Success Means Understanding a Mobile First World” with Bora Chow

Industry Lead on Fashion and Luxury retail on Facebook and Instagram, Bora Chow shared her expert insight with the Underfashion Club at the Harvard Club of New York in her presentation “Consumer Behavior & Expectations in a Mobile First World”!

Bora has been at Facebook for about three years. Prior to joining Facebook, Bora spent a majority of her career in the publishing industry and most recently, she was at Vogue for five years, helping them grow from the one magazine platform to 10 different platforms. At Facebook, Bora consults with leading fashion and luxury retailers on their mobile and social strategy and how to execute a customer centric approach across Facebook’s family of apps.

The in-store retail experience hasn’t really caught up with the rapidly changing consumer behavior. Smartphones and the Internet are causing disruption across all industries. New startups are completely changing the brick and mortar landscape. Today, mobile is not a choice for marketers. It’s an imperative.

  1. Consumer Behavior on Mobile

By next year, mobile will surpass television on time spent. Millennials lock their phones 150 times a day. They’ve coined a new phobia: FOBO (Fear Of Being Offline), highlighting just how essential it’s become to be online. 64% of people are accessing mobile devices while shopping to learn more information about a product. 90% of all time spent on digital is spent on apps, and 90% of that time is split between top 5 apps. These apps are Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Spotify, and YouTube.

As a result, the consumer is in the driver’s seat with a newfound sense of control, expecting all things to be brought to them with the click of a button. We are now always shopping, creating an opportunity for companies to be always present in the consumer’s life by being where she spends so much time.

  1. Mobile Storytelling on Facebook

Fashion and luxury brands of the past dictated trends as consumers wanted to mirror those values seen in magazines. Today, to be exclusive is to be inclusive. Consumers will choose brands that create bespoke and personalized experiences and those that fit into their personal values. As a result, businesses are releasing so much more variety to address the personalized needs of their diverse consumer pool.

Creating content for mobile has become a new discipline for creative directors today. When producing video content for your brand, ask yourself if your content is passing the “three-second audition.” As people’s attention span is getting shorter due to mobile, today’s challenge for marketers is to earn peoples’ attention. To learn more about how to optimize your content for Facebook, please check out the Blueprint courses here.

To be a relevant and a competitive business today, mobile and the customer should be at the center of our business decisions. Your competitive advantage is driven more by your creativity than your budget. The more you create, the more you learn. Be open to testing, learning, and iterating for today’s fast-paced, mobile first world.

See more photos from the evening on Facebook!

Boutique Innovator Laura Henny and Parsons Intimate Apparel Design Contest

On Thursday, May 17th, The Underfashion Club hosted boutique owner Laura Henny as a speaker during the same evening as a Parson’s School of Fashion Intimate Apparel Design Contest at The Fashion Group International in New York City. During the reception, current and new Club members viewed stunning intimate apparel garments produced by the six exceptionally talented design contest finalists from the Parsons School of Fashion. The members then voted for their favorite design, and the results were announced at the end of the evening. Laura Henny, the event’s featured speaker, shared her personal journey from Amsterdam native to lingerie boutique entrepreneur in Brooklyn. Propelled by her enthusiasm for cute bras in inclusive size ranges and her love of sneakers, Laura opened “The Rack Shack” to serve youthful and diverse customers in a city full of women from all walks of life.

Thanks to Membership Committee members Becky Kneski and Michele Schrak, pictured here with Membership Co-Chair Tristine Berry, for organizing this special event!

Thanks to SAIG Committee members Yaysa Bello and Sonia Vizcaino, pictured here with SAIG Co-Chair Clelia Parisi (center,) for their work with the Parsons design contestants and faculty resulting in another outstanding design contest.

Professors Julia Poteat and Karen Rippy from Parsons proudly stand with the student design contest winners: 1st prize – Anna Colena Yap and 2nd prize – Bhagyashree Ghuwalewala. Congratulations!

See the garments that were created exclusively for the contest, truly unique expressions of the contestants’ talent and creativity!

