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]

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.

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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The Marketing Strategy Your Brand Shouldn’t Ignore

As consumer trust of brands continues to plummet, shoppers look toward recommendations from friends, family and peers—leading more companies to invest in influencer marketing on social media.

More than just a marketing buzzword, the digital age has allowed businesses of all sizes to partner with trusted online leaders (or “influencers”) to drive a brand message to a dedicated audience—opening the door for smaller brands and budgets.

From fashionistas to hypebeasts to techies, there’s an influencer niche for pretty much every market. Yes, even “kidfluencers” exist.

Brands looking to partner with kidfluencers (influencers under the age of 13) must be extremely cautious. Sometimes known as “spawn con”, there are a lot of ethical debates concerning companies who partner with kids and their behind-the-scenes parents for social media marketing.

Currently, there aren’t any definitive laws protecting insta-famous children and their ad earnings like the Coogan Law does for child actors.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking to start a kids’ streetwear line and want to work with kidfluencers, we recommend reading this article by Adweek for tips on how to ethically engage partnerships.

If you’re not ready to work with the complexities of child influencers, there are plenty of older influencers out there to help spread your brand’s message! Read on for how to build a brand partnership with influencers.

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Why Funny Tees Work: The Top 3 Comedy Theories Explained

In case you haven’t noticed, funny tees have been extremely popular as of late, with no indication of slowing down. In fact, on Etsy alone, there are over 93,000 results for ‘funny graphic tee’. If you haven’t considered adding the style to your custom apparel offerings, now is definitely the time.

Now, we know what you’re thinkingwhat exactly makes something funny? Is there a formula you can easily recreate for your own tees?

As it turns out, scientists and philosophers have been pondering several theories behind humor for hundreds of years. While it may not be an exact formula, understanding why people think situations are funny can inspire ideas for your creative new apparel.

To help provide some direction, we narrowed it down to the top three comedy theories. Let’s take a look!

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Screen Printing Halftones Like A Pro

Geno from Wichita Screen Printing and LearnHowToScreenPrint.com is back again to show you how to print halftones, using the Alternative Go-To Tee (style 1070). You can get some really amazing printing detail if you do it just right, so we’re here to help you get the best results possible.

If you’re wondering what halftone printing is though, here is a brief summary. This method is a one-color process that uses a series of dots varying in size or spacing, which combines together to form a gradient of that color. Those gradients then help to form the final image.

The number of halftone dots in the print is measured in LPI ( Lines Per Inch ), which is the number of dots per linear inch. The amount of detail and smoothness of your print will be determined a lot by the LPI.

The number of #halftone dots in a #print is measured in LPI ( Lines Per Inch ), which is the number of dots per linear inch. Click To Tweet

In the video above, Geno will show you the difference in the results when printing using 35 LPI vs 55 LPI. He’ll also touch on the importance of screen tension, and using the right mesh to get the best results.

Overcome These 4 Fears About Selling Apparel Right Now

When Howard Potter, CEO of Utica, NY-based A&P Master Images, first started his decorated-apparel business, he operated from a 15-foot-by-15-foot room in his house. “In the beginning, I sold apparel mostly from catalogs and ordered samples to show customers only when I needed them,” he says.

As his business grew, he increased his showroom space—from 8 feet on a wall, to an 8-by-10 area, and then to a large 20-by-20 showroom. “We created a better layout and experience for our customers to view products,” Potter says. “But when we didn’t have tons of space to show actual garments, we didn’t let that become a block to stop us from selling.”

Potter focused on a couple of things: showing clients the most popular and effective mid-level and up styles in a variety of colors, plus recommending apparel and decoration unique to each client’s needs. “We want them to know that we aren’t trying to make them look like everyone else,” Potter says.

Many distributors and decorators, who’d like to sell more apparel, need to overcome their fears about selling it (even more so than overcoming their customers’ objections).  Luckily, we’re here to help you get past the four most common challenges we’ve heard about.

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Work With Your Fashion Tee. Not Against It.

Do you want to sell more fashion tees, but haven’t had much success getting the right printing results when using them? Are you defaulting to selling basic cotton tees as a result? The problem could be that you’re working against your garment, and not with it. Times have changed and the “one style fits all” approach to screen printing just doesn’t cut it anymore. What works on basic 6.0 oz./ 100% cotton tees doesn’t necessarily work on lightweight fashion fabrics like 3.7 oz triblends or 4.2 oz 100% ringspun cotton. So what’s the difference?

Basic T-shirt Printing vs Fashion T-shirt Printing

Think of the 6.0 oz basic shirt as a really thick paper towel. Because of it’s heavier weight and rough surface, it can absorb a thicker layer of ink. On the other end of spectrum, the 3.7 oz triblend shirt is like a thin tissue that can’t absorb the same amount of ink. 

