By  on October 13, 2008

Danskin is launching a collection of sports bras for spring aimed at women who want performance wear that looks feminine and fashionable.

Introduced under the high-tech performance banner Tech-Elements Danskin, the line consists of four styles: the Flex Bra, a high-impact “flexiwire” style retailing for $48; the Glide Bra, a high-impact style, $44; the Curve Bra, a medium-impact contour design, $36, and the Glide Tri-Sport Bra, a high-impact compression style for swimming, biking and running, $50. The Flex Bra and the Glide Bra are designed for activities such as aerobics and tennis, while the Curve Bra is ideal for walking, cycling and yoga.

“We always did sports bras, but they weren’t technical enough,” said Carol Hochman, president and chief executive officer of Triumph Apparel Corp., the licensee and manufacturer for Danskin activewear, dancewear, yogawear and sports bras. “Stores said there was a need for top-level performance bras that don’t look orthopedic.”

Distribution is intended for department and major specialty stores, sporting goods outlets, specialty operations, the Web site and nine Danskin stores. Beginning in January, Bloomingdale’s and Dillard’s will sell the Flex Bra and the Glide Bra, which will be available in sizes 32B to 38D, while Lord & Taylor will feature the Curve Bra in sizes S, M, L and XL. The Glide Tri-Bra will be sized at 32B to 38D, and is slated to ship to sporting goods stores in February for summer selling.

The new sports bras incorporate the same premium design, moisture-management applications, enhanced performance attributes and technical fabrics that are used in Tech-Elements athleticwear, such as Lycra spandex; Xtra Life Lycra; Tactel nylon; Creora H 100D black spandex; the Dry Zone brand of micro fabric that wicks away moisture and regulates body temperature; Aerosilver fabric that contains silver and wicks away moisture, and a fabric called Reflective that is made of ground glass with reflective properties to protect wearers in dusk and darkness. Special applications on fabrics include UV protection and antimicrobial and antibacterials agents, as well as three-layer construction of which the second layer is a waterproof and breathable laminate that’s bonded to the face fabric.

“Our dance stores [around 2,000] are going crazy over this,” Hochman said. “Dance has expanded so dramatically. It’s no longer about the flat-busted ballerina. It’s hip-hop, ballroom and salsa.”

The 126-year-old Danskin name was acquired in 2007 by Iconix Brand Group for $70 million. The brand generates estimated wholesale volumes of $200 million annually. Hochman would not give a first-year sales projection for the sports bras, but noted: “We think it could end up being as much as 5 percent of our volume.”

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