Antigua’s Sean Gregg Talks Golf Fashion Trends

From the Arizona Golf Authority AZGA News Desk

Sean Gregg

It’s the dog days of summer in Arizona right now. Temperatures and humidity are at that uncomfortable stage, meaning you do all your chores early and hibernate in the afternoon. It’s hard to think about wearing long sleeves and jackets, but for Sean Gregg, Antigua’s head designer, that’s exactly what’s been on his mind for the past several months as he and his team developed the Antigua Fall Collection.

Sean, Antigua’s head designer, was kind enough to share the inside skinny on what we’ll see in golf shops very soon. So, we thought we’d share that information with you.

AZGA: What’s the latest inside info on golf apparel these days?

Gregg: Golf apparel has reached the status of fashion, meaning color as a trend evolves seasonally. Traditional color palettes are perceived as almost “conformist,” thus fashion palettes are now often styled into most of the golf brand collections, tending to focus on the hot colors of the season.

But there are a couple of current trends in men’s golf apparel that seem to be holding ground and are probably more specific to golf apparel. One hot trend is layering. Gone are the days when you consider an outerwear piece for the start of the round and remove it at the turn.

The focus now is on developing product from the base layer up. Lightweight base layers such as the Antigua style Hero developed as a micro-fleeced back jersey mock can stand alone or can be worn under a performance polo such as Exceed, or with a mid-weight pull-over performance fleece style such as Succeed, or under a water and wind resistant wind shirt found in our Resilient and Highland lines.

The new mentality from the tour player to the weekend golfer is that they want to be comfortable at any point during play and they look for layering options that correspond with the fluctuations in weather that occur especially during golf ’season’.

AZGA: Is layering just a trend or here to stay?

Gregg: We believe layering, for both men and women, is less a passing fad and more a staple in golf apparel as a function of the sport and a necessity of its competition.

We see fit and function as synonymous and our development focuses on each individual layer. As an analogy, the introduction of performance synthetics in competitive swimming donned by athletes performed so effectively that the full body suit has been banned from professional swimming competition dramatizing the genuine effects of focused performance product development. And though we’d like to think that our fabrics can be that effective, we appreciate the dissimilarity in functionality, but equally appreciate the importance of taking the direction of development seriously to improve a golfers performance through the right garment choice.

AZGA: So, color palettes and layering are important, what other trends will we see in the coming year?

Gregg: The second biggest and more current trend is in apparel fabrics and specs. Like the evolutions in technology on the hard goods side, apparel companies are focusing on improving playing performance. We’ve developed lighter and lighter fabrics to perform faster with regard to wicking speed, while being less restrictive during release. The Desert Dry Xtra-Lite (D2XL) fabrics are a prime example of this new trend.

Another trend – narrowing specs – is based on the same dynamic. The need to pull your shirt sleeve up before set up has been eliminated from our performance collections by focusing on minor adjustments to specific core fit anatomy. We haven’t made smaller garments, we’ve made better performing garments while leaving areas like the torso spec intact. And as we grade up in size, we cease the “taper in” fit. This fit can be comfortably modified for medium and large sizes, but has disadvantages in the XL and larger sizes. As the population has grown in stature, we’ve look to be accommodating in our offering to cater to that evolution.

AZGA: What are the new colors for the Antigua Fall 2011 line?

Gregg: As the performance apparel category took hold in golf, it was inundated with derivatives of the activewear market with regard to the use of both color and fabric blocking. As the shift solidified and the trends diversified, there was a lack of newness coming into the performance apparel markets when it came to brands that specialized in side-line apparel and dabbled in golf wear.

Taking our cue from the fashion market and less from the collegiate market our focus was to be golf wear specific. We developed and have updated color palettes in what we coined ’contemporary performance’. We transitioned from the warm natural earth hues in our 2010 collections and to a rich jewel palette for our 2011 performance lines. We believe this distinction in both our brand and our product shows our intent to cater to the genuine golfer with our genuine golf apparel, both esthetically and functionally.

AZGA: What goes into developing a new line of golf apparel?

Gregg: While we’d like to think we have all the right answers, we know there is a distinct correlation between the involvement in our product R & D and the acceptance by the consumer, especially with regard to technical details and features that demonstrate focus on both form and function. We talk to consumers about their likes and dislikes and we do a lot of testing before we launch any line. Through this collaboration of R&D and the consumer, we are able to create products that look good, feel great and meet our performance standards.

AZGA: What’s your favorite item in the fall ’11 line?

Gregg: I’d have to give the nod to our Hero line, it’s one of the most comfortable performance fabrics we’ve developed. It’s light enough to be worn on its own in mildly cool temperatures, yet warm enough to hold out the unwanted elements. It’s only been part of the collection for a short time, but based on its popularity in accommodating layering needs we’re expanding into additional base layers such as ribs and textures. I personally love the duality of the base layers. And we’re finding our customers agree. They are buying and pairing a polo with a base layer one-for-one in milder weather.

To check out all Antigua products, go to shop.antigua.com.

Visit the Arizona Golf Authority Golf Course Directory at www.arizonagolfauthority.com/coursedirectory/ for the inside story on every golf course in Arizona.

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