up everywhere? According to research by Storefront, a marketplace for short-term retail spaces, the temporary retail (i.e. pop-up) industry is expected to generate $80 billion per year.

From streetwear brands to influencer collaborations, pop-up events provide an exciting way for online retailers to connect with customers face-to-face. Additionally, they allow you to test out new markets and receive direct feedback to make any necessary changes with inventory moving forward.

That said, if you’re going to do it—do it right. A pop-up shop is the perfect opportunity to find an Instagrammable moment for your audience, which can catapult social and word of mouth awareness. From concept to creation, they require a significant time commitment and a decent amount of upfront costs, however, the return will be well worth it. Businesses have consistently found that pop-up shops are cost-effective in the end, and way less expensive than a traditional brick-and-mortar location.  

Here are five innovative ideas your brand can emulate, once you have a little revenue in the bank:

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Picking the Right Water-Resistant Jacket

Spring and summer showers are not only good for the flowers, but for your rainwear sales as well. Whether commuting or hiking, it’s not enough for customers to simply tout around an umbrella, especially for those who frequent the great outdoors. Now is the time when many people are searching for jackets that are breathable, stylish and resilient.

Customers want protective materials that allow them to enjoy their active outdoor adventures or strolls through the city without getting soaked from head-to-toe. In fact, an important piece of criteria that many people use to evaluate the best suitable lightweight jacket is water-resistance.  

Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant

In picking the right outerwear jacket for a customer, it’s important to understand the difference between waterproof and water-resistant.

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