Interfilière finds by Jos Berry #1
The underwear market is booming in diverse ideas and possibilities. A blessing in disguise for an industry that was, pre-pandemic, ruled by big production volumes and sliding prices of commercial basics. Post-pandemic, the consumer-centric market demands a different approach. Women in all developed markets demand ‘wellbeing’, not just the holistic wellness feeling, but a sense of having made the right choice. The pandemic has forced most of us to find strength in simple and sensorial pleasures. Consumers gravitate towards diversity in mood-boosting products and experiences.
The cultural shift around new feminism and body positivity movements saw companies such as Savage X Fenty – the underwear brand founded by singer Rihanna – grow in popularity. So did Skims, the smoothing lifestyle bodywear brand by Kim Kardashian-West. More women also choose to buy comfortable, ‘athleisure’ inspired underwear. What seemed to be a total shift towards easy comfort wear during lockdown, developed as the pandemic evolved in a diversified enthusiasm for underwear outperforming other clothing categories. Worldwide, social media platforms gave women a voice. Even in China, pre-pandemic conservative corsetry brands saw activist brands like Neiwai promoting durability and crossover concepts, and Nubra developing as market leaders with their anti-wire comfort messages, women friendly marketing and planet-centric discussions.
The consumer-centric market is often driven by the fight for equality; outspoken feminist movements and LGBTQIA+ activists. Gender neutral collections are born, and have forced even lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret to call for a ‘dramatic shift’, replacing Angels as its ‘face’ with a collective of collaborations and a cancellation of its famous fashion show. Sensuality centres on personal wellbeing, which is illustrated by the weekly podcast Half Naked by actress Christine Evangelista: ‘everybody wears underwear, let’s talk about it’.
Where other than at Interfilière with its iconic Forum, talks, exchanges and upcoming technologies is the the most tangible orientation of this cultural shift? It is almost a social and sustainable community centre, a touchstone for innovation and choices to make.
In a series of blogs in the coming months, Interfilière will discuss the new offer on the September fair in the context of this cultural shift.