Curve Connect and the NPD Group are throwing a party.
The virtual trade show circuit and the market research firm have teamed up to host the first Curve & NPD Excellence awards, honoring some of the most prominent names in the intimates apparel industry.
“We are going to celebrate the top-performing brands and the star retailers,” Raphael Camp, chief executive officer of Eurovet Americas, told WWD.
Curve, run by Eurovet Americas, produces lingerie and swimwear trade shows several times a year. Curve Connect, the digital version, was created earlier this year in response to the pandemic and also includes weekly webinars with leaders from the innerwear world.
“This year in particular, we wanted to celebrate the heroes of the intimates apparel industry,” said Camp, who will also be hosting the virtual awards event, starting today at 5 p.m. EST. “It was an especially challenging time for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact us all in various ways. Several of us encountered personal losses; a lot of our specialty stores had to close their doors and every one of us is feeling the economic impact. But out of this tragedy, our community has come together and was able to demonstrate great unity and courage.”
Kicking off the evening will be Curve, with awards in five categories: the Philanthropic award, Lifetime Achievement award, Education Excellence award, Curve Congeniality award and the Comfort Project awards for charitable excellence, which honors 14 brands.
Larisa Olson, owner of Chantilly Lace, a lingerie shop in Wilmette, Ill., won the Philanthropic award for creating the Comfort Project, which filled gift bags with unmentionables, like bras and panties, and donated them to nurses working on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis in the Chicago area.
The project was such a success that other intimate apparel retailers and brands around North America began stuffing hundreds of their own gift bags for healthcare workers. Fourteen of those brands are being honored with comfort awards.
“Through the Comfort Project each of these retailers was able to connect with their communities and make an impactful difference in people’s lives,” said Kirsten Griffin, visitors promotion director at Eurovet Americas. “They should be proud of the incredible goodwill they created and inspiring role models they have become for their charitable efforts.”
Danny Koch of New York City’s The Town Shop will receive the Lifetime Achievement award. Koch runs the 4,000-square foot lingerie and swimwear boutique, which has been passed down through fourth generations of Kochs, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Veteran bra fit specialist Freddy Zappe of Eveden Inc. will be honored with the Education Excellence award for her ability to understand “the psychology of the customer and how to do a proper bra fitting,” according to Curve. “It takes an incredible amount of experience and patience. Freddy makes it all look quite easy. She has inspired us all with her passion for the lingerie business and her commitment to help retailers to get the right fit for their customers.”
Meanwhile, Jennifer Briscoe, a sales representative at Cosabella, is being honored with the Congeniality award for her positive attitude and friendly demeanor.
“I have seen Jennifer take on every roll, every customer and every challenge,” said co-ceo and creative director of Cosabella Guido Campello, who has worked with Briscoe for nearly two decades. “She does so day in and day out with the same ecstatic enthusiasm and electric energy that people need and crave for in our industry.”
Later in the evening, Todd Mick, editorial director of fashion practices at the NPD Group, will take the mic to present the NPD’s 2020 Intimate Apparel Retail Performance awards.
“Thanks in part to the innovative approaches taken by so many brands, intimates is one of the bright spots within the U.S. apparel industry through the challenges of the pandemic,” Mick said.
The NPD Group is honoring Ariela & Associates LLC, the privately held intimates apparel manufacturer, for selling the number-one bra in the U.S. during 2020’s second quarter, a tank-style sports bra by Fruit of the Loom. Natori is recognized for having the number-one average selling designer bra in the U.S. — the Bliss Perfection underwire bra — for the 12-month period ending June 2020, while Wacoal was recognized for the best-seller sports bra in the U.S., during the same period.
“We’re extremely honored to receive this award,” said Miryha Fantegrossi, Wacoal America’s vice president of merchandising and design. “We have had an extremely loyal following for this sports bra for years and when COVID-19 hit, we were fortunate that our customers told their friends and we saw sales soar. Sport as a category for Wacoal has outperformed our sales trends and we will continue to introduce new sports bras.”
True & Co., which is owned by PVH Corp., had the best average dollar growth for a bra brand during the 12-month period ending June 2020. And ThirdLove is being honored as the number-one digital native brand among millennials in the U.S during the same time frame.
“We are so pleased to receive this award,” said Heidi Zak, cofounder and chief executive officer of ThirdLove. “It illustrates that ThirdLove’s focus on offering an expansive size range, showcasing women of all sizes, ethnicities and ages in our marketing and creating our online FitFinder — that has helped 17 million women find their bra size — has really resonated with our target audience. We promise to continue putting our customers first and pushing the intimates apparel industry to innovate.”
Viewers can go to curve-newyork.com to sign up for Curve Connect and watch the virtual event.