By  on June 16, 1994

NEW YORK -- Despite the avalanche of publicity this spring over padded push-ups, another category -- seamless and seamless-looking bras -- has also been gaining momentum.

While vendors were scrambling to climb aboard the push-up bandwagon for the May market, they were also promoting additional entries in the established seamless area.

Seamless business has been fairly level over the past few years. However, manufacturers saw the opportunity to develop the category as a complement to the growing use of lighter-weight and sheer woven fabrics as well as knits in apparel, promoting both the comfort for everyday wear and the smooth look offered by seamless construction.

Retail response, they say, indicates their efforts will pay off, both short and long term. The upward trend for seamless is already being felt at retail, they say, with gains of up to 10 percent. Furthermore, some vendors note, the push-up publicity has been a help, simply by generating more traffic in bra departments.

Retailers agree about the growing importance of seamless bras.

Paula McManus, foundations buyer for Jacobson Stores, Jackson, Mich., put it this way: "Certainly, the padded push-up hype this year has overshadowed anything else at this point, but seamless bras have more long-term validity and a broader appeal. There are some women who want to wear padded push-ups day and night, but when the dust settles, it will be viewed as a specialty bra."

"Contemporary seamless bras are definitely happening on one end of the spectrum, and pretty push-up bras are happening on the other end," said Kim Anderson-Curry, divisional vice president divisional of intimate apparel at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Robin Suvoy, administrator of foundations and sleepwear at Macy's East, said: "We are not going to let padded push-up bras outdo our seamless bra business, and we are looking to maximize both."

Leslie Freytag, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of intimate apparel at Neiman Marcus Dallas, noted, "Even though everybody is busy talking about push-up bras, seamless is a significant part of our business. Seamless is a focus we're taking for fall in matte finishes, shiny and glossy looks."

Freytag said top-selling molded seamless styles at Neiman's are by Natori, Wacoal, and the licensed Donna Karan Intimates bras by Wacoal and Oscar de la Renta bras at Maidenform.

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