Anna Colena Yap / 1st prize – $3,500

Bhagyashree Ghuwalewala / 2nd prize – $1,500

Pamela Cooper

Shine He Sang

Minzhi Jiang 

Ming Steven Chung

Thank you all for sharing your beautiful work! With each generation comes more variety in design and a clear progression in abilities. We’re glad to see that the future of the intimate apparel industry has greatness in store!

See more photos from the evening on Facebook.

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!

Intimate Apparel Trends: Spring/Summer 2018

Spring and Summer are just a few short months away, bringing fresh lingerie collections! Get ready for an especially innovative and complex approach to fashion in the near future, reflecting a new generation of lucid and modern women. In the warmer seasons, lingerie is a must as it peeks from beneath outerwear as a statement. There will be more variety in color and patterns to complement the diverse range of styles on the market.

See the hottest thematic intimate apparel trends for SS18:

Marine

Marine life inspires depth in lingerie designs with materials such as chiffon, lace, and mesh used for an ethereal effect. Organic textures will be channeled through scalloped lace and shell motifs. This sea trend includes a palette of floral hues and aquatic shades such as waterlily, coral blush, milky blue, and persimmon.

Tropicana

This botanical theme draws inspiration from the natural world with floral and earthy tones like bluestone, turtle green, dusty olive, florida keys, and antique moss. See this style layered with sheers such as mesh and tulles for an immersive, yet delicate feel. 

Athletic

Athletic intimate apparel will continue to undergo technical improvements and stylistic innovation, driven by the rise of health-conscious consumers and the athleisure trend. These garments are made with functional materials such as spandex and power mesh. See it in vibrant colors such as azure blue, summer & jolly green, blazing yellow, fiery red, and florida keys.

Geometric

Geometric patterns with sharp shapes and edges create powerful visuals that appeal to the new generation that’s keen on combining masculine and feminine elements. Designs are light, soft, and linear, highlighting the feminine form with architectural elements. Symmetrical and asymmetrical cutouts with color combinations and mix-and-match techniques will create graphical effects. This clean-cut style will be expressed in colors like blueberry, pine grove, pirate black, waterlily, and ethereal green.

Eclectic

Eye-catching customization will illustrate the modern embrace of creativity. Expect the unexpected with contrasting materials, colors, and prints, with novel visuals that break the rules. Androgynous references are made with graphic, bold, and fresh aesthetics that deliver a feminist edge.

Classic Romance

Familiar femininity lives on in classically romantic pieces, made with delicate lace, lightweight satin, and understated colors for subtlety. An airy and silkiness is illustrated with colors like pastels, baby blue, rose violet, and anise flower. Sheerness and lace with prints will tell a delicate summer story.

Sensuality

Passion and lust are expressed with deep saturated hues like blueberry, fiery red, violet, and classic black in sensual materials such as satins and high-end lace. Cut-outs, cross straps, and other bold embellishments will expose the skin while carving sexy silhouettes.

Resources:
https://www.behance.net/gallery/42328129/Lingerie-Forecast-Spring-Summer-2018
http://vanjonssondesign.com/trend-blog/2017/9/25/spring-summer-2018-lingerie-trends
http://fashionwebgraphic.com/ss2018-trend-forecasting
http://www.lingerieinsight.com/mode-city-introduces-key-trends-springsummer-2018/
http://www.fashiontrendsetter.com/v2/2016/10/30/maredimoda-swimwear-intimates-preview-trends-summer-2018/
http://www.tactiletrends.com/home/interfiliere-trends-ss18
http://www.vogue.it/en/fashion/trends/2017/04/06/spring-summer-17-trends-lingerie/

UFC Holiday Party 2017

Thanks to all who joined us for The Underfashion Club’s 2017 Holiday Party! We thoroughly enjoyed partying with you, taking photobooth pictures together, conversing with industry friends – old and new, and being serenaded with songs of the holiday season. The delicious hors d’oeuvres, and sumptuous dinner and dessert stations were outstanding. Special thanks to all those who spread the holiday cheer by contributing so many beautifully wrapped gifts to our annual gift drive for the children of Women In Need (WIN.) You’ve helped make this holiday season a brighter one for everyone!

