First published at a time when the garment decoration industry was in its infancy, P&P has been leading the way ever since in delivering the latest garment decoration news and developments. Over the next few pages our editor Melanie Attlesey and leading figures from across the industry take a look back at the last 30 years.
The magazine has had several editors during the last 30 years, and I believe I am now the longest serving with seven years under my belt.
I’m not sure whether that says more about me or the industry that we all work in! During those 30 years, the magazine has undergone several facelifts (see the front cover images!), but has only changed ownership once, some 18 or 19 years ago when it came into the Datateam stable.
As I said, I have been editor of Printwear & Promotion since September 2014, so my seven years in the garment decoration industry pales in comparison to many others.
I honestly don’t know where the last seven have gone. They say time flies when you’re having fun. Over the years I have tried to meet as many people as possible from all corners of the industry to try and expand my knowledge and understanding of garment decoration and still to this day I continue to learn from the experts.
There isn’t a lot I can say about the industry or the magazine prior to 2014. However, what I can say is that 1990 and 1991, when the magazine launched, signalled a change in the UK’s garment decoration industry. These years saw the formation of Ralawise, BTC activewear and PenCarrie, with each of these companies starting to distribute blank garments on behalf of brands such as Fruit of the Loom, Russell and Gildan. Prior to this anyone involved in printing or embroidering T shirts for music gigs or football teams for example would have dealt with the brands directly.
This of course opened the doors to many garment decorators to join the industry. And while it is difficult to size today’s UK’s garment decoration industry, what I am proud to say is that we have a loyal readership of 6,500 businesses and more than 5,500 people enjoy visiting our annual exhibition Printwear & Promotion LIVE! each and every year.
I thought it would be an interesting exercise to take a look back at my very first issue in September 2014 and see what has changed in those comparative short seven years.
One of the features that caught my eye from that month was an article about the launch of Fruit of the Loom’s Sofspun Ts. At the time these T shirts were ground breaking and introduced as a first for printwear. These Ts were made from open-end yarn with the soft feel of combed ring spun cotton. The fabric was described as stable, durable and colourfast.
However, garment technology has progressed and Fruit of the Loom no longer offers this T shirt in its collection. The Sofstyle range was gradually phased out replaced by the Iconic Collection at the end of 2020. This collection is made of 100% ring spun cotton and includes nine individual styles, a huge selection of 28 colours, different fabric weights and two fits.
And proving that some styles never go out of fashion, in our Jackets & Fleece feature that month, Result Clothing highlighted the R120X Activity Softshell Jacket, the R088X Ultra Padded Bodywarmer, R220M&F Core Fashion Fit Outdoor Fleece and the R199X 3-in-1 Aspen Jacket. All four products still take pride of place in Result’s collection today.
This issue also covered embroidery. Your Embroidery Services promoted the DM Dual from SWF, which at the time was the only machine on the market to embroider two different designs and/ or products at the same time. Amaya Sales UK took the opportunity to highlight the advantages of a modular embroidery system with the Amaya XTS. And Midwest introduced readers to the new generation of embroidery machines from Happy, which included the HCS2 and HCD2 models.
And some mantras never change, even to this day The Schoolwear Association champions independent schoolwear suppliers, just as it did in 2014. Testing carried out in 2014 found that school uniform purchased from independent suppliers was less likely to shrink, tear or stretch, something which still rings true today.
Printwear & Promotion has been leading the field in delivering the latest news and developments from the garment decoration industry for the last 30 years. I hope you will join me and the rest of the Printwear & Promotion team in celebrating this wonderful occasion. Hopefully the magazine will continue to lead the way for the next 30 years and beyond.
Here’s to Printwear & Promotion!