HUE TAKES ON SHEERS

Byline: Marc Karimzadeh

NEW YORK — Customers looking for sheer hosiery will come across a blitz of unusual bright blue, pink and yellow packaging this fall.
That’s because Hue, the innovative casual legwear brand owned by the Kayser-Roth Corp., is expanding into sheers. Despite retailers and vendors consistently reporting doom and gloom for the category, Hue executives are confident that sheers are about to make a comeback with consumers.
The Hue Sheers collection takes a novel approach to comfort and packaging, with innovative details and noticeable images.
“We looked at [sheers] departments and thought about what we could do to make them look better,” said Molly Mott, Hue’s vice president of sales.
The company performed extensive market research, which showed that 85 percent of Hue’s casual legwear customers — fashion- and comfort-savvy working women aged between 18 and 34 and baby boomers from 35 to 49 — also wore sheers. This presented an opportunity for Kayser-Roth, the licensee for Calvin Klein and CK hosiery, which purchased the Hue brand name from Leslie Fay Co. last year.
Hue Sheers consists of three groups easily identified by their clear, unfussy color packaging featuring a casually dressed woman wearing the product in a relaxed nature.
“When you look at the hosiery departments, it is a sea of black and nude, and packages don’t have any spirit and fun,” said Julia Townsend, Kayser-Roth’s vice president and general manager of the department and specialty division.
Townsend said in hosiery, packaging is as important as it is in the fragrance and cosmetics market, and pointed to that segment as an example of how packaging can help drive sales for sheers.
Each of the five styles in the blue packaging is devoted to control features, including pantyhose with clear control, another without a waistband, footless pantyhose and one with a control-top panty. In the pink packaging, customers will find French lace hose and thigh-highs, with either the panty or band done in lace.
The five yellow styles pick up on fashion trends. For fall, these include two-tone fishnets, micromesh tights and a Lurex glitter fishnet in lightweight yarns.
The back of each of the flat packaging gives customers extensive information on the product’s functions and benefits.
The Hue sheers line primarily targets placement on sheer hosiery fixtures, but it also features a pop-up hook with the packaging to allow for merchandising on tight walls or even casual fixtures.
While Mott declined to give projected first-year volume figures, she said the company targets distribution in department stores, with plans to ship the line to approximately 500 doors in late August. Hue Sheers will be available at retail with a two-for-$12 pricing policy, with which consumers can mix and match items from any of the three groups.
“The retailers are ready for something new,” said Townsend. “We’re beyond bare legs.”