By  on September 12, 1994

NEW YORK -- In an increasingly competitive market, more hosiery and sock manufacturers are toning down their packaging to attract customers.

In the past several months, about a dozen hosiery and sock lines -- in all price points -- have changed their packaging or have a redo in the works. While most said their new clean, simple looks reflect the mood of the Nineties, some said they wanted to simplify shopping more than anything else.

After upgrading the merchandise in his CK and Collection hosiery lines, Calvin Klein decided to update his packaging, according to Neil Kraft, senior vice president and creative director of Calvin Klein Inc. Kayser-Roth Corp. holds the licenses for both lines.

"We wanted to send out a strong signal that this was a new and improved product," Kraft said.

CK's new packaging was introduced in February and the Collection packaging will be shipped to stores in the next few weeks. The old gray Collection package had the same photo on each style; the new tan package will feature a different photo for each style, Kraft said. To promote Collection hosiery in New York and California, a free pair of pantyhose has been placed in 400,000 copies of the October issue of Elle, Kraft said. At the end of January, Evan-Picone hosiery will replace its signature herringbone-design flat package with a solid ivory-colored one. Licensed to Ithaca Industries, Evan-Picone hosiery has had the same package for more than 10 years, according to Joni Zeller-Claxton, vice president of hosiery design. The old packaging varied in color, and product information was difficult to read, Zeller-Claxton said. Designed to make shopping easier, the new package will have two or three color bars on the upper right-hand corner describing the product's texture and style, she said; size, color and price will be noted at the upper left.

The bottom of the package will have a number circled by a ring shaded to match the color bars at the top. The company hopes the consumer will become familiar enough with the system that she will know, for example, that a number two encircled in orange means a sheer with control top and reinforced toe.

"Most hosiery departments are self-service, and it can be confusing. If you don't get your message across in the first 10 seconds, you've lost her," said Zeller-Claxton.

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