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Lingerie News: May 2015

Sensilk Biometric Bra. Photo via Fast Company.

Sensilk Biometric Bra. Photo via Fast Company.

A roundup of everything interesting that happened in the world of lingerie for May…

  • [Advertising Age] In China, It’s Va-Va Voom Times for Lingerie Brands – “China’s lingerie market, worth more than $20 billion in 2014, has logged double-digit growth annually since 2010” with high-end lingerie comprising 30% of “the category’s sales last year.” When one of China’s leading lingerie brands, Aimer, launched in 1992, lingerie wasn’t as popular because many women preferred utilitarian underwear, particularly rural and older women. Now, many 20-somethings, like Fanny Zhao, shop for lingerie in high end malls, who estimates that she spends $500 a year on brands like Triumph. Despite how well lingerie is doing, it’s very fragmented with the leading brand holding 3% or 4% of the market at the most (with either Beijing Aimer or a mass market local brand Cosmo Lady China Holding Co. as number one).
  • [Fashionista] Miami’s Fashion Week Swim Is Going on Hiatus – The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim is an event meant to showcase both indie and established designers to both press and buyers from all over the world. Although the event was originally scheduled for July, IMG has decided to cancel this year’s event and push it back to 2016. This change also follows those made for New York Fashion Week, where IMG changed the venue, acquired Made Fashion Week, and lost Mercedes-Benz as a title sponsor.
  • [Madame Noire] Shh! Lingerie Isn’t Victoria’s Secret Top Seller – Although many people tend to think of lingerie when they think of Victoria’s Secret, their highest selling product is swimwear. In fact, Victoria’s Secret is becoming known for having the best selection of swimwear available, evidenced by their sales going up more than 10% in their first quarter.
  • [ABC News] Turning 18 and Turning to Breast Reduction Surgery – 18-year-old Mackenzie Langan experienced a great deal of back and shoulder pain due to her large breasts, so the high school senior opted to have a breast reduction surgery. But Langan isn’t alone; the procedure has increased 157% between 1997 and 2013 in the United States, and although no one knows specifically why, some experts feel that it might have to do with the procedure’s increased safety. For Langan’s surgery, she and her mother traveled to Boston’s Children Hospital to meet with Dr. Brian Labow, “one of the best known adolescent breast surgeons in the country,” where her insurance was able to cover a surgery that normally costs $10,000. During her surgery, Labow and his team removed a pound of tissue from each breast and reduced Mackenzie’s bra size from a 32H to a 32D. With her reduced breast size, Mackenzie has reported no back pain, she’s able to sit up straight without crying, and her dress size went from a size 8 to a 0.
THINX panties. Photo via Forbes.

THINX panties. Photo via Forbes.

  • [Business Insider] Amazon is Launching an Etsy Killer – Amazon is building their own handmade goods marketplace known as Amazon Handmade, with the goal of competing directly with Etsy. In fact, Amazon Handmade is trying to lure Etsy sellers away by directly e-mailing them and asking them to join. And while there are some perks to joining Amazon, like access to the Amazon Prime shipping and distribution network, it’s currently unknown what the commission structure will look like. Currently, “Amazon charges its own 3rd-party sellers a 15% commission” which is pretty high compared to Etsy (who “takes 3.5% of the price and a flat 20 cents per listing.” If Amazon keeps these numbers, sellers from Etsy might be less likely to join.
  • [Fast Company] Smart Bras Aren’t As Stupid As They Sound – Design engineer Donald Yang, an alum from Oracle and Hewlett-Packard, created Sensilk, which is biometric clothing aimed at women’s sportswear. This helps Sensilk stand out since the biometric clothing industry tends to prioritize men’s needs. And while Sensilk’s Fight Tech bra isn’t the first biometric bra available, many of its competitors focused on the technology, and not the garment itself, while Sensilk focused on both. The Fight Tech bra is on preorder for $140, with expected delivery at the end of the month, and there’s already another bra with adjustable straps and a men’s biometric shirt in development.
  • [NY Times] Young Women Say No to Thongs – Many young women have been moving away from thongs, and preferring granny panties, a trend that’s backed by research company NPD Group’s data that says sales for thongs have gone down 7% in the last year while full styles have grown by 47%. Several lingerie businesses have been created by women who prefer roomier panties over thongs; Julia Baylis and Mayan Toledano created Me and You, and Greer Simpkins created Hello Beautiful. Baylis feels that while most lingerie is designed with men in mind, their underwear is for women’s eyes only (and if a man is seduced by it, that’s a welcome side effect). When Simpkins observed how women shopped for lingerie, she noticed that they tended to think of other people, but not of themselves. Her underwear line consists of one design: a white cotton panty with a high cut and narrow back. Although there’s nothing inherently non-feminist about a thong, Toledano feels that this is a step toward “embracing more variety in what’s offered.”
  • [Forbes] Can These Panties Disrupt the $15 Billion Feminine Hygiene Market? – Miki Agrawal is the CEO and Founder of THINX, which makes women’s underwear that functions as a type of menstrual pad. Agrawal is invested in changing the way people talk about periods because so many women are uncomfortable with them — women are often unwilling to insert their fingers into their vaginas or get blood on their hands. In addition, Agrawal is hopeful that THINX can help the environment by eliminating unnecessary waste caused by pads and tampons. (The CEO has said that while only using THINX for a year, she has made zero carbon impact). THINX panties are fairly affordable, priced between $24 and $34 with the more expensive pairs able to “absorb the equivalent of two tampons-worth of blood.” THINX underwear also helps reduce the need to replace stained underwear or panties ruined from bleed-throughs.

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