Custom Apparel Wholesale: Buyer’s Guide to Sustainable Comfort
Sustainability and comfort are two things the fashion industry doesn’t often combine.
Unfortunately, the fashion industry is one of the earth’s biggest polluters, accounting for close to 10% of the world’s carbon dioxide output. Some synthetic fabrics can take centuries to decompose, plus the actual process of manufacturing and shipping clothes is a huge danger to the environment.
Brands are constantly trying to come up with new ways to fix this crisis, and there are certain steps you can take yourself to help neutralize your carbon footprint.
Using only natural fabrics and fibers, for example, is one way clothing companies can reduce pollution. Millions of tons of textiles are thrown away every year, and every fabric that isn’t natural takes an absurdly long time to decompose.
Online shopping has only increased the carbon footprint of the fashion industry because of the constant shipping (often for only a few items). Some people are starting to buy orders in bulk rather than one at a time or avoiding sending items back in the mail to cut carbon emissions from shipping.
The fashion industry and the health of the earth do not go hand in hand. So, before buying anything online, check out our guide on sustainable fashion and comfort.
What Is Custom Apparel Wholesale and How Is It Sustainable?
Before we go any further, it’s important that you understand exactly what wholesale is and how it’s one of the most sustainable methods in the fashion industry.
Basically, wholesale clothing is buying any type of custom apparel in bulk. T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and more are all common items that are associated with wholesale because they’re cheap to manufacture and purchase.
Wholesale is often used by retail businesses. These businesses buy in bulk for a cheaper price directly from the manufacturer and then sell at retail for a higher price to their consumers to make a profit.
However, it’s not an exclusive practice only used by retailers. Sports teams and non-retail-oriented companies will often use wholesale as well for branded merchandise like uniforms or clothing with a logo attached.
Any free T-shirt you’ve ever caught in a crowd at an event or any merchandise you’ve ever bought at a concert or large event was likely a part of a wholesale order.
Is wholesale manufacturing sustainable? Not necessarily. Unfortunately, most of the challenges that plague the retail industry start with how the product is manufactured, the quality of materials used, and the steps taken to reduce the impact on the environment.
At Kotn Supply, we help our customers produce clothing that is more sustainable and ethical by using 100% Organic Egyptian Cotton, manufacturing quantities that are realistic to eliminate wastage, and creating garments that are higher quality and less likely to end up in a landfill.
This year, we’ve also developed a solution where companies can send their employees a link to claim a product, only if they want one, and we only manufacture that amount. Solutions like this not only eliminate waste but it saves our clients from spending money on swag that isn’t going to be worn.
What Are the Different Types of Wholesale Custom Apparel?
What can you buy with a wholesale purchase, and what can it be used for?
While wholesaling is a great practice in helping the environment, people have to be practical. One person doesn’t need 500 shirts, so wholesaling is mostly used by companies rather than individuals.
Custom company swag, team apparel, and more are all perfect reasons for a wholesale order. Again, you probably won’t make the order for yourself, so you can still do your part by making sure whatever order is put in is in bulk rather than individual shipping.
Here are some common ideas of what can be bought wholesale.
T-shirts are undoubtedly the most common clothing items found in wholesale orders.
We mentioned this earlier, but any type of free T-shirt you’ve gotten at a sporting, company, or other large event was probably from a big wholesale order. T-shirts are one of the cheapest clothing items to produce and purchase in bulk, so it makes sense why they’re so common.
A plain colored T-shirt with a large logo on the front or back is a heavily utilized design — and one where you simply can’t go wrong.
Sweatshirts and Hoodies
Sweatshirts and hoodies are right behind T-shirts in terms of popularity (and usefulness).
Both are a little more expensive to produce and purchase, so it’s less likely that you’ve ever gotten one for free. However, they’re still an extremely common clothing item that everyone wears.
Company-branded sweatshirts are an excellent idea because people can wear them out of the office — which is also a great marketing tool. The more employees wear their logo out and about, the more a company’s name gets around.
Not to mention, sweatshirts and hoodies are more comfortable than T-shirts, so your employees will be more likely to wear them.
While T-shirts are the king of wholesale merchandise, sweatshirts and hoodies aren’t far behind.
Quarter zips are an interesting and newer wholesale product.
There are a few different kinds of zips, such as a classic quarter zip with a collar, a zip-up hoodie, and a zip-up crewneck.
Custom classic quarter zips are a perfect idea for companies with a dress code for the office. A branded quarter zip is a cool look that anyone can pull off, and it adds a bit of classy style to the office atmosphere and an individual’s overall look.
Granted, they’re not everyone’s style, but quarter zips are still nice to have on hand for certain occasions.
Pants and Shorts
Pants and shorts are two more items that aren't super common in the promotional wholesale area.
However, offering matching pants to a custom T-shirt, sweatshirt, or quarter zip is an excellent idea, especially if it’s a sweatsuit made with custom company color. Gym wear, specifically, is in demand right now, and having your employees wear the company logo to the gym is yet another great way to get exposure.
Sweatpants and joggers will always be in demand, and with fall approaching, nothing beats walking out into the crisp air in comfy sweatpants and a sweatshirt.
Circling back to the fall theme, long sleeves will soon be back in demand with the weather changing.
Long sleeves also give you a little more fabric to work with, so you can customize your shirt to include a logo on the sleeve or shoulder.
One cool and popular design is one solid color with a small logo on the front upper chest and a secondary logo on the corresponding shoulder. An embroidered logo on the sleeve is also another possibility.
Whatever direction you head in, a long sleeve will be essential for these upcoming months.
Finally, tote bags are another perfect idea for a wholesale order.
They’re one of the cheapest items to make and buy. Everyone needs something to carry their stuff around in. Plus, tote bags are trending right now in the fashion industry.
A solid color tote bag with a large custom logo on either side is another excellent way to market your brand and make a cool-looking bag.
Wholesale Sustainable Comfort
As we said, sustainability and comfort don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Despite the practices of some large corporations, sustainability and comfort can work hand-in-hand. But, it’s not just the shipping method — other things need to change too.
Here’s what KOTN Supply is doing to help reduce our carbon footprint:
Synthetic and artificial fabrics, such as polyester, will either take centuries to decompose or won’t decompose at all.
By the time you throw away a ripped shirt that’s made with polyester, for example, it will still be sitting in a landfill well past whoever becomes the 100th President of the United States hundreds of years from now.
We decided we wouldn’t cut corners by using cheaper material that has that much of an environmental impact. We use 100% Egyptian cotton in our clothing — one of the most sustainable materials on earth. Not to mention one of the comfiest, ensuring your clothing will get worn.
Only 5% of the businesses in the fashion industry can claim they know exactly where their apparel comes from — all the way down to when the material is first harvested on the farm.
KOTN Supply is proud to say we are a part of that five percent, which we don’t take lightly. You can trace our products all the way from the farms in the Nile Delta right to your doorstep.
At KOTN Supply, we’re ending the era of throwaway merch for good.
You won’t find a product that combines comfort and sustainability as ours does or a company that offers the level of traceability that we do. We hope you join us in our effort to neutralize the global community’s carbon footprint and make some pretty darn comfortable merchandise along the way.
You can get started with our product catalog here.
The Global Glut of Clothing Is an Environmental Crisis | Bloomberg
What is Wholesale Clothing? | WiseGeek