Underfashion Club president Victor Vega welcomed the crowd of 100 revelers, and thanked Program Co-chairs Joe Smith and Ellen Lewis, and their hardworking committee members, for organizing the event. Victor also invited everyone to celebrate the Club’s 60th anniversary at the FEMMY Gala on February 6, 2018 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. We hope to see you there!

Program Co-chair Joe Smith took a moment to thank all the attendees for their generosity and recognized the representatives of two of the local charities receiving contributions from the Club this year: Gillian Mendez from Citymeals on Wheels, and Cyndi Snyder and Abigail Stevenson from Women In Need.

We had some great raffle prizes to share this year – An orchid plant donated by Gramercy Park Flower Shop (with the help of Roslyn Harte,) won by Casey Greenberg – His & Hers PJ Set, donated by UGG Australia (with the help of Meghan Murray Cox,) won by Ellen Lewis – A gift certificate donated by Exhale Spa (with the help of Meghan Murray Cox,) and a $100 gift card donated by Black Barn Restaurant (with the help of Kendall Wszolek,) both won by the very lucky Zhanna Shmukler – A $50 gift certificate donated by iPic Movie Theaters (with the help of Jodi Goldin,) won by Victoria Vandagriff – A $100 gift certificate donated by Wacoal-America.com (with the help of Joseph Smith,) won by Andy Blab – 2 Gift Baskets of Kusmi Gourmet Teas, donated by Kusmi (with the help of Rafael Camp,) won by Jamie Gardner and Delrose Taylor, and a luxury silk kimono donated by Christine Lingerie, won by Kaitlin Wilbur. Linda Burhance and Kendall Wszolek each claimed a ticket to the 2018 FEMMY Gala, and Angela Maffia was perhaps the most envied of the winners with her TWO VIP box seat tickets to a future Yankees vs. Red Sox baseball game donated by UBM (with the help of Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel.) Congratulations to everyone!

We ended the night with a dance, a jingle and a mountain of presents for the children. Happy Holidays!

 

See photos from the evening on the Holiday Party 2017 Facebook Album:

Did you use the photobooth? See them on the Photobooth Fun Facebook Album.

Recap of “Trends in the US Retail Landscape”

On October 10th, 2017, The Underfashion Club had the pleasure of hosting Don Unser, Group President of Retail with NPD, at the Harvard Club of New York for a discussion on “Trends in the US Retail Landscape.” The NPD Group is among the top 25 market research companies, providing marketing information and advisory services to companies. After an hour of cocktails and networking, attendees took their seats  to learn about the modern retail climate in the United States.

Don began his presentation by highlighting macro trends across industries and categories before digging deeper into apparel and intimate apparel. Based on tracking $1.8 trillion dollars spent by consumers in the US, Don Unser commented that “There has never been a more tumultous time in retail in the 30 years I have been in the industry.” The overall growth rate is -0.2%, the only time we’ve seen a negative growth rate in US retail since the recession. Apparel sales are now flat, which is a first given that a growth rate of 1-3% is typical in this industry.

Where is consumer spending being shifted? Though there is a downward trend overall, there are several industries that are experiencing a marked increase in sales. Prestige beauty, home improvement, cruises, national park attendance, and RVs are seeing positive growth rates. Don theorizes that this shift toward spending on memories and experiences may be influenced by millennials’ mobile use, online presence, and search for uniqueness. With platforms like Instagram being enormously popular, millennials are always on a search for the “money shot” to share on their profiles. A life that’s personalized and picture-perfect is high on the modern consumer’s priorities.

Even e-commerce growth rates have been slowing for the past few quarters as various categories reach their online maturation points. Don reminded the audience that brick-and-mortar stores are still key for growth, feeding the relevancy of a retailer’s online sales.

Despite its lack of overall growth, there are clear distinctions between the top and bottom performers in apparel. Woven shirts and dresses are the biggest drivers in apparel, while T-shirts and sweater sales are significantly declining.

