Issue Week 49-2014
Summary of news published during Week 48-2014
THE REPORTS that yet another soccer star is launching a new collection of men’s underwear and that a Mexican beer brand is being used to label a beachwear collection in the US provide further evidence of the merits of applying well established names to new collections. Building brand recognition for a new label can be an expensive project spread over many years. Licensing, on the other hand, provides the immediate recognition of a name that is already familiar to consumers, which justifies the licensing fees for manufacturers that do not already operate a well-known label. Further, what goes for consumers also applies to retailers, who will also be more willing to add a widely recognized label to their assortment, even though the recognition may be linked to a different type of product.
BACKGROUND – developments to bear in mind
SUPPLIERS – information from the upstream sector
THE APPAREL SCENE – news of brands & labels
DISTRIBUTION – evolution of chains and channels
PEOPLE – corporate personalities
EXHIBITIONS – what to see and where to trade
FINISHING TOUCH – The smile for this week
BACKGROUND – developments to bear in mind
ADVERTISING: blonde models generate less lingerie sales
RESULTS of comparative tests made by e-tailing start-up Adore Me with different lingerie models in different poses, and published on the Fast Company website, found that blonde models attracted fewer sales enquiries than others. Other findings include the fact that consumers respond better when the model has her hands on her head rather than on her hips. Click here to access more details.
The findings show that, however suitable the advertising medium, even minor modifications to the image and graphics can make a major difference to results.
GERMANY: survey shows improved business climate
THE LATEST report from the highly respected Ifo Institut in Munich found that the Business Climate Index had risen to 104.7 points in November, up by 1.5 points against October. Each of the preceding six months had shown a deterioration of the Index. Manufacturers and wholesalers as well as retailers all reported a more positive assessment of the current business situation and were less pessimistic about future prospects.
Further confirmation is needed before it can be assumed that the German economy has recovered from recent setbacks. But the improved business climate is a step in the right direction.
SUPPLIERS– information from the upstream sector
NILIT: collaboration with Ripa promotes Innergy FIR fibre
PRESENTED at a press conference in Milan earlier this month were the results of a joint project involving Italian knitting mill Maglificio Ripa that supplied the fabrics and fibre company Nilit that supplied the Innergy Far InfraRed (FIR) fibre. The two companies had produced a range of functional bodywear that incorporates Innergy fibre and had the garments tested by an independent panel of scientist from leading universities and research institutes in Italy. Tests begun in November 2013 showed conclusively that Nilit Innergy fibre raised substantially the wearers’ capacity for physical effort. The final report also suggested that further testing was desirable to establish the fibre’s capacity to provide further benefits, including a possible action against cellulite. Later, Nilit announced that its Innergy fibre as well as its Nilit Breeze and Nilit Heat fibres would be featured on its stand B84 at the Sportsgear Sourcing Days event in Annecy-le-Vieux, France, on 2 & 3 December.
Recent developments in the US, when heavy fines were imposed on brands alleged to have made false claims regarding the functional performance of garments, are likely to lead to many more independent fibre and fabric test programmes in the months and years to come.
PIAVE MAITEX: elected Designer of the Year by Interfilière
LONG ranked among the leading European knitters of stretch fabrics, Piave Maitex has been elected Designer of the Year 2015 in the lingerie category by the Interfilière trade fair. The official presentation of the award will be made during the next edition of the salon, in Paris from 24 to 26 January 2015. The citation refers to the effective way in which the company’s experience and know-how are applied to the technological challenges of today in order to anticipate and satisfy market demand. It also applauds the way in which all departments, from the design studio to the in-house dyeing, printing and finishing facilities co-operate in the creative process, allowing the company to propose some 120 new products each year in addition to the basic collection.
Ever since this newsletter was launched in 2007, we have expressed our appreciation of the technical and creative skills of this company, whose latest award now provides further justification for our support.
ARCHROMA: eco-friendly dyes added to product range
TEXTILE chemicals specialist Archroma announced the launch of a new range of environment-friendly dyestuffs. Named Earthcolors, the new dyes make use of agriculture waste products that would otherwise be disposed of in landfills. These provide rich red, brown and green colours for dyeing of cotton and other cellulosic textiles. To achieve adequate transparency along the whole supply chain, Archroma can supply brands with hang tags to be attached to individual garments. The tags incorporate a chip with complete information on relevant colour batches, which can be accessed with a consumer’s smartphone at the point of sale.
Described as “biosynthetic sulfur dyes”, Earthcolors are derived from natural products such as almond shells, saw palmetto or rosemary leaves that are normally treated as waste.
