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US is one large market, while the European market is fragmented
Gildan Activewear, a manufacturer and marketer of branded clothing and activewear, had consolidated sales of US$ 2.30 billion in calendar year 2014. Mike Hoffman, president of the company, shares insights into the global activewear market with Fibre2Fashion.
How would you peg the activewear market globally? How is it expected to grow in the next two years?
In North America, we expect the activewear market to show mid-single digit growth this year and the next, although certain segments of the market such as fashion basics and performance brands are growing at a faster rate. With international markets, it is hard to say; but we feel Asia, and China in particular, are positioned for double-digit growth. We believe that the lower cost of cotton, which already translated into lower selling prices to end -users, should help stimulate demand.
What are the new trends in activewear?
Ring spun cotton, 100 per cent polyester and blended yarn fabrications are the trend-rights. We have also been seeing a shift to lighter-weight fabrications in T-shirts, garment washing and novelty knits such as slubs and lace. Although not new, the fleece hoody continues to be the dominant silhouette for sweatshirts. Last, as it relates to fit, the 'boyfriend' or 'slouchy/layered' look is still strong for women, and slimmer/more next-to-body cuts are the go to for men.
Is activewear increasingly melding with sportswear? What is your assessment?
As sportswear brands expand into more lifestyle apparel and the trend of wearing your sportswear as weekend-wear continues to grow, you will see more brands broadening their sportswear-like products. Product features such as lightweight breathable, wicking, UPF, ventilation, cotton/poly blends, typically reserved for sportswear, are becoming key selling points in activewear. The consumer no longer wants to have multiple wardrobes for every aspect of their life. Creating items that can be worn throughout the day; that are comfortable; stylish; and do not look as if 'I-just-left-the-gym', but then 'I-can-wear-to-the-gym' is a win-win item.
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