The large number of store closings over the past year is a big factor contributing to the difficulty in retail. Don predicts that apparel space will continue to decrease for another two years. To adapt and to stay relevant as Amazon grows, manufacturers are ramping up their direct-to-consumer services. The majority of retailers are using data to figure out how to appropriately distribute their brand outside of stores.

The intimate apparel industry has remained relatively flat for the past few years. Sports bras and swimwear are seeing improved sales while shapewear is facing a slight decline. Bras have more online penetration than women’s apparel, though panties fall short.

Amazon has grown to become the top online retailer in intimate apparel, with nearly 22% of bra sales and 42% share of the underwear market – almost 8x the runner-up. Intimate apparel brands should take note, especially if they plan to partner with Amazon.

With the nature of the modern retail climate and its inevitable changes in mind, Don Unser concluded his presentation with a call to action for both brands and retailers with advice on how best to compete and adapt to this volatile retail environment. We thank Don and NPD once again for an interesting and insightful evening.

See photos from “Trends in the US Retail Landscape” in our Facebook album!

Watch a clip of the seminar on YouTube:

Recap of “Success, Tailor Made For You”

On September 26, 2017, Underfashion Club members gathered at the Fashion Group International in New York City  for the presentation of “Success, Tailor Made For You.”
We’d like to extend a warm welcome to the new club members who joined during that evening’s event!

After an hour of cocktails and networking with old friends and new, club members took their seats for the start of the presentation. Underfashion Club president Victor Vega welcomed Hsin-Yi Shieh, Account Executive – East Coast, Triumph International to the podium.

Triumph International was founded in Europe in 1886 and, with over 130 years of innovation and creativity, is recognized as a world-leading maker of lingerie and shapewear. Drawing upon her professional experience, Hsin-Yi shared her personal vision for “success” in today’s Intimate Apparel Industry.

She discussed the customer’s value of beauty and comfort in lingerie, and what makes the Triumph brand in particular so successful. She urged the audience to put themselves in new situations and believe in their abilities to find their own personal path to success. We hope everyone who joined us drew inspiration from Hsin-Yi Shieh’s heartfelt presentation!

View photos from the event on our Facebook Album:

 

The Relevancy of Bralettes

Bralettes watercolor illustration by Rebellious yet Romantic

The Intimate Apparel industry has fully embraced bralettes ever since their introduction and meteoric rise in popularity during the Spring of 2016 – and for a number of reasons, this trend is likely here to stay.

Kendall Jenner at Coachella music festival 2016

As the athleisure trend gained traction, consumers became increasingly interested in apparel that is stylish, supportive, comfortable and versatile. Bralettes fill that demand and have risen as intimate apparel’s embodiment of leisurely fashion. From bedroom selfies to red-carpet outings, celebrities and fashionistas are being spotted wearing bralettes as standalone statement pieces that communicate ease, confidence, and cutting-edge style.

The practicality and comfort of bralettes give women the freedom required to chase their goals. Women today are busier than ever tending to professional obligations without compromising their personal interests and social endeavors. With today’s active, fast-paced lifestyle, the very last thing a modern woman wants is to waste time thinking about or fussing with restrictive, painful, or uncomfortable undergarments. The comfort of bralettes means that she won’t be distracted from what matters most – living her authentic life!

Lastly, the social implications in feminism and personal confidence are reflected in the  rise of bralettes. These garments provide women with a more natural form of support and comfort, rather than shaping the female body to what she “should” look like to fit someone else’s narrow standard of beauty.

Getty Images

The progressive wireless trend is here to stay, requiring technological advancements to produce garments that are more functional and accessible to meet the growing global demand. Currently, bralettes work best for smaller busts and lower impact activities. The intimate apparel industry has an opportunity to optimize and create new construction methods that provide more support and greater comfort. The textile industry will soon produce the ideal materials that supplement that support, feel soft against the skin, and afford the breathability and flexibility needed to be truly versatile. As technology advances, compromises between beauty and functionality are minimized – and women everywhere can be on the receiving end of those benefits.