Ivor Tunley, managing director of Orn Clothing, examines the latest trends in workwear and PPE, including the move towards lighter fabrics
What are the key design trends in workwear and PPE at the moment?
Styles are becoming ever more involved, which I think is driven partly by fashion and partly by wearers being fed up with the idea that workwear has to be cheap and nasty. Even within PPE where the prime factor is to protect someone, historically what it looked like or was like to wear was almost discounted, but no longer. Functionality, look, comfort and safety are almost all equal these days.
What are the key colour trends in workwear and PPE?
Grey still seems to be the new black – mainly darker tones – and combinations of grey with black or other colours. Traditional navy and black are still the bestsellers though.
What fabrics have customers been asking you for over the past year?
There is much more public awareness of the availability of performance fabrics, although not always the best understanding of what the performance relates to or the environments they perform in! We do now offer a high quality, performance polo shirt called the Oriole (1190) and are continuing to grow this section of the range.
Garments that incorporate smart technology are popping up more frequently – is this something Orn is looking at?
We have started developments on some items, but it’s very much in its infancy. We’re not against technology at all, but sometimes it’s questionable how much value there is to the wearer, bearing in mind too that, for the greater part, workwear still has to fit a certain budget.
How do you think the workwear and PPE markets will develop over the next few years?
We believe that consumers will demand better quality, lighter garments and further comfort developments in fabric. It used to be thought that weight meant quality, but with advances in fabrics this is starting to change, and with more stretch in fabric so is the comfort. Improved washing detergents and other advances in that area are also helping as you no longer have to boil garments to clean them.
Consumers also want more choice, and that’s where our Sportstone range is proving so popular. Companies of all sizes want to look great in their workwear, and they can now look like they have a bespoke range without any of the headaches attached to a bespoke offering or the wearer headcount to justify it.
What are the main types of decorations currently seen on workwear and PPE, and why do you think this is?
Within our key workwear markets, embroidery is still the number one choice because of its durability, great looks and versatility.
What’s the best or most unusual decoration you’ve seen on a workwear or PPE garment?
Our eagle embroidery on the 10XL polo shirt at Printwear & Promotion Live! It was a superb piece of embroidery – shame it’s not regular workwear. Joking apart, we do a high visibility print for a bespoke client through one of our distributors and the effects on a dark softshell look amazing. It really brings the garment, and their logo, to life.
What’s the single, best piece of marketing and sales advice you can give to Images readers to help them sell more workwear and PPE garments from Orn?
Just sell the quality of the product and what that means for the wearer – fewer issues, more comfort, more ROI. We have absolute confidence that our garments are made right and that’s exactly why we’re happy to back them with our triple guarantee covering lifetime wear on YKK zips, triple stitched seams and riveted trouser fixing studs. Also bear in mind our size range, which is unmatched in the industry.