Tombo‘s brand manager, Katrina Smith, discusses seamless styles, cropped tees and all-over prints

What are the key design trends in gym and fitnesswear at the moment?

Seamless styles have become incredibly popular thanks to brands like Gymshark. Customers are looking for styles that offer a mix of comfort, support and coverage – pieces that fit into everyday life and are not just for the gym. Ombré colouring, colour blocking, contrast taping and bold prints are also popular trends, with 90s retro-styling being a key look. Most recently we’ve also seen the animal print trend coming through from mainstream fashion into sportswear too, although it’s being done in a more subtle way. 

What colours are you expecting to be the most popular in 2019? 

Black is always a key seller in our market, so I would expect it to do well. We have also had a really good response to the purple shade in our seamless range, which has gone down well with dance clubs and also independent leisurewear brands. From looking at trend predictions, burgundy and berry shades look set to remain popular over the coming year, as well as several different shades of blue such as royal, navy and teal. Neutrals are also important, and we’re seeing quite a bit of army or khaki green coming through too. 

What fabrics have customers been asking you for, and which do you expect to increase in popularity?

People have really liked the spacer fabric on our Active Hoodie as it’s been widely used by retail/fashion brands and is also soft, breathable and comfortable to wear. Mesh is also really popular right now in women‘s activewear, and we’re seeing more and more items with laser-cut holes, which not only look great but provide breathability too. I also expect there will be more of a movement into sustainable or recycled fibres over the next few years as this is what everyone’s talking about, as well as more intelligent fabrics with added performance benefits. 

Tombo‘s new Ladies’ Cropped Sweatshirt and Ladies’ Panelled Leggings

What new styles will we see hit the market in 2019/2020?

Cropped tees and sweats with a boxy fit are really coming through from the retail market, along with clean seams and rubber taping and trims. The back is also a big focal point on women’s styles, such as crossover straps, cut-out details and tie-backs. We’re introducing new styles with some of these features for 2019. Comfort is still really important, and we’re seeing lots of compression garments with sculpted or zoned areas to cradle muscles and help with performance as well as feeling good to wear.

How has the athleisure trend affected the gym/fitnesswear market? 

I think it has affected it hugely – sportswear has now become mainstream streetwear. The increasing interest in self-care, personal training and wellness has also had an influence on what people want to wear. The biggest change has really been in women’s activewear, where it used to be a case of ‘shrink it and pink it‘, but brands like Ivy Park have changed all of that and made fashionable activewear pieces at affordable prices. 

What are the current decoration trends in gym/fitnesswear? 

There are a lot of bold all-over prints just now – for example, camouflage prints in bright colours. Another trend is for really obvious branding and having this in alternative positions to the chest, such as down the sleeves or legs, sometimes on coloured taping. I think brands and decorators are becoming a lot more experimental and inventive now to try and set themselves apart from the competition. 

What’s the best piece of marketing and/or sales advice you can give to Images readers to help them sell more Tombo garments? 

Be bold and be different – take the time to create some amazing print designs and branding that will really capture
the imagination of the consumer. The sportswear market is becoming more and more saturated, so you need to be able to stand out from the crowd.