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Choosing the right garment can make or break a campaign.

Duncan Gilmour, MD of garment decorator Screenworks, explains how.

Purpose

Thinking about the purpose of your branded clothing order is the first step to selecting the right garments. For instance, if you are planning on purchasing t-shirts for a one-day event, which are likely to be discarded immediately afterwards, then an affordable, basic, low quality product will probably fi t your requirements perfectly.

On the other hand, if you need work-wear that will be worn regularly and washed multiple times, then you will want something more robust. Selecting a twin needle stitched garment with neck tapes would be a better value option as this type of garment is likely to be more durable and retain its shape.

Your specialist clothing supplier will have plenty of knowledge and will be able to propose a product that meets the criteria requested by your client. It makes sense to utilise the expertise they can offer.

Fabric quality

It is a common misconception that the heavier the fabric, the better the garment quality – but it is actually the weaving process that can be the defining factor. If you are after a quality product, then a 150gsm ring spun cotton garment, for instance, is often superior to a 180gsm carded cotton yarn.

This can also have some effect on the overall quality of the print. A smooth-feel fabric with shorter fibres can yield a better result, so this may need to be a key consideration.

Styles and colours

Manufacturers are constantly expanding their product lines to include more variety so, if you are looking for something out of the ordinary, start by finding out which ranges offer the most choice.

Your promotional clothing supplier will be able to tell you instantly if the Pantone matched garment you want is available off the shelf or if you will need to place a bespoke order. If your specifications can’t be matched, your supplier will also be fundamental in sourcing a close alternative.

Many clothing projects may require a size range incorporating children’s and lady-fit garments as well as a unisex fit. It should be noted that not all brands offer all three options, and if they do it would be prudent to check that the garment colour specified is available in all options.

Stock availability

Manufacturers can only hold a limited amount of stock at any one time, so you may have to allow longer if the garment needs to be ordered in. If you are after a fast turnaround time, speak to your branded clothing supplier about what kind of garments are readily available at any given time, to make sure your order can be delivered when you want it.

A quality supplier will flag this at quotation stage, as there is no point quoting for 5,000 purple t-shirts in a particular make and style if the sizes you require are not available for six weeks.

Fabric type

Your garment choice will be strongly determined by the type of fabric that best fits your needs. For instance, if you are providing branded clothing for a marathon, then choosing a polyester vest will be preferable to a t-shirt that is made out of 100 per cent cotton. This is because polyester has moisture absorption qualities that will keep runners cooler.

Processing and decoration

Certain fabrics respond differently to various decorating techniques and it’s useful to know about any limitations before committing to a certain range. Opting for a thin 130gsm t-shirt, for instance, will mean it’s best to keep the decoration simple. This is because the process of heat drying an A3 solid branding design front and back could distress the fabric.

Need a one colour logo printed on to a long-sleeve garment for an outdoor event? Then you may want to consider a lightweight jacket instead of a fl eece. This is because the deep pile on fl eece material can impact the quality of the screen print.

Budget

Finally, with garment prices ranging from under £1 to £50 or more, it’s easy for budgets to spiral out of control. It pays to provide your promotional clothing supplier with your budget and let them come back to you with their advice on the garment styles, cuts and fits. It may mean you end up getting new ideas and more for your money.

Your supplier will also be able to use their industry expertise to offer both product advice and decoration techniques, which could give you the edge when pitching for an order.

The process of choosing the right products for your promotional clothing order is important to get right. If you are struggling to source the right solution, then turn to your supplier who will use their experience and expertise to help you prioritise what you need and find a garment that ticks the most boxes.

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