Ever thought about the science behind intimate apparel trends? I didn't until I was invited to attend A Comprehensive Taste of Interfilière Paris event in New York, earlier this month.*
There I got a preview of some high-tech raw materials -- before they're styled, sewn, and eventually sold as fashionable bras, swimwear, and shapewear. And I was surprised to learn how some intimate apparel trends get their start.
The intimate apparel and swimwear industry may be known for its exotic fashion shoots, slick ad campaigns, and flashy runway shows. But it all begins with the innovative and technologically advanced textile companies working to meet consumers' fashion and lifestyle needs.
The first ever Comprehensive Taste of Interfilière Paris (a sample of the much larger annual European event) was presented by trade fair organizer Eurovet in collaboration with INVISTA, makers of LYCRA®. The event brought together well-known lingerie names and designers with select textile mills from all over the world. Many of these mills have decades, if not over a century, of experience in the industry. Over 180 brands and retailers were represented at the show.
Here are a few intimate apparel trends that stood out for me:
High-tech solutions to everyday problems. LYCRA® has been busy surveying consumers about their swimwear habits. Turns out that many of us don't wash our suits right after wearing them. The result? Greater damage caused by excess exposure to sunscreen, chlorine, sweat, and heat. Their researchers came up with XtraLife LYCRA® to better protect against such destructive chemical and natural elements. And the less wear and tear to your bathing suit, the longer it fits and flatters you.
Other innovations include materials used in high performance athletic gear, to both extend the life of the product and to increase movement and comfort (LYCRA® Sport), and for greater fit and shaping in swimwear (LYCRA® Beauty).
More eco-friendly, seamless, breathable fabrics. New technological advances result in the creation of anti-bacterial textiles, lightweight organic blends and microfibers with fewer seams or visible edges. You could find yourself wearing a bra made from Be Be Cotton, milled from the seed of the cotton plant, which naturally retains less heat and feels cool next to the skin.
Be Be Cotton (Taiwan)
Big, bold, bright colors in new designs. Nowhere was this more evident than in the gorgeous samples of lace on view at the trade show. Multiple racks held hundreds of amazing color combinations in intricate and delicate patterns. Neon brights, mixed with geometric prints and designs, grabbed my attention. This modern take on lace means more options for both retailers and consumers.
Here are some of my favorites:
Tianhai Lace (China)
Protela (Colombia)Chanty Lace (Germany)
Blurred lines between lingerie, swimwear, shapewear, and activewear. Mills add various levels of shaping materials, such as LYCRA®, to create fabrics with different degrees of compression. These can be used to manufacture lingerie, shapewear, swimwear, or activewear. Such high-tech sculpting and stretch properties may be found in workout gear, swimwear, and even casual lounge wear. The possibilities are endless.
Liebaert (Belgium) swimwear fabric sample made with Lycra Beauty
Many fashion styles once worn only under our clothing, or for a specific purpose, can serve as trendy outerwear pieces. The latest fabric innovations simply make it easier to continue that trend. Plus they meet the needs of the busy, active consumer lifestyle -- whether at home, work, or play. That's not such a bad future, is it?
*This post was sponsored by INVISTA. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*
Which of these new intimate apparel trends do you like best? Which ones do you look forward to buying and wearing?
Featured image: Sample from Bischoff Textil