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We are joined once again on the “TENCEL™ Insights” series by Judy Chen, Head of Global Business Development, Innerwear at Lenzing, to discuss the latest trends on innerwear and hear her practical tips for consumers and retail brands to get a step ahead. Previously Judy discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the innerwear segment with consumers spending more time at home during the pandemic.
Judy Chen, Head of Global Business Development, Innerwear at Lenzing
Q: What do you think the innerwear industry can do in order to meet the ever-changing consumer demand and stay ahead in the business?
Judy: It is important for companies to have an open mindset and always seek to understand and try to meet consumers’ needs. For instance, we found that consumers exhibit certain preferences in terms of innerwear based on their location. When looking at bras, Chinese consumers seem to prefer “creamy” fabrics (e.g. blending with high-ratio TENCEL™ branded modal fibers) while consumers from the US and EU prefer a more dry and cool feeling fabric (e.g. blending with TENCEL™ branded lyocell fibers).
In general, younger consumers may be attracted to more aesthetically pleasing designs such as those that feature lace and other details. They may also prioritize style over comfort. One of our main observations, however, is that simple, wireless and comfortable styles have been gaining popularity across different age groups. Without the bulky stitching, undesirable fabric lines disappear as the body moves. This allows for more comfort and is one of the main reasons why people favor wireless underwear. Super fine and light weight fabrics with a touch of softness that create a barely-there feel are in huge demand.
By knowing consumers’ preferences, brands can innovate new products and adjust their business plans accordingly to their target consumers.
In addition, while some consumers may focus more on fashion trends and overlook the quality of materials and production process. That being said, sustainability is definitely the new trend in the textile industry and brands should be prepared to broaden their product portfolio and enhancing the sustainability of their sourcing and production. It is important for them to own a space in the sustainability conversation and educate consumers on the need to evaluate products individually by reading product tags. The recent focus on climate change has already highlighted the need to further drive supply chain transparency and traceability. More than ever, consumers are seeking to be better informed and make more conscious purchases.
Q: What are the three key actions you would advise innerwear clothing brands to take to incorporate sustainability in their business/day-to-day activities?
Judy: Firstly, brands should start exploring the use of biodegradable materials in their products to achieve true sustainability in the textile industry. Consumers are now increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their purchases. Now is the perfect time for innerwear clothing brands to revisit their raw material selection, production process and supply chains. Secondly, brands should set up programs and initiatives to further encourage the recycling of old garments while educating consumers and driving behavioral change. Lastly, brands can double down on next-generation technologies such as textile bonding technology as a replacement for traditional stitching to achieve a more eco-friendly and simple circular production process.
Q: How do you incorporate sustainability in your day-to-day activities?
Judy: Like most people, I have been spending a lot of time at home which reduces the need to wash my clothes daily. This already helps reduce my water consumption and usage of chemicals, like washing detergent. When it comes to shopping, I normally prefer quality over quantity, and prefer products that are made of sustainable materials. I am also conscious of the amount of food I consume, always trying to avoid food waste. While everyone may have their own way of safeguarding the environment, in the long-term, I believe every small step can help make a big difference.