MAIDENFORM IN IRELAND: Maidenform Worldwide Inc. opened its third retail operation Saturday in Ireland, in Dublin. The New York-based innerwear giant also has stores in Galway and Limerick.
Joining Maidenform chairman and chief executive officer Elizabeth J. Coleman at the opening ceremony for the new unit was U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown.
“As vice chairman of President Clinton’s Export Council and a businesswoman running a company that has operated since 1927, I am deeply appreciative of this administration’s demonstrated commitment to opening up trade opportunities for companies worldwide,” said Coleman.
Maidenform began its operations in Europe with the installment of its European distribution center in the Shannon Free Zone in 1985. The three stores feature bras and shapewear from the Maidenform portfolio of brands, which include Maidenform, Lilyette, Flexees, Subtract, Self-Expressions and the licensed Oscar de la Renta name.
Brown attended the opening to underscore the importance of promoting American goods and services abroad and the benefits of free trade.
“What Maidenform is doing in Ireland is what successful American companies are and should be doing in many countries,” said Brown in a statement.
Maidenform, the largest privately held innerwear firm in the U.S., has an estimated annual wholesale sales volume of around $400 million. In addition to Ireland, the firm has manufacturing and distribution facilities in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

MINA KOO’S NEW VENTURE: Mina Koo Inc. will introduce a secondary line of moderate-price sleepwear and at-homewear in January called Mina Mina. Styling will be aimed at younger, more contemporary customers, said Mina Koo, designer and a co-owner.
Wholesale prices haven’t been set. Styles will include long and short sleep gowns and coordinating robes and pajama sets. Sleepwear fabrics will include polyester charmeuse, novelty cotton knits and iridescent chiffons of polyester. At-homewear fabrics will include cotton velour and brushed cotton interlock.
Meanwhile, Koo said reaction has been strong to a group of bodyliners under the Mina Koo label. Retail sell-throughs have been good for a tank bodysuit, which wholesales for $13.75. This month, she added two styles — a long-sleeved bodysuit, which wholesales for $15.35, and a fitted, short-sleeved T-shirt, for $13.45. Each style is of sueded nylon and Lycra spandex. Colors are white, black and nude.
“Retailers are saying the bodyliners are selling because of their dual-purpose appeal,” said Koo. “Women are wearing the liners as lingerie, under jackets and even to exercise in.”

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