The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the lives of consumers across the globe, impacting how people live, eat and dress. As more and more consumers spend most of their time at home, the interest in comfortable, versatile, and sustainable clothing has skyrocketed. In particular, consumer demand for quality loungewear, activewear, streetwear and sleepwear has increased as homes became a hybrid of the office, gym, and entertainment venues for most of 2020.
With more people working from home, the need for comfortable yet stylish clothing for work and play has led to a boom in the innerwear market. A recent report from Euromonitor estimated the global innerwear market to be worth $505 billion in 2019, with a compounded annual growth rate of 5.3 percent from 2018 to 2023. In comparison, demand for denim apparel and formal wear declined during the initial home quarantine period. According to market research from NPD Group, denim sales dropped by double digits from April to June 2020, compared to the same time frame in 2019. Conversely, the global sleepwear and loungewear market is predicted to increase by $19.5 billion from 2020 to 2024, according to Technavio.
Due to COVID-19, many retailers and brands have launched new collections of loungewear, sportswear and sleepwear with an elevated twist. Following some of the trends noted in recent fashion Spring 2021 shows, comfortable, cosy garments made from soft-touch fabrics are making a more frequent appearance in daywear staples. Wardrobe staples such as t-shirts, intimates, leggings and sweats are being given an overhaul, further blurring the line between inner and outerwear while connecting with the consumer's WFH lifestyle.
Since the quarantine, many consumers have switched to exercising at home, as wellness and fitness remain a priority. Consumers are looking for multi-functional garments, for example, a comfortable bra that can be worn for low-intensity workouts like pilates or yoga, work and sleeping in. According to EDITED, demand for sports bras and bralettes has outstripped that of the traditional push-up bra, with sales of the former two eclipsing push-ups by 382% and 162% respectively over the past three months in the US and UK combined.
Attributes associated with the word “comfort” (and the word itself) such as “seamless,” “wireless,” “stretch” and “soft” were included in the top ten performing lingerie styles in the US over the past three months, as women seek out intimates which make them feel comfortable, flexible and stronger. Superfine and lightweight fabrics offering a 'barely-there feeling', are in demand, although this does not signify an end to fun or flirty intimates. Similarly, "lace” and “padded” attributes are ranked as number one and six in the same EDITED report, suggesting there is still interest in pretty and feminine details. Women want intimates that make them feel sensual and powerful, underlining the need for versatility in the innerwear market.
With a renewed focus on climate change and the impact humans have on the planet, more consumers are becoming conscious of their spending choices, taking factors such as sustainability and longevity into consideration when making purchases. New innerwear garments should not only be comfortable and functional, but also be produced in an eco-friendly manner, using sustainable materials and design. Now is the ideal moment for retailers and brands gaining momentum in the innerwear market to examine their materials selection, production process and supply chains to win consumer trust and loyalty while safeguarding their brand for the future.
One brand which is currently experimenting with new fabrics and materials for an innovative range of innerwear is Studio Eva x Carola. Alongside leading sustainable fibre and textile manufacturer Lenzing, the design studio duo has developed a range of innerwear, sleepwear, and loungewear, including intimates, light weight sportswear, and leggings designed for versatility. Rather than creating garment designs from sketch, Eva x Carola developed an innovative technique where their designs result from machine and yarn selection using ground-breaking machinery and technologies from different industry partners such as Santoni Shanghai, Samil Spinning, Camangi Corporation and Filix Group. Known as the Versatility Collection, Lenzing and the design duo looked at various textiles and the feeling they can generate against human skin during various activities, whether sleeping, exercising, or working. The final collection that contains pieces such as a loungewear bra, moisture management base layer and corrective bodysuit is made from unique, multifunctional textiles woven with TENCEL™ branded modal and lyocell fibres. Offering an exquisitely smooth and silky touch against the skin, yarns made with TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal fibers provide less piling and result in a more compact fabric. Extremely flexible, the TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal fibres are produced by Lenzing’s environmentally responsible processes from the sustainably sourced natural raw material wood.
In the collection, TENCEL™ Modal fibres are renowned for its exceptional softness, while TENCEL™ Lyocell fibres offer great strength and gentleness on skin. Both fibres exhibit long-lasting qualities and are biodegradable and compostable under industrial, home, soil and marine conditions, meaning they can fully revert back to nature, making this collection sustainably driven as well. In particular, TENCEL™ Modal fibres also offer moisture management properties and can easily be blended with other fibres, like Supima cotton in the collection, highlighting the functional nature of this fibre.
By using innovative techniques and materials to create new, versatile garments that support consumers throughout the various tasks they conduct during the day, retailers and brands can continue to serve consumers shifting needs while producing their garments more sustainably.
To find out more about Lenzing, go to www.lenzing.com
Photo credits: the Studio Eva x Carola Collection