By  on December 12, 2012

PVH Corp. has big plans for the underwear and loungewear division in 2013 — and that’s not counting the impending addition of the Calvin Klein underwear label to the stable.

“Underwear has been a very healthy business for a while,” said Mitchell Lechner, president of the PVH Dress Furnishings Group. “It’s been the strongest segment of furnishings for over a year. The men’s wear industry is becoming more aware of the opportunities and importance of the men’s underwear category. Underwear provides the male consumer an opportunity to add an element to his wardrobe that complements his style and personality.”

According to The NPD Group, men’s underwear sales this year are up 6.7 percent through October.

To take advantage of the growth, PVH is planning several launches and product extensions for 2013. Although Lechner could not discuss Calvin Klein underwear since the corporation’s $2.9 billion acquisition of Warnaco Group Inc., the holder of the Calvin Klein underwear license, is still pending, that addition is expected to further boost the company’s underwear business. Calvin notwithstanding, PVH is planning a new “soft-hand program” launch for Chaps; an expanded fashion boxer program for Izod; more technical fabrications under the Michael Kors brand, including a new cotton Modal program, and a stretch program for Van Heusen.

The Tommy Hilfiger brand is putting its muscle behind loungewear and boys’ wear, both of which will launch for spring, Lechner said. Bright oranges, blues and greens will give life to the label, he said. Exploded plaids in woven boxers, fun colorful prints and boxer briefs in blues and grays will also be offered.

Lechner said American men used to be “tighty whitey guys,” but now technical fabrics and saturated colors have transformed the category into “lifestyle product.” This translates into loungewear, too. “Because of the technical fabrics, he can just run out for coffee or to walk the dog and be comfortable in what he’s wearing.”

Lechner said in the past, “function and fit were the main reason men would purchase certain brands of underwear. But we are also seeing a shift in buying patterns. Today’s consumer crosses silhouette lines as well as varied colors, patterns and fabrications. It’s a real positive move for the industry.”

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