Business Blog




Over the past several months I have been traveling the U.S. extensively to apparel tradeshows like Agenda, Magic, Outdoor Retailer, Surf Expo, etc. Just the normal craziness of the wholesale apparel industry filled with trend spotting and plenty of meetings with buyers and brands.


Throughout my recent travels there was one consistent trend that was everywhere, camo!


With over 25 years in the apparel industry, I have seen my share of camo trends come and go, but I have never seen a sea of camo in so many variations of patterns and combinations. The use of color ranged from bright purple to classic drab olives and tonal black. There were many graphic overlays combining traditional 1950’s hunting images on top of modern-looking camo patterns. The classic camo pattern dominated across the industry shown in exciting new color ways with some 1950’s bomber art influence graphics layered into the patterns with strategic graphics positioned on apparel.


The Streetwear brands are clearly leading the charge in the new millennial camo-trend direction. In this ultra-challenging time in retail, brands are teaming up to drop more product colabs geared for specific targeted customers. Once upon a time brands looked at each other as fierce competition and now it’s a lifestyle movement of grand proportions with many top brands producing capsule collections with high-end power brands like Louis Vuitton. Some of these colabs are more strategic and others are unexpected but refreshing to see.


The classic camo pant is the new wardrobe staple with many new styles and options coming this summer 2017 and into fall 2018.


Other stand-out styles in camo include windbreakers and military-inspired jackets. Some of these younger designers are fusing the camo into non-traditional styles like kimonos and fashion jogger pants, which have gotten the attention of the millennials and retail buyers.


Apparel is not the only category to get the camo faceliftThe accessory category is still on fire and has also reinvented camo and it’s applications. From camo luggage sets and backpacks to laser etched camo phone cases and camo embossed footwear.


The same camo trend is also strong in both the surf and skateboarding industries. I’ve seen some great-looking camo board shorts color blocked with Hawaiian floral patterns and vintage textures. Camo patterns go back to the 70’s in Hawaii where hunting and surfing lifestyles collide. From wild boars to wild surf, camo was on the scene.


Trends com eand go, but this time, camo has been embraced by the entire outdoor, action sports, street wear and high-end fashion industries. Naturally this has created a lifestyle movement of grand proportions.


The trend transcends all demographics and is fair game for all to enjoy. The streetwear brands have explored the far ends of the camo galaxies to reinvent this classic pattern to appeal to these younger customers.


The millennials are the new retail target with every brand and retail chain working on creative design and marketing tactics that will appeal to this demographic. The millennials have a strong and personal connection with the outdoors and are natural explorers, on a constant hunt for products with a soul. Living life by the minute and online shopping by the second.


Future retail trends will be direct to consumer with more streamlined processes and accountability. Online web sales are growing too fast for most to keep up, and the ones who can will benefit the most.


This pattern can be seen in the consistent growth of Amazon and Walmart.com as the two retailer’s battle to provide this direct-to-consumer experience. These retail giants are competing against millions of hungry young brands and bloggers that have created flexible business platforms that can quickly adapt to this challenging market. Brands must now be nimble with swift tactical execution of key marketing strategies and collaborations. This is a great advantage that the young millennial-owned businesses are maximizing to level the playing field FAIRPLAY Gets in the Game


My friends over at Fairplay are coming to the game swinging and have given me a behind-the-scenes look at the new apparel and accessory styles for 2018. We discussed the inspiration behind the new Realtree-infused collection and how for almost three years they have been successfully making these trend-right products for their loyal customers.



I first noticed the Fairplay/Realtree collection at the Agenda tradeshow in Las Vegas.


Fairplay has always been ahead of the fashion curve, setting trends since day one.The brand has an international retail reach and sells to the hottest retailers and boutiques in the industry. Utilizing the Realtree Xtra print in the classic olive color way combined with clean modern silhouettes,he small but well-merchandised collection was on point and executed with rugged minimalism.


The entire collection is olive camo with a safety orange contrast and minimal branding.


Overall the Fairplay/Realtreecollection has been very well received by specialty boutiques and trend-setting retailers like Urban Outfitters, Zumiez and Bloomingdales.

The line has an Americana feel with international influences that are capturing the attention of hip fashion-forward retailers worldwide.


The goal was to create an original OG Americana look while paying respect to the heritage of the brand. FAIRPLAY is very modern and Realtree is traditional, so fusing the two could only be done correctly if it comes from passion and integrity. They wanted to create something comfortable and stylish for the hip young customer who appreciates the clean style combined with a timeless camo print.


The garments are designed for the millennial market keeping the fabrics down to a simple few.

The branding is minimalist with small flag and natural patch labels for outside branding. The inside features a utilitarian printed canvas patch influenced by vintage American Military badges and patches.The garments have a relaxed and comfortable fit and are perfect for your next stylish exploration.

There are many standouts in the line, including the Kimono-influenced jacket with its bright safety-orange lining and wrap style front.Another stand out, the fleece joggers were very crisp and clean with solid tonal rib contrast and were shown as part of set with a great-looking camo jersey tee shirt. The tee was made from soft cotton jersey with a relaxed longer fit featuring a wide neck and raw seams with a DIY looking label on the bottom hem.


To round out the fleece look is the long-sleeve crew neck featuring the same matching tonal rib contrast as the joggers. The crew neck is as American as apple pie with its classic and timeless style ready for any adventure you dive into.


Rounding out the collection was the long-sleeve tee shirt, which has been on fire at retail for both summer and fall seasons. The Fairplay camo version is a perfect layer piece in a relaxed fit, made from soft cotton jersey and tonal rib contrast.


Overall the Fairplay/Realtree collection was clean with rugged minimalism, which gives the garments a high-end and polished look, which I’m sure will perform well in the young men’s fashion market.


You can follow me @a.quiroz213 @unitedstateofapparel on Instagram.


Editor’s Note: Realtree licenses 27,000 products that can be found in more than 38,000 retail locations worldwide. Whether customers are looking for rugged outdoor equipment or everyday gear that enhances their active lifestyle, it can be found in a Realtree pattern. If you’re interested in growing your business with a Realtree licensing program, let’s talk! Find out more and contact us here.