Trends dominating today’s streets and social media feeds are not as unique as you may think. Dawaud Muhammad of Big Printing has been in the industry for over 25 years and he’s seen it all. But in a market of ever-changing expectations, even Dawaud must pay close attention to what customers want. He’s here today to share current trends in printing and ways to never miss a trick in recognizing the next big thing in print.
How do fashion trends affect your printing?
Well, it depends on the trend. We have to make sure we stay aggressive on all the hot trends and new types of garment decorations. You tend to see every trend come around a few times. Right now, a lot of water-based and high-density prints are trending. To stay ahead of the curve, we go to trade shows and different industry events. That way, we’re informed on what customers want to see in the future and are prepared for when it comes.
Our customers dictate what techniques we utilize. Right now, a big trend is a lot of embroidery, so we incorporate that into a lot of our decoration methods. When it comes to decorating, screen printing is like the entry-level and embroidery is the next. A lot of brands that we work with don't just want a standard screen-printed t-shirt. They want something that's going to separate them from most of the brands out there; so they opt for embroidery, appliqué, patches, and things like that.
What are some garment trends that are popular in your printing right now?
Chenille patches are really hot at the moment. We've been running that for the last two to three years. We also do a 3D puff patch; that's something that's unique. We have brands that are just starting out, and sometimes they begin with chenille patches on jogger outfits. They find they sell out a lot faster than anything else ー because it's a high-quality product and the customer can really appreciate it. And therefore, it's different. It's easier for them to charge $200 for a sweat suit when someone else might have a screen printed suit and try to charge $80. Also, using 3M reflective ink and 3M reflective embroidery thread is very popular.
How about some design trends that are in demand right now?
Something that's currently very popular is multicolor lettering ー where each letter used has a different color. That was probably the design trend of 2018/2019. We're doing a lot as we speak, but I believe it was Prada that made it popular. They did a design like that and now everybody and their mother wants it. The beautiful part about design and garment decorations is that everybody has social media and the internet. They see what the big brands are doing and instantly they want to do the same exact thing.
I also see a lot of high-fashion brands going out and buying old vintage shirts from concerts and things like that, and then they just print their logo on there. I see some of the garment manufacturers making shirts that are pretty soft but have that same vintage look and feel. You can also do a custom dye that kind of replicates an old, worn look. Ultimately, it's really what the high-end brands do, but it will trickle down to my demographic surely.
Do you have any advice for those looking to keep up with all the hot garment trends?
People watch! Keep your eyes out there to watch the ones that really set trends - like certain artists, entertainers and influencers. Watch those that have their finger on the fashion pulse like Kanye West or Pharell. Go to the trade shows and see what's coming down the line. That's mainly what I do. A lot of the brands that make trends are kind of new - edgier and more creative. A lot of times you have to be at the trade shows where they show it before they even make it to the stores. We went to a show and I saw some cool things coming down the pipeline ー a lot of embroidery, trends, and old tee fabric type of garments; where a jacket might be made up of seven different fabrics. That was one of the most unique things I'd seen and I'm pretty sure it's going to take off!