Printwear 2018: A Year in Review

As the year comes to a close, Printwear takes a look back at some of the big stories in 2018.

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As the year comes to a close, Printwear takes a look back at some of the big stories in 2018. Our industry saw several major events, and some broader world news stories even had an impact on how the decorated apparel and graphics markets operate. Growth and expansion were two big highlights, as were significant leadership changes at a few companies across the garment decoration spectrum. Read on to see some of the highlights from 2018.

Leadership changes
Throughout 2018, multiple companies announced changes in staff, most of them at an executive level. Companies like TSC Apparel, Stahls’, and Kornit unveiled leadership transitions, as did The M&R Companies.

The screen-printing machine manufacturer’s founder Rich Hoffman talked to Printwear back in August about passing the torch onto Danny Sweem and his time in the industry. Read our interview with Hoffman here.

printwear year in review
Image courtesy The M&R Companies

Expanding and contracting
Expansion is a buzzword in this industry, whether that’s adding physical space, new assets, or staff. Companies like Delta Apparel, GSG, and Founder Sport Group grew through acquisitions, while others added new physical locations. The year saw a vast expansion in warehouse space for apparel company S&S Activewear, who added new locations in Illinois, Nevada, and Georgia.

Similarly, A4 Apparel expanded its footprint with the opening of a new 175,000-square-foot location in Kansas City, Missouri, which the company contends is its largest and “most technologically advanced,” in A4’s lineup. In the Southeast, World Emblem opened an Atlanta-area 67,000-square-foot location that manufactures more than 60,000 custom pieces per day. In one of our most-read stories, Gildan continued its growth and consolidation with the closing of a facility in North Carolina.
printwear year in review
Image courtesy World Emblem

To meet its customers’ demands, a handful of businesses opened doors on new headquarters. Vapor Apparel, Penn Emblem, Vastex International, and Kornit Digital, in particular, re-positioned its central offices for North America to fulfill a growing interest in its services.
Additional growth around the industry came in monetary forms, like the $35 million investment OrderMyGear received from Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE).

At home and abroad
Here at our headquarters, we saw our share of exciting news as well. Our parent company, National Business Media, wrapped up a busy schedule of coast-to-coast trade shows, with a full roster for 2019 on the horizon. Along with favorite-city shows, the NBM show saw its first-ever stop in Cleveland, which featured a handful of first-time exhibitors.

On the publication side, we combined forces with the other graphics publications in our group, Sign and Digital Graphics, and A&E magazine, along with a team of very talented professionals inside and outside of NBM, to release the debut issue of START HERE. The publication is designed to help graphics professionals looking to expand its existing business or branch out into new fields.

start here
Image courtesy NBM

In the broader world, it was arguably a tough year to keep up with many of the changes happening at a national and international level. Still on the forefront is the ongoing debate over tariffs with China, including a set of $200 billion in duties introduced by the Trump administration in the Fall of 2018. Both China and the U.S. have since revisited the subject multiple times, but the full impact on imported goods like garments, raw textiles, and threads remains to be seen.

One thing’s for sure; it’s been an interesting year and 2019 looks to be equally, if not more intriguing from an educational and editorial standpoint. We look forward to bringing you more quality content soon and hope to hear from you as we gear up for 2019. Let us know what you’re interested in seeing in our magazine pages and on our website.

Thanks for making Printwear a part of your weekly reading. Have a safe and Happy New Year!

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Mike Clark

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