By  on February 22, 2005

NEW YORK — Expanding on its Lycra spandex brand, Invista has added Xtra Life Lycra, a fiber that helps swimsuits combat the corrosive effects of chlorine.Xtra Life was introduced this month during the finale of the NBC reality show “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search.” The program featured models Alicia Hall, who won, and Shannon Hughes, as they were photographed for Lycra’s “Has It” ad campaign, which will appear in fashion magazines.“This was a great, exciting way to kick off the new product launch,” said Invista’s North American Swimwear business manager, Ninabeth Sowell. “This is a significant evolution in swimwear.” A chemical that makes the fiber better able to withstand exposure to chlorine found in swimming pools is added to Xtra Life at the polymer stage, she said. Sowell declined to identify the chemical for proprietary reasons.The fiber also helps swimsuits better retain their shape.“All of our consumer research asserts that fit is one of the most important aspects of swimwear,” Sowell said. “It’s critical to the purchase decision, and fit retention has always come up very high in terms of awareness and desirability.”Accordingly, Xtra Life’s marketing message will be fit, rather than a chemistry lesson.“Consumers strongly understand the concept of fit retention, and bag and sag,” she said. “They don’t really want a tremendous education about why it works or how it works, they just want to know it works.”

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