Workwear: The trends in 2019

Sustainable design with logo and casual feel

Ildikò Erhard

Workwear in trendy colours? Contemporary designs which don’t lose their appeal quickly? What about workwear that sounds the alarm when a dangerous situation arises? Our designer Ildikó Erhard tells us more about the top trends for workwear in 2019 and what direction the segment might take in the future. 

Designing workwear for trade and industry

Ildikó Erhard has been involved in the development of CWS-boco workwear for a wide range of different market segments for more than 20 years. From protective equipment which retains its functions in the long term to smart business fashion right up to modern workwear collections for trade and industry – Ildikó Erhard has contributed to the development of numerous ranges.

“We keep our eyes peeled and pay close attention to how the market is evolving. I find it interesting to see how the spirit of the times finds its way into even such long-lasting items as workwear, often inspired by the latest developments in the worlds of fashion, architecture and art as well as our lifestyles. These all influence the latest trends and thus also indirectly our customers’ expectations,” said the designer.

Workwear trend 1: Visual appeal is important

The most important requirement is perfectly clear: functionality. “However, many customers now want more than that. In addition to all the functions that good workwear should offer – sufficient pockets, reflective material, knee pads, etc. – the look of the clothing is now also becoming ever more important for many customers: the clothing should advertise the wearer’s company, for example via the incorporation of logos and corporate design elements. It should look modern and professional, thereby also showing that the company itself is still young and dynamic,” said Ildikó Erhard.

Workwear with a tailored fit remains as popular as ever

“The wearers of the workwear themselves are also becoming ever more demanding with regard to its design,” she explained. “It should look like something that you would also wear by choice in your free time, which is why modern designs are characterised by a casual appeal. This trend has been apparent for a few years now already: people want to wear their work clothes with pride.”

Workwear trend 2: Noncolours and accents

Colour is one design aspect which immediately catches everybody’s eye. Just think of the traditional associations with blue- and white-collar workers. “Colours play a very important role in workwear. The trend here is definitely heading towards ‘less is more’,” said Ildikó Erhard. “For some time now, we have been working increasingly with noncolours such as grey, anthracite and black. This allows us to use bright colours for unimposing accents. Or vice versa: accents in neutral colours highlight the item’s clean lines and fit. The result is a design which really showcases the respective company’s logo and looks cool at the same time!”

Workwear trend 3: Tailored fit instead of workwear tents

Workwear in grey and anthracite is really popular
Workwear in grey and anthracite is popular in 2019

However, a modern appearance isn’t the only requirement: “The focus is now completely on the feel and wearing comfort of the items,” explained Ildikó Erhard. “No one likes to be out and about in baggy attire any more. The one-size overalls of the past have fallen out of favour with many customers. Instead, the trend is most certainly towards workwear with a tailored fit.”

There is one challenge in particular when developing the patterns: “freedom of movement is essential for tradesmen. Tailored clothing must look good, but still allow the wearer to perform his job properly. That’s why we employ stretchy materials and inserts. We also perform extensive testing,” she added.

Workwear trend 4: Sustainability: Workwear with a clean conscience

“CWS-boco has been supporting the Fairtrade initiative for a number of years – for example, in many countries we offer the Cotton Line range, which is composed of fairly produced cotton,” noted Ildikó Erhard. “Our customers also want to show that their companies are sustainable, environmentally friendly and aware of their social responsibility, which is one reason they choose our Fairtrade collections.” The designer is convinced that the trend towards sustainable products shows no sign of slowing down in 2019 either.

boco workwear with Fairtrade logo
boco workwear with Fairtrade logo

“In addition to Fairtrade, the durability of the textiles is important, to ensure that they are not being continually thrown away.” The rental service offered by CWS-boco has this goal in mind and the professional care in the laundry aims to repair rather than discard wherever possible. Another challenge in the development: “We offer long-lasting collections in a rental service, meaning they must still look nice and appear modern after a number of years. That is a challenge which allows us to let our creativity run free time and time again,” Ildikó Erhard.

Workwear design: Looking to the future

The CWS-boco design team is continuously on the trail of the latest trends for 2019 and beyond. “Smart textiles are going to be an important topic in the future,” predicted Ildikó Erhard. “We are already looking into various questions: What innovations can be introduced into our products? Where will smart textiles be employed?

Take PPE, for example: I can well imagine that the clothing might sound the alarm before a chemical penetrates the protective equipment, if the wearer’s vitals become unstable in hazardous conditions or if the room temperature increases excessively. There is lots of interesting information regarding protection in day-to-day activities that the smart textiles can communicate to the wearer or even other parties. We test out what makes sense and develop clothing which offers real benefits.”

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