One of the fun things about sublimation is how the craft is always evolving. As new products and new techniques are developed, the horizons of what sublimation can do, and what can be sublimated expand. Sublimation isn’t just for mugs and mousepads, although those can be profitable items. In 2016, new items have become available for sublimation, and new techniques and uses as well. Building on what’s happened in 2016, these are some of things we predict will be the trends in sublimation for 2017.
Socks – Colorful, decorated socks have been a trend for a while now. Some people, especially men, have taken to wearing colorful socks to express their individuality and deal with the conformity that business wear requires. Socks that can be sublimated are now available from companies like Vapor Apparel. Capture this trend by offering sublimated socks to your customers. They’d be great sellers for high school sports teams, bands or cheer squads. Decorated socks could also make fun souvenirs for gift shops.
Multimedia – Many decorators are discovering that sublimation goes well with other decoration disciplines. Whether it’s adding bling to a sublimated design with rhinestones, or adding texture with embroidery or vinyl, sublimation plays well with others, and the resulting designs are definitely fun to view and to wear. The trick to combining sublimation with another discipline is to find a design that recognizes and uses the separate strong points of each decoration technique, and combines them to create a design that is greater than the sum of its parts. Multimedia designs can be great sellers for dance and cheer clubs, or for a group or company that wants corporate logowear that offers a little extra flash.
Bandanas, beanies and bibs – Sublimation is not just for shirts anymore. When it comes to wearable sublimated garments, new options, like bandanas and beanies, are popping up regularly. Sublimatable wearable accessories also extend to bracelets and necklaces, headbands and hand warmers. Baby is even getting into the act with sublimatable bibs and onesies. It is now possible to make an entire business out of sublimating small wearables and accessories.
Patches – Many fashion magazines have been proclaiming 2016 as the year that the decorated patch made a comeback. Patches as decorative accents, not simply to provide identification or to cover a hole in a garment, are seeing a resurgence. Sublimated patches are a great way to capitalize on this trend. Whether you buy blank patches and sublimate them yourself, or purchase patches that have already been sublimated, selling patches can be a lucrative profit center.