2018 Summer Apparel & Accessories Trend Report

Summer apparel trends

Staying on top of what’s new and trending in branded merchandise is no walk on the beach.  Apparel and accessories in particular are a tough category because they are influenced not only by what’s trending in retail, but also seasonal weather patterns.  But don’t worry, the marketing team at Boundless researched retail trends and worked with our top vendors to carefully curate a seasonal apparel and accessories trend report for your brand.  See what our top 2 takeaways are this summer, and shop the trends while they’re hot!


Trend #1: Versatility & Performance

functionality and performance

Functionality over formality is trending as millennials continue to play a bigger role in the workplace.  Many traditionally formal companies are relaxing their dress codes to accommodate the next generation who values comfortable and performance fabrics.  Along with apparel, your customers want accessories that are functional and versatile, like a bag that can go with you on a hike, but is also chic enough for the office.

Also contributing to this summer trend is the continued emphasis on health & wellness in our society.  The rise of the Fitbit and step counting led to the need for clothing that could be worn at work, but also allowed for an afternoon walk downtown.  Due to the need to stay active, athleisure wear became hugely popular in 2016 and 2017.  This year, however, we are seeing the athluxury trend take it’s place.

High profile designers like Alexander Wang, Versace and Tory Burch have evolved this trend to include clothing that is chic enough to wear in the office, while still delivering the comfort and performance of work out clothing.  These retail trends have made their way into the branded merchandise industry, giving your brand the opportunity to be trendy and fashion forward this summer.

As the weather heats up  your customers are going to want versatile pieces that can transition from weekday to the weekend, and are going to value performance fabrics and materials to help combat the elements.  See some of our favorites from the trend in our collection here!

Trend #2: Nostalgia & Vintage

When looking at what’s trending on the runway and in top retail stores, it is clear that vintage is back this summer in a big way.  Celebrities are wearing high-wasted swimsuits and pants, and Instagram models are rocking styles like bomber jackets and vintage polka dots that haven’t been popular in decades.  These old school styles are gaining popularity because they inspire nostalgia, especially when they are upgraded with modern fabrics.

A great example of how branded clothing can inspire nostalgia is the summer camp throwback trend.  The U.S. outdoor recreation economy is at an all-time high as people seek relief from digital fatigue, and styles from 70’s and 80’s summer camps are making a come back.  The trend includes an assortment of baseball tee’s, retro sunglasses, mesh caps, and fanny packs… all of which harken back to a simpler time.

Along with apparel, accessories like vintage looking bluetooth speakers, bags, and drinkware are getting upgrades so you can have a vintage look without the outdated performance.  For example, you can buy bags with zippers that don’t stick and drinkware with antimicrobial coating.  Who says a blast from the past can’t have a modern twist?  See our favorites from this summer trend in our collection here.

We hope these summer trends have inspired you to start thinking about what’s next in your branded apparel and accessories. By keeping up with seasonal trends you can now give your customers and employees branded giveaways that they will not only keep, but love!

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