Monthly Archives: March 2018

The Retail Apocalypse?
Shifting Consumer Demands

On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, The Underfashion Club hosted an open discussion at the Harvard Club in New York City with Sidney Morgan-Petro, Senior Retail Editor at the London-based trend forecasting company, WGSN. Morgan-Petro led an exploration of the turmoil in retail stores. Explaining how retailers in the U.S. are dealing with all the dynamic changes in the purchasing patterns of consumers.

To begin, Morgan-Petro shared some interesting statistics affecting retail stores for 2017, including the fact that about 3,000 retail stores had closed that year. Yet during the same year retailers opened over 1,300 more stores than the number closed. There was actual growth in retail. She also stated that in 2017, 42% of retailers have actually added stores, while only 15% have gotten smaller.

Morgan-Petro says that we are experiencing – not an Apocalypse – but rather a Transformation within the retail industry as consumers are shifting their spending from goods to experiences.

How is Retail Transforming?

Morgan-Petro said that retailers are generally transforming in 3 ways:

  1. Shifting their Business Models from selling products alone, to selling services
  2. Right-Sizing their Operations in order to better balance their businesses
  3. Creating Experiences within their stores that mirror the desires of the newer generations and at the same time, creating new channels

Shifting Business Models

When discussing shifting business models, it’s very worthwhile to review some of the innovations brands are taking. For example, some shoe stores are now offering shoe storage, shoe rental services, and shoe repair services, thus expanding their revenue stream.

Some clothing stores are offering monthly subscription clothing rental services that allow consumers to mix and match outfits by strategically selecting rented pieces of clothing to accent their own.

Luxury handbag stores have always offered repair and cleaning services, but now they are bringing the service “workshops” right onto the retail floor, where consumers can see their products being repaired and serviced.

Some clothing retailers are shifting to selling services rather than goods in specialty sponsored stores. A large international clothing chain is opening in-store, convenience laundromats for college students along with providing charging stations, beverages and music by a disc jockey on staff.

And in the lingerie business sector, some lingerie stores have embraced selling fitting services, consultations, educational services and half-sizes to lure consumers to their stores along with their traditional branded lingerie.

 

Creating Experiences

We’ve learned that both Millennials and the Z-Generation are more inclined to buy experiences rather than products. These younger people are more concerned with the over-all experience of buying the product rather than the actual product itself.

An example is that of a clothing store that sponsors, creates and administers music festivals and experience expositions for which they are charging a premium.

Increasingly, the differentiation between one product and another is not the product, but how and why it is made.

Here are a few statistics:

  • 65% of consumers globally try to support brands that are purposeful
  • 57% of consumers will support or boycott brands because of its stance on a political issue
  • There is a 30% greater tendency for consumers to purchase a brand, based on its beliefs, than there was just 3 years ago

Retailers must convey their message of relevance to these new consumers by making their stance know on ethical behavior, using factories that have policies of fair pay, humane treatment, and offer employees opportunities for personal growth.

These new consumers purchase with purpose. They care who the brand’s preferred charities are and they make purchase decisions that align with their own. They want the brands that they purchase to facilitate action by providing additional services.

 

The Retail Apocalypse?
No. It’s a Retail Transformation

This retail transformation is happening now and will continue to build and evolve as the needs and demands of the new generations of consumers grow louder. This is a call for retail innovation!

Curvexpo New York: Fall/Winter 2018-19 Intimate Apparel Trends

Eurovet’s Curvexpo New York Mode Lingerie and Swim trade show took place at the Javits Center from February 26-28, 2018. Exhibitors featured Fall/Winter 2018-2019 collections to buyers, industry partners, and known industry leaders in all Intimate Apparel and Swimwear categories. Most North American lingerie boutiques (57%) reported improvements in sales in 2017. In order to keep this trend going, businesses should recognize the preferences of a generation that will make up 50% of the working force by 2020: Millennials.

Millennials, known as the “wireless generation,” currently comprise 30% of the global population at 2.5 billion. Millennial mothers have some of the highest purchasing power in history. They tend to be eco-conscious and drawn to brands with sustainable practices and embrace the developments of digital technology. This generation has shown a preference for “barely there” styles like wireless bras and soft bralettes — a trend that is here to stay. Comfort is expected and many reject artificial padding or “enhancements.”

