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Hosiery’s New Tucks and Curves

NEW YORK — In an age when Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears proudly show off their curves and jeans couldn’t be any tighter, hosiery makers are increasingly focusing on products that are designed to add more shape and...

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NEW YORK — In an age when Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears proudly show off their curves and jeans couldn’t be any tighter, hosiery makers are increasingly focusing on products that are designed to add more shape and enhancement.

This story first appeared in the September 9, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

While shaping legwear is certainly not a new trend, a fresh bumper crop of products are being introduced this fall and for next spring. Among companies that have stepped up their efforts in this area are Hanes, Oroblu, Levante and Spanx.

“Shaper products are very big for us and a growing product category for our company,” said John Flynn, vice president of sales at Levante’s U.S. division. Levante recently introduced its Wonderlift line of products, designed to “shape and lift” the wearer’s bottom.

“A lot of the motivation behind these products is coming from popular culture,” Flynn said. “I just read an article that said women are having operations to make their buttocks larger.”

With wholesale prices of about $5, Wonderlift products are constructed with two different panels that lift wearers’ backside, he noted. Shaper products have been so successful for the company that they now account for about 60 to 70 percent of Levante’s overall business.

Hanes is introducing a line of products for fall called Body Enhancers No Hose. The launch is one of most ambitious in scope in the company’s history, said Roanne Wallace, marketing director for Hanes Hosiery. The Body Enhancers line is being launched in about 2,400 doors, and is being accompanied by a $4 million dollar advertising and marketing push from September to December, which includes magazine and outdoor advertising, including a jumbo billboard in New York’s Times Square.

“Fashion trends are still all about close-fitting apparel,” Wallace said. “Women are more conscious of panty lines and with these products they don’t have to worry about that.”

The Body Enhancer line, which recently hit stores, consists of a seamless panty, capri hose and a mid-thigh panty. The anticellulite option features a roll-resistant waistband, a nonbinding leg band and a massaging pattern design, which shapes the thigh and is designed to reduce the appearance of cellulite. The capri provides control from the waist to below the knee with an adjustable leg band.

Wallace said that about two-thirds of Hanes customers wear control-top hose.

Meanwhile, Oroblu, the Italian hosiery brand, has introduced two new products to its Shock Up collection, which first made its debut about 10 years ago. The two new products are the first additions to Shock Up since the initial introduction of the line, said Dianne Miller, managing director of the company.

“Shock Up is our number-one product and while it’s not a new category, we are putting more emphasis on it and we are developing new products,” Miller said.

The new products are Shock Up Boxer and Shock Up Light. The boxer features a sculpting zone that flattens the wearer’s stomach, hips and thighs, while the light version lifts the wearer’s bottom and emphasizes curves.

“All women face the same problem,” Miller said. “They want a a flatter tummy. Especially with the current trends in clothing, people are requiring more shapewear pieces.”

Miller declined to give sales projections for the line, but she said Shock Up products now account for about 20 percent of Oroblu’s overall sales.

Spanx, meanwhile, recently introduced a new bodyshaping control-top version of its fishnet hosiery. The control top is made of 30 percent Lycra spandex and 70 percent nylon. Other new Spanx products include Power Panties, a body-shaping undergarment with the brand’s signature features such as a soft waistband with no binding rubber cord or leg band and a cotton gusset.

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