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In the race to win, it’s about co-opetition for intimates and athleisure

Golobal intimates market keeping pace with athleisure trends—and in some cases, the two categories are considered teammates rather than competitors. Millennials are attracted towards ‘bralette’ of late — easy to wear, cost effective and more comfortable. For Pattie Ficorilli, Senior Account Manager, intimate apparel and swim, North America for Invista, the appeal is easy to recognize. They are pretty, lacy and meant to be seen. It’s a different way to think about your intimate apparel that we haven’t seen in a long time. It’s a return to femininity.

 

 

In the race to win its about co opetition for intimates and athleisure

 

Golobal intimates market keeping pace with athleisure trends—and in some cases, the two categories are considered teammates rather than competitors. Millennials are attracted towards ‘bralette’ of late — easy to wear, cost effective and more comfortable. For Pattie Ficorilli, Senior Account Manager, intimate apparel and swim, North America for Invista, the appeal is easy to recognize. They are pretty, lacy and meant to be seen. It’s a different way to think about your intimate apparel that we haven’t seen in a long time. It’s a return to femininity.

For Guido Campello, CEO, Cosabella, comfort is key. To him, bralettes represent a more fundamental change in body image. The surge in interest in bralettes doesn’t seem to be fading. Ficorilli says bralettes are fuelling a larger ‘casual bra’ market, which includes sports bras. These comfortable, less structured garments are taking a cue from the ease we all crave thanks to our activewear-infused closets. In fact, Ficorilli compares athleisure’s influence on intimates to the way foam cup revolutionised the bra market decades ago.

Buzzing innovations

In the race to win its about co opetition for intimates

 

Whether it’s seamless, lace, microfiber or nylon, fibre companies are finding new ways to appeal to crossover crowd by pilling on the performance characteristics. For instance, Invista’s Lycra fibres which when blended with nylon, offer moisture management, support and odor control. Similarly, Hyosung’s Creora Fresh is an odour neutralizing spandex, while its Mipan AquaX nylon features cooling and moisture management. Ria Stern, Global Marketing Director, Hyosung Textiles, points out the influence between intimates and performance wear goes both ways. There are sports brands using technology originally developed by intimate apparel—around sizing, molding, stretch and recovery—in sports bras and underwear categories that are performance oriented. At the same time, intimate apparel is going after sports-inspired collections, taking advantage of consumers’ interest in something comfortable and functional they can wear all day.

Apart from these attributes, Molly Kremidas, Nilit America’s marketing manager, says the focus is now on weights epecifically lighter the better. Whether it’s in shaping or loungewear, development is happening within super microfibres that provide a hand that is really quite luxurious. And it’s not just about the fibres being light weight but even the construction like in a seamless garment where there’s bonding to give it a sleeker look or lighter weight look.

The credit for these lightweight materials goes to mills, which are constantly innovating. They are investing in finer gauge equipment, which is linked to the trend of super lightweight types of fabric. Cosabella feels that it’s going to texture rather than prints hogging the limelight in 2017. Ready-to-wear fabrications like velvet and cashmere are also emerging, especially on bodysuits.

Variety that counts

There’s a wide variety of fibers and fabrics now and everyone agrees this variety is a must. Cosabella has been diversifying its fabric portfolio owing to the burgeoning demand. Cosabella approaches product development with four main consumer profiles in mind, and offers product specifically for occasions like maternity and bridal. Hitting these major milestones allows Cosabella to be a sentimental choice, which makes consumers more willing to spend.

According to Stern, today’s consumer is smart and they understand enhanced product characteristics aren’t cheap. Pricing is an issue but if there is an attached value, the consumer is willing to pay a premium. And the shift will help customers too. Ficorilli says the current bralettes are letting women down in the shape and support departments. If you are not making the right fabric selection, they aren’t going to perform to consumer standards. But if it fits right and provides the right functionality, consumers will pay more.

 
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