Comfort is key to the future of lingerie, especially without compromising beauty or sex appeal. Many garments in these collections are made with ultra-light, breathable, and natural fibers that prevent skin irritation such as modal cotton, silk, microfiber, nylon, 3D spacer fabrics and laces that are pleasant to the touch. Fuzzy and fluffy coverups and robes made of faux fur or wool will be hot for Fall/Winter 2018-19. Soft and warm materials like velvet and suede are gaining traction in intimate apparel.

Much of modern lingerie is sleek and minimalistic. T-shirt bras remain very popular with superior fit and more smoothness than ever before. Seamless styles like bodysuits and bralettes are very much on trend, which is shown in the strong lack of wires this season. Comfort and support is instead accomplished with technical solutions such as slings in cups and specialized lycra fabrics. Versatility is valued, so these garments seek to accommodate different functions and body types to make women’s lives easier.

As a counter-trend to modern sleekness, geometric and linear patterns, mesh panels, embroidery, quirky prints, and ribbed fabrics were salient stylistic trends at Curvexpo. Straps and cut-out details are still in. Bold-striped functional elastics with a sporty, contemporary style will be seen in a variety of designs. Transparency effects and patchwork, achieved with mixed mesh, were among the top trends. Embroidery with novel designs and tulle trims embellish luxury garments. There were playful graphics such as butterflies, dragons, koi, stars and cats on display. Metallic glints and golden pigments will inspire lingerie as outerwear looks.

Fuller bust bras and size expansions are being embraced by brands. Plus size cups are a sure sell for many boutiques and the plus size market is growing globally. Body positivity and inclusivity is integral to the identity of some of the most relevant brands today. Flesh tones for everyone, trendy nursing bras, and androgynous styles are picking up in popularity. The intimate apparel industry is well on its way to providing beautiful lingerie for everybody!

2018 Femmy Awards Gala

The 2018 Femmy Awards Gala, held at landmark Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City on February 6th, celebrated The Underfashion Club’s 60th anniversary, providing Intimate Apparel Industry leaders with a forum to exchange information and support the education of new talent. The annual event, hosted this year by burlesque queen, musician, lingerie designer and best-selling author Dita Von Teese, honors those individuals and companies that have significantly contributed to the Intimate Apparel Industry and its growth.

“Dedicated to supporting the next generation of talent, the FEMMY Gala is the largest industry event, and one of the many ways we recognize leaders who have made an impact. In 2017, the Underfashion Club distributed $250,000 in scholarships, awards, internships and grants in support of intimate apparel design and merchandising students, and we look forward to expanding our support to other institutions in the coming years.”
– Victor H. Vega, President of The Underfashion Club

The 15th Annual Student Design Contest featured the work of Fashion Institute of Technology intimate apparel design students. Six finalists presented their lingerie designs, and competed for cash prizes and the chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to July’s Mode City Paris Show!

1st Prize
Bianca Jeffs
“Street Level”
Cash award: $5,000
All-expenses paid trip to July’s Mode City Paris Show courtesy of Eurovet/Curvexpo

2nd Prize
Alicia French
“Glamour Et Minuit”
Cash award: $4,000

3rd Prize
Norissa White-Isaacs
“Blooming Lillies”
Cash award: $3,000

Finalists (each received $1,000 cash award)
Alana Fox
Nicolette Leslie
Eunsaem Nam

Design contest sponsors:
Clover Group International Ltd.
Regina Miracle International Ltd.
Stretchline Holdings Ltd.

 

The 2018 Femmy Awards recognized the following honorees:

Retailer – TARGET
Accepted by Marybeth Moser, VP DMM Intimates, Performance, Swim and Heather Fryxell, Director of Women’s Intimates

Manufacturer – KOMAR INTIMATES
Accepted by Debby Gedney, President

Supplier – TEXCO HOOK & EYE TAPE LTD.
Accepted by Tommy Fung, Chariman, Texco Group

Lifetime Achievement  – DONALD R. ALLEN, Jr.
Vice President, Design & Innovation, The Underwear Group, PVH Corp.

Diamond Jubilee – LYCRA® BRAND
Accepted by Bob Kirkwood, EVP, Marketing & Technology INVISTA

Thank you for your contributions to the Intimate Apparel Industry!

See photos from Cocktail PartyThe Red Carpet, and Awards Show on Facebook!