ummer 2022 is all about getting back to the normalcy of having fun in the sun, and of course, packing our closets with the latest warm weather trends. In this year’s S&S Summer Style Guide, we covered a wide range of apparel trends and versatile color palettes that pair perfectly with all our favorite summer activities.
But – there’s a few that I really love and think your clients will have tons of fun with! It’s time to think outside of the box. Let's take a closer look at three of our style guide’s featured trends, along with how you can use them uniquely in different markets to create something truly memorable and unique.
Y2K Is Back In Effect
Although I hate to admit it, I’m now old enough to relive a trend that emulates every piece of clothing that was in my closet during my teen years. Everywhere you look or scroll you can see the Y2K revival being adopted by retailers and influencers all over social media.
The playful colors and aesthetics of the time are now appealing to a huge audience of consumers. Not only does this include today’s high-school and college students, but also millennials and older adults looking for throwbacks to wear. Because of its wide appeal, now’s the time to capitalize on ways you can inject some life into markets that traditionally haven't focused on incorporating trend-forward merch into their offering(s).
Thinking outside of the corporate box
A fresh approach to designing t-shirts for a corporate event, like a retreat, would be to use pastel color palettes, metallic textures and tie-dye. For corporate team-building events, try adding Y2K colored designs and catch-phrases onto apparel, like a tie-dyed Dyenomite Sweatshirt in pastel rainbow or Hanes Perfect T-shirt in lemon meringue. Employees will love wearing these, because they’re fun, full of life and also nostalgic.
Y2K themed collections
There’s also a great opportunity to put together unique limited-edition Y2K collections for online stores and lifestyle brands. Think about adding matching metallic ink or foil decorations onto both a yellow pigment-dyed fleece sweatshirt and pair of shorts by Independent Trading.
Liquor and spirit companies are also growing their merch lines for sponsored events, so there’s opportunity for collections in that market too. A shimmering Metallic Tote Bag or Can Holder from Liberty Bags are the perfect giveaways to help bring back memories of looking towards the unknown future.
Nostalgic uniform and merch ideas
Restaurants and service industries can reap the marketing benefits of outfitting staff members in fun Y2K themed uniforms, which could include a tie-dyed bucket cap and matching T-shirt. These are the kinds of ideas that can really help your clients’ businesses shine on social media and spread the word about their fun environment.
Fast food chains are also getting into the merch game with limited edition drops to feed the nostalgia of long-time customers. Local restaurants with die-hard fans might love buying some Y2k themed gear from their favorite place to eat. Try reaching out to these places and suggest putting together a special promotion or setting up a small pop-up shop with fun products like a Sportsman Tie-Dyed Bucket Cap that has their slogan on it.
The one thing I am most excited for this summer is live music and I know I’m not alone. There’s just nothing like putting on a band tee and singing along to your favorite songs with all the fans in a crowd. Here are some of the trends we’re seeing on band merch tables and online stores this year.
Because these days we’re all listening to our favorite songs through streaming platforms, band merch is now one of the biggest revenue streams for artists around the world. It’s probably why we’re seeing so many limited run micro collections popping up everywhere, mostly centered around new album releases or song lyrics.
To make a collection really shine, it has to be versatile and unique. Think about taking a Sportsman “Pigment-Dyed Cap” and having a song lyric embroidered over the side panels for an elevated look. Then print those same song lyrics along the side seam of a Next Level “Women's Ideal Racerback Tank” and down the sleeve of an Independent “Unisex Windbreaker” to complete the set.
Don’t forget to throw in some embroidered SOCCO Socks and a couple of hard goods too, like a tumbler or mug. With some unique placements and premium looking decorations, your collection will be too tempting for fans to resist.
You may have noticed a new bag trend that's all-over social media. Since venues are requiring small or see-through bags upon entry, clear bags are a must this season, and they can be easily added to any artist’s micro collection. If you’re hesitant to print on them though, click here to see some tips on decorating them in our show, “Decoration Myths.”
Don’t forget the little ones
Infants and toddlers are also influencing festival store collections too. This year, cornerstone festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza have stores setup with onesies and toddler tees added to their collections, so don’t forget to include them in yours'.
Wild, Wild, West
Another trend to keep an eye on this summer is western themes, which have brought country styling to mainstream fashion. The key to this look is using apparel with flowy fabrics, colorful patterns, earthy tones and vintage textures.
A touch of leather
One of the easiest ways to create that western vibe for clients is to decorate apparel with a leather patch. Something as simple as a paisley Valumask Bandana, is instantly elevated into a premium item by adding a small logoed leather patch near the corner of it.
There’s also styles seemingly made for leather patch decoration like the DRI DUCK Hudson Trucker Cap. This one comes with a canvas front panel, giving you that rustic look breweries, distilleries and lifestyle brands love.
These are also a great way to decorate apparel with busier patterns, like the Burnside Yarn-Dyed Flannel Shirt, which comes in plaid colorways fitting for a western theme.
You could put together a whole collection based off of a popular beer on tap or brand of whiskey, using leather decorations. If you’re not sure where to get them from, STAHLS’ is one place that can customize them for you in different shape, sizes and colors.
Iconic western graphics and patterns
Nothing says western more than buffalos, cactuses, horses, longhorns and tribal patterns. The Independent Day Tripper Duffel Bag, comes in a trendy southwestern tribal pattern. Pair that with any of these symbolic graphics in a one-color print and you’ve got the perfect addition for gift shops and resorts.
Catch phrases and lyrics
This old west theme is also great for country music merch. In addition to the popular catch phrases we’re seeing everywhere at retail these days, like “Yee-Haw,” “Saddle Up” and “Howdy,” try picking out some iconic lyrics from a popular country song and create a micro collection.
Anything that has some texture to it or looks weathered, like a J. America Zen Jersey T-shirt or Bella + Canvas Racerback Cropped Tank, is a great backdrop for an old western styled font and distressed design.
Keep Up with the Trends
As you plan for your summer promotions, I hope I’ve inspired you with these latest trends and ideas for product placement and decoration. Experimenting with trends is key to giving your clients something that’ll set you apart from the competition, so keep a look out for our upcoming style guides this year. And – don’t forget to share/tag final products with us at @ssactivewear on Instagram!
Like what you read? Be sure to check out our Summer Style Guide to see all the apparel and accessories S&S Activewear has to help you stay on-trend this summer.