When printing on a 6.0 oz shirt, a coarse mesh like 110 is used to lay down a thick opaque layer of ink. If we looked through a loop and magnified the surface of a basic 6.0 oz cotton tee, the cotton fibers have a rough texture that looks like a bale of hay (see the “Carded Open End Cotton” image on the left). Because of this, it’ll require a thicker layer of ink deposited onto it for you to get a fully opaque print. Otherwise, much of the ink will fall in between the fibers, since there isn’t a smooth, tightly knitted surface for it to be evenly distributed on.

Image from article “Fabric Type 101: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know” @ bellacanvas.com

Using this same thick stencil technique wouldn’t be as effective on a 30 singles combed ringspun cotton shirt, though. Why? The tighter weave (see the “100% Combed & Ringspun” image on the right) allows the ink to easily sit on top of the fabric and be evenly distributed across the surface of the shirt. A thick layer of ink on top of a shirt like this will feel heavy and rough. The ink will rise off of it and defeat the whole purpose of using a softer fabric in the first place.

Why pay extra money for a soft fashion tee if you’re going to apply a thick, sandpaper-like design on it, taking away from its softness? It’s like putting cloth seats in an expensive luxury car. It just doesn’t match the product. Offer your clients decoration techniques that best compliment the garment.

The Right Tee For The Right Job

When your customer wants an opaque bold logo on a fashion tee, go with a 100% cotton ringspun tee. If they’re looking for a vintage look, with distressed artwork or logos, use blended heathered or blended solid tees. These work best because the texture of these fabrics can be blended into the artwork, helping to emphasize that vintage style.

Looking to #print a bold opaque logo on a fashion #tee, go with a 100% cotton ringspun tee. For a #vintage style, with #distressed artwork or logos, use blended heathered or blended solid tees. Click To Tweet

The Right Ink For The Right Job

Below is a list of inks, along with how and when the best time to use them is:

For Printing On 100% Combed Ringspun Cotton Fashion Tees:

Regular Plastisol Ink – When using this kind of ink, simply use a higher mesh count like 156 or 195 and add reducer to it, so it’ll to thin out a bit. (Keep in mind once you go over 10%, it will start to affect your ink color) 

Plastisol Discharge Ink – Great technique for achieving bright whites that have very little hand, but can be a little chalky when it dries, compared to water-based discharge ink.    

Water Based Ink – Good for creating a tone-on-tone print, when using light colored tees and it also has the softest hand of any print technique.

Water Based Discharge Ink – The discharge agent bleaches the dye of the cotton and replaces it with the pigment of the ink. This provides a much softer hand then a traditional plastisol under base on dark garments. Discharge agent only works on cotton though, so the garment will need to be 100% cotton for a fully opaque print.              

For Printing On Fashion Tees w/ Blended Heathers or Blended Solid Fabric:

Water-Based Ink – Works well on lighter colors for a washed-out tone-on-tone look. The ink blends in with the heathered coloring of the fabric, which makes it feel like part of the shirt.    

Fashion Based Ink – Best way to achieve the same super-soft hand as water-based ink does, but still gives you the ability to use plastisol ink and avoid using water based ink, if you’re not comfortable working with it.

Water-Based Discharge Ink – Great for tri–blends that contain cotton/poly/rayon only. The pigment in the cotton will be affected by the discharge, which produces a very vintage “washed out” look. 

Jason Peters

Jason is an Account Executive at S&S and has over 20 years of experience in the decorated apparel industry. These days he really enjoys using the knowledge he's gained throughout the years to help other industry professionals succeed.
Jason Peters

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Photo of Screen Printer Taken by yanalya / Freepik

7 Major Graphic Design Trends to Keep an Eye On for 2019

Whether you design your own graphics for your apparel business or work with a graphic designer, it’s important to stay on top of the trends to make sure your garments remain relevant and are meeting a market need.

Here’s a closer look at seven major graphic design trends for 2019 to help your ideation process:

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cotton

ComfortWash: Supporting the U.S. Economy and the Environment

Have you ever considered how agriculture and fashion are so intrinsically connected? Farmers grow the materials that go into the textiles, and thus they’re the foundation of every fashionable piece you see online or in a store.

Take cotton, for example. Textile manufacturers in the U.S. use an average of 7.6 million bales of cotton each year. As a leading cash crop, it aids in stimulating the American economy and provides significant environmental benefits.

Are you ready to start supporting the local economy and environment? Here’s why you should consider working more with brands who choose material grown in the U.S.

The Impact of U.S. Cotton

Growing the Economy

Of the thousands of cotton growers in America, many are family-owned farms whose rural communities depend on stable farm income. In fact, the crop is responsible for employing over 126,000 people and bringing in more than $120 billion in business revenue for the U.S. annually. Of the total annual yield, more than half is used for apparel!

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