NYLSTAR: workforce increased to boost activity
THE SPANISH producer of polyamide yarns Nylstar, a subsidiary of the Praedium private equity concern, told local trade newsletter Modaes.es that it had increased its workforce by 20 per cent in the past nine months to promote the development of its business. The 40 new appointments were made in different departments of the company, such as logistics, production and human resources but especially in sales and marketing. A recent development is the creation of the Meryl Contract division to promote closer collaboration with major distributors of private label merchandise, involving the supply of finished garments with fabrics produced with Nylstar yarns. This marks a new emphasis on service to customers.
All these developments add to costs and need to generate higher sales and output if they are to prove viable. Under current economic conditions in Europe, that will not be easy to achieve with adequate margins.
MIRACOR: capital sought to market performance fabrics
TO BRING to market its state-of-the-art fabrics that provide exceptional dryness when worn next to the skin, MiraCor International Corp. launched a crowdfunding campaign intended to raise USD 35’000 by December 14. The fabrics, labelled MiraCor Diffusion™, are said to have finally achieved and sustained unequalled dryness next to the skin to provide exceptional comfort, performance and hygiene benefits. Functional underwear is included among suggested end-uses. The fabrics have also been extensively tested in laboratory and field conditions by independent bodies for dermatological and effectiveness approval.
Besides manufacturers of sports apparel, functional bodywear brands could also use the new fabrics to improve yet further the performance of their products.
APPAREL SCENE – news of brands and labels
PETIT BATEAU: first step taken to launch brand in China
TRADITIONAL brand leader in France for children’s underwear, Petit Bateau concluded an agreement with Fung Retailing, a subsidiary of Li & Fung, that will launch the product range in China. Although the company also markets outerwear, the Chinese launch will concern initially only its children’s underwear range. The objective is to open over 100 stores under the brand’s label and the first outlets in major Chinese cities are to open in 2015. In 2013, Petit Bateau generated sales of EUR 300m, with exports accounting for 45 per cent of the total. Its expansion into China will allow the proportion of exports to exceed 50 per cent and will bring to over 300 the number of Petit Bateau retail stores worldwide.
The local dominance of the Petit Bateau brand was solidly established before supermarkets arrived on the French scene and the company has held on to much of its former popularity.
VANNINA VESPERINI: designer launches e-commerce
TO COMPLEMENT the launch last year of an app that allows consumers to personalize selected models from her collection (Click here for details) lingerie designer Vannina Vesperini recently launched an online store that proposes her complete collection. The assortment of the new e-shop also includes items from limited editions of the luxury range.
Because the designer’s product range has undoubted international appeal, it is unfortunate that the new online store does not provide at least an English version. The additional cost is minimal and it is the widespread use of the English language that has helped many young designers from the UK to establish their collection in world markets.
GOLDEN LADY: new seamless tights target younger girls
REPRESENTING an investment of EUR 20m over 20 years for its development, the Seamless Collant being launched by Golden Lady is targeting younger consumers in the 10 to 15 age group and should also serve to boost international sales. To reach its objective, Golden Lady’s new label is being endorsed by pop singer Miley Cyrus whose videos break records on Youtube and who has over 50m Facebook followers. From the USA, it was also reported that the Italian hosiery giant’s Kayser Roth subsidiary was investing USD 18m on the expansion of its dye house in Burlington NC.
The highly impressionable 10-15 age group can be expected to respond positively to the endorsement personality and thus to allow Golden Lady to create a new market for its tights.
BRONZINI: new underwear range features top soccer star
YET another world soccer superstar, James Rodriguez, is to lend his name to a collection of men’s underwear following a licensing/endorsement deal concluded with Colombian apparel brand Bronzini. Labelled J10 James, the new range is already available from Branzini’s retail shops and online store while arrangements to wholesale the collection are being finalized to achieve world distribution.
The CR7 label applied to the Ronaldo underwear range refers to his shirt number in the Real Madrid team and the J10 label of the Rodriguez collection has the same recognition factor. The third soccer superstar underwear label, a marketing trend initially launched by David Beckham, promises to be as successful as the first two if Bronzini exploits to the full the international sales opportunities.
CALIDA: new concept sought for Aubade collection
THE SWISS group’s French lingerie subsidiary; Aubade, has organized a competition for students at the De Montfort University (DMU) Contour Fashion School to develop a new concept for its collection. The brief is that the collection should retain the essence of French styling while showing a subtle hint of British handwriting. The student producing the winning design, of a bra and panty set with a “free” third item of lingerie, will be invited to spend six months in Paris working with Aubade. The project is being filmed by CAD/CAM specialist Lectra and the video is to be shown at the S.I.L. in Paris as well as at the Moda salon in the UK.
