By and  on December 6, 2004

NEW YORK — Legwear makers anticipate another challenging year, but hope an upswing in the economy encourages consumer spending. One of their key concerns is the absence of a clear legwear trend to drive consumers into stores, such as the fishnet and bright colored opaque styles of past seasons. In addition, spring continues to be a lackluster selling season as more women embrace bare legs during that time.

WWD asked legwear executives crucial questions as they head into the new year: What will be the most important legwear fashion trend in 2005, and why? What is their outlook for the business and the single most important factor influencing or challenging their view? Here, a look at their responses.

Julia Townsend, executive vice president and general manager, Kayser-Roth Corp.

“The most important legwear trends for 2005 are color, prints and embellishment, whether overt, such as openwork and rhinestones, or sophisticated and subdued, such as shimmer hosiery. One of the most important things to acknowledge is legwear as a key accessory. Women have come to embrace legwear as an accessory to express their personal style. It is not surprising that, like shoes and handbags, color, prints and embellishment are driving legwear trends.…Legwear is eclectic right now, and women are comfortable moving from legwear pieces that offer sophisticated surface interest like shimmer and shine to feminine looks such as intricate open works to bolder graphic statements like argyles and printed hosiery.

Our outlook for 2005 is to continue double-digit growth in all Hue product segments. We expect to achieve this growth by offering a continuous flow of new, relevant and trend-right products, by creating distinctive products for every class of trade using brand vehicles such as Hue and No Nonsense. It is all about being inventive, listening to our retail partners and to consumers, and driving business through innovation and newness.”

 Susan Reese, vice president of sales, Soxland International Inc.

“At Soxland, the key trend next year is really all about being pretty. That means embellished socks and novelty yarns like Lurex in softer colors. The shapes are going to be extreme — we will see either really short shorties or knee highs. We are doing shorties with delicate details such as a flower or dog embroidery on the front or on the back or the side. We are also doing appliqués and embroidery combined.

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