The bottom half

Craghoppers’ Kiwi Trousers are a best-seller

Are shorts and trousers considered an afterthought or are they high on the end-users’ agenda? Here we find out.

Steve Smith, sales executive at Craghoppers Expert and Teri-Louise Deegan, marketing executive at Prestige Leisure, provide two conflicting views when it comes to shorts and trousers.

“Here at Craghoppers, we definitely think that shorts and trousers are as high on end-users’ agenda as polo shirts or shirts when it comes to workwear. For us, shorts and trousers have just flown off the shelves,” says Steve.

Whereas Teri-Louise comments: “I think that there are many points that end users consider when it comes to deciding on workwear suitable for the lower half of the body. The decision maker for this is more often than not the employer deciding on a uniform for the workforce, which means different considerations for different industry sectors. However, I do think that trousers or shorts are more of an afterthought, in comparison to uniform staples such as polo shirts or shirts.”

For Craghoppers it could be the case that because the brand offers specialised shorts and trousers targeting a specific market it notices more of an uptake in sales of these products. As Steve points out: “We have especially noticed that the Kiwi Trouser and the Kiwi Pro Stretch is very popular. A huge selling point in our Kiwi Trousers is Nosi Defence technology, which acts as an effective barrier to biting insects.”

Are shorts and trousers worth the outlay?

In comparison, Prestige Leisure is able to provide a more generalised overview of the printwear market from its position as a distributor.

Teri-Louise continues to explain why she thinks shorts and trousers come in second place: “I think that the first consideration for any decision maker with regards to a uniform would be the cost, and they would ask themselves if it is really worth the outlay.

“How many people would see or acknowledge an employee wearing branded legwear? Branded upper clothing such as polos and shirts work because the branding is eye level and it’s continuously seen and noticed. For example, front of house staff are behind a desk – their trousers or shorts aren’t noticed. Hospitality staff tend to wear aprons – again is the branding noticeable on the trousers?

“Most businesses are looking for ways to streamline costs and eradicate unnecessary spending which offers no return on investment.”

Interestingly, Teri-Louise also raises the point about the lack of variety available in the shorts and trousers department and the difficulty this may pose when implementing uniform rules and regulations. She says: “I think that there is also thought to be given to how much latitude employers have in regards to control of the dress code. Implementing regulations regarding upper clothing is relatively untroubled due to the wide variety of styles available that is able to cater for men and women across all sectors. However, this is not the same for trousers and shorts in our industry, and employers could run the risk of implementing unfair expectations, such as forcing women to wear men’s styles. I think that more and more businesses allow their employees to choose their own unbranded legwear, decreeing only to the extent that they should be of a certain style or colour.”

However, many professions do place importance in wearing regulation shorts and trousers, such as law and order forces, postmen and bus and train drivers. This helps retain professionalism and also helps build public trust as they are easily identifiable. Also, in the beauty industry, many spa and salon workers wear co-ordinating outfits, which really help to lend a polished and professional image.

All of this suggests there is a need for the provision of shorts and trousers in the printwear market.

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