Besides the creative input and media exposure created by such a project, it also promotes goodwill for a brand among the faculty and students of a college.
INGEAR FASHIONS: beachwear licence won from beer brand
FOLLOWING an agreement with the licensing agency in the US of Corona beer, swimwear specialist InGear Fashions will produce and market a collection of swimwear and cover-ups under the Corona label. The first collection, to be in stores for S/S 2015, will include bikinis, monokinis, cover-ups, swim shorts and rash guards retailing at from USD 30 to USD 40. Other apparel types already being marketed under the Corona label include woven and knitted tops, loungewear, headwear, men’s swimwear and footwear, with beach accessories being launched next year.
Corona is reported to be the best selling imported beer in the US and, because the name also calls to mind the sun, it could prove quite successful as a beachwear brand.
DISTRIBUTION – evolution of chains and channels
UNDIZ: new store concept being applied in France
HAVING tested it in several new openings in other countries, lingerie chain Undiz is now applying its new store concept to existing stores in France. The concept focuses on the urban scene, with grey as a dominant colour. The layout is more open than in the past, limiting window display to a square “box” at the entrance. The sales area is said to have been “optimized” and circulation within the store has become more fluid. Conversion of all the 100 or so French stores is to be completed by the end of the year.
Coupled to its merchandising policy of offering affordable innerwear to young women, the new store concept promises to raise yet further the chain’s penetration of the market.
HUNKEMOELLER: German expansion proceeds further
THE LATEST new opening being prepared by the Hunkemöller lingerie chain marks a further expansion in major German cities. The Dutch chain, which ranks among the largest in Europe with 197 outlets in Germany alone, is reported to have signed a lease on a 200m2 location in the central district of Dresden. The Dresden store is expected to open early in 2015 and follows the opening at the end of October of a new store in a prime location in Siegburg.
As a private company, the chain is not obliged to publish details of its results, but its steady expansion over the year, and the larger area of its recent openings, suggest that its operations are very successful.
LA PERLA: latest opening features men’s innerwear only
THE FIRST La Perla boutique dedicated solely to the new range of men’s innerwear that was re-launched earlier this year opened in Milan last week. The 100m2 store is located on the edge of the most exclusive shopping district in the city and proposes the full range of men’s innerwear, from underwear to sleepwear as well as the men’s beachwear collection. In December, two other boutique dedicated exclusively to men’s innerwear are to open, in London’s Burlington Arcade and in the Plaza 66 mall in Shanghai. The men’s range continues to be proposed by the brand’s major flagship stores, in Milan, Paris, Zürich and New York.
Although it is unlikely ever to equal the sales volume of La Perla products for women, the men’s range helps to emphasize the exclusive luxury character of the brand.
PEOPLE – corporate personalities
LISA BARTLING: named Brand Director of Oh La La Cheri
FLORIDA-based erotic lingerie concern Oh La La Cheri announced the appointment of Lisa Bartling as its Brand and Marketing Director. A graduate of Colorado State University, Ms Bartling has over ten years experience of the intimate apparel business, mainly in the retail sector and most recently with the Romantix chain.
EXHIBITIONS – what to see and where to trade
FILO: yarn forum provided by newsletter
THE LATEST edition of the Filo yarn fair’s newsletter announced the launch of its AAA Wanted service that is intended to maintain contacts between yarn users and spinners throughout the year. Readers are invited to send yarn requests or supply proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org where they will be published and subsequent contacts facilitated.
If the initial e-mail approach is successful in generating a substantial volume of enquiries, the creation of a dedicated website allowing direct contact between users and suppliers may prove necessary, with Filo exhibitors and visitors being provided with free passwords. The continued absence of such a website in a year or two will indicate that enquiries can be dealt with manually by the fair’s secretariat, and are therefore relatively few.
LACE: duration of Calais exhibition extended
THE LACE exhibition staged in the Cité Internationale de la dentelle et de la mode in Calais that opened on 25 May under the title Lace Effects 2 will now close on 28 December 2014. The exhibition focuses more closely than its predecessor on the design and traditional techniques of hand-made laces.
The extension gives professionals as well as consumers a further opportunity of updating their knowledge of this speciality.
FINISHING TOUCH – the smile for this week
HARD TIMES: erection-hiding underwear launched
A RUSSIAN firm trading as Ali Kaps, that markets natural supplements for treating erectile dysfunction, has launched men’s briefs that are claimed to make the wearer’s erection invisible. Labelled Hiders, the briefs feature a special polyurethane pad that provides enough resistance to be effective without being uncomfortable.
The implication is that Ali Kaps pills are so effective that consumers are obliged to buy the Hiders briefs in order to avoid embarrassment.