“In the next three years, we want to completely eliminate wires from our bra designs, in keeping with our desire for unrivaled comfort,” said Ludovic Manzon, chief executive officer of the brand, speaking from Sloggi’s headquarters near Zurich.
The intimates label, which was founded in 1979, introduced bras and brassieres a little later to its range, but really started pushing the category since the arrival of Manzon, who previously spent 12 years at Puma.
“Coming from the sportswear industry, I really felt upon arriving in the world of lingerie that everything was quite stagnant,” Manzon said.
“Women were always presented in a sexualized way in campaigns and communications, and everything was done in lace. There was no innovation, which is an extremely important notion in the world of sport — it’s a case of innovate or die. While in my previous position the focus was on performance, at Sloggi we decided to direct innovation toward optimal comfort.”
This led the brand to develop Oxygene Infinite, billed as the world’s lightest bra, set to launch at the beginning of 2020. “Our teams worked really hard to eliminate all the unnecessary details to make the product as light and breathable as possible,” Manzon explained.
As a result, the bra only weighs 28 grams, compared with 84 grams for regular bras. Available in sizes XS to L, Oxygene Infinite has no underwire, using a highly breathable Lycra fabric to ensure maximum stretch, and features a clip closure on its back for added comfort.
Additional innovations include a reworked sizing policy, named Easy Sizing: using different fabric constructions to ensure underwear can stretch to cover a range of different sizes, Sloggi has switched from offering around thirty different bra sizes to merely eleven. Sloggi has also just introduced Zero Feel Lace, a more dressed-up version of the brand’s seamless Zero Feel brassiere made of Freefit X-Move Lycra. The Zero Feel line currently represents 28 percent of sales.
“We want to become the sportswear label of lingerie,” said Manzon, who brought on a team of innovation consultants to work on the brand’s repositioning at his arrival in 2014.
“Despite the fact that the brand has been around for over 40 years, I consider us to be similar to a start-up: We’ve completely reinvented the brand architecture these last years. It’s fitting with market trends: Lingerie house are stepping away from seduction to go toward more comfort, which is our historic DNA.”
The main market for Sloggi is Japan, closely followed by France, the U.K., Italy and Germany. “This is the fourth year running that we are posting growth on all continents,” said Manzon, who noted a high-single growth in Europe for 2019, including a double-digit increase in sales in Germany over the last 18 months. Sloggi was introduced to the U.S. market in 2018 via retailer Nordstrom and is currently working with a distributor to enter the Korean market for 2020.
The brand’s next challenge is to tackle questions of sustainability. “We have just defined our roadmap for 2023 with clear objectives,” Manzon said. “More than other generations, Millennials and Generation Zers have a strong understanding of the fact that there is no planet B. Brands of the future will have to necessarily incorporate sustainability within their business, otherwise they will simply cease to exist.”