Hanes undies gets a colorful redesign to win over Gen Z

April 23, 2023 written by

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Hanes is known for its classic whites. Can its colorful new Hanes Originals line sell the brand to a new generation?

For more than a century, Hanes has supplied Americans with reliable—albeit, slightly boring—underwear. But as Gen Z starts to buy their own bralettes and briefs in the aisles of Target and Walmart, Hanes is shaking things up in an effort to woo them.

Hanes launched its most colorful collection of underwear, socks, and basics since it was founded in 1901. Called Hanes Originals, the line will feature saturated fuchsias, reds, and oranges, along with bold patterns like leopard prints, florals, and camouflage. The brand is also updating the style of its underwear, based on the tastes of Gen Z, creating pieces like bike shorts and shorter boxer briefs. The collection reveals the growing buying power of Gen Z and what it will take for heritage brands to appeal to this generation.

Today’s teens and twentysomethings have a lot of choice when it comes to underwear. Brands like Aerie and Victoria’s Secret Pink are still dominant at the mall, but there’s also been a wave of digitally native startups vying for their attention, from Lively to Knix to Harper Wilde. But most Americans still buy their underwear at big-box stores.

Hanes reigns supreme thanks, in part, to its low, price points. (Underwear starts at $5, and bras start at $10.) Over the decades, Hanes has secured the largest market share in the U.S. through its distribution at Target, Walmart, and Kohl’s, on Amazon and a growing direct-to-consumer business through its own website.

As Hanes analysed its customer data, it found that the majority of its customers were older and were more traditional in their tastes when it came to underwear—meaning they like their panties and briefs in plain white. Hanes had occasionally done prints before, but they tended to be nondescript and in muted colors. The brand was missing an opportunity to win over Gen Z, which is currently between the ages of 11 and 26.

Among those living at home, they have a lot of influence over family household purchasing decisions. And those who live on their own have less purchasing power than baby boomers did in their 20s, suggesting that they might be amenable to buying inexpensive undies.
Newman and her team were tasked with giving Hanes a look that would appeal to teens and twentysomethings.
The team explored color and fashion trends on the market. They ultimately created a collection of underwear that is meant to be seen. There are tank bras the come in psychedelic ’70s swirls of orange and pink, and retro flower prints. You could imagine them worn as a crop top with shorts on a hot summer day. Some boxer shorts have neon-colored bands, designed to show with low-rise jeans. Throughout, the Hanes brand name is emblazoned on the bands of boxers and bras in large print. The goal is to make the Hanes label a hip, fashion-forward brand in its own right, which is an ambitious goal for a staid, century-old brand.

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