Other emerging themes included hybrid designs, emotional connection, and storytelling as innovative indie brands gain traction.
This February 2-4, Curve New York returned to New York’s Javits Center, connecting 250+ lingerie, intimates, swim and sportswear brands with buyers, press and industry influencers. The 3-day show included a panel on best practices for creating sustainability across the supply chain; modernizing the customer experience for the digital age with Lynn Switonowski and lingerie as the ‘business of enjoyment’ with Jos Berry. We also explored trends and themes like body and size inclusivity, storytelling, and versatility. Finally, new shows-within-a-show at Curve New York this year included “Exposed” which was a curated selection of both veteran designers and emerging innovative brands, an Interfilière Lab which highlighted exciting innovations in sustainable materials, as well as the “Showroom” area ― an open, fixture-based format that goes beyond the traditional booth to showcase a selection of new designers and next-generation brands, many of whom exhibited for the first time.
Consistent with growing interest over the last few seasons, sustainability and the industry’s overall environmental impact were prime time topics at Curve New York, particularly as newer indie brands came into focus. Exhibiting brands are making a variety of changes in the manufacturing of their garments, including where fabrics are being sourced, reducing the amount of water they are using, producing locally, changing their packaging to have less or no plastic, creating their garments in safe working environments, and using recycled and eco-friendly goods.
Examples of brands leading the sustainability movement include Hanro, Calida, and Only Hearts. A few of the sustainable newcomers, who exhibited in Curve’s new “Exposed” section, included indie brand Mary Young, which uses a rayon from bamboo for their intimates line. She exhibited a two-toned, color-blocking collection at Curve this year. And K+1%, a new period-proof lingerie brand out of Tokyo, exhibited styles that allow women to feel sexy every week of the month while reducing her environmental impact.
On the second day, lingerie industry journalist and influencer, Kimmay Caldwell hosted a panel on best practices and first steps for brands wanting to address and lessen their environmental impact. Panelists included Bill Haddad (President, Montelle Intimates), Sonya Perkins (Owner, Forever Yours Lingerie), Susan Beischel (Founder, Skin), and Ericka Garcia (U.S. Marketing Manager, Lenzing Fibers / Tencel).
The panelists discussed everything from trade regulations to packaging. Sonya Perkins of Forever Yours, a Vancouver-based lingerie retailer with a focus on curvy women and larger cup sizes, encourages her brands to send product packaged “naked” ― meaning without individual plastic. She has even gone so far as to stop carrying brands based on their excessive packaging.
Susan Beischel of Skin, noted her brand’s commitment to using biodegradable plastics, such as those made from sugarcane. Bill Haddad of Montelle Intimates explained that while his brand is still in early stages of their environmental commitment, they have found that using less packaging has actually saved them money. “There are a lot of good options for sustainable packaging” he said.
Versatility, Feeling Good & Wearable Art
Pitch Off competition held on the first day of the event, showcased several new brands hitting the market, shedding light on emerging concepts and trends. The winner of the competition, Entos, showed off a versatile line of dynamic pieces that could be worn from the bedroom to the boardroom. Other themes and trends that came up included lingerie and undergarments as a daily mood-setter (Mary Young), soft bras for larger cups (Rossell London) and period-proof underwear that doesn’t compromise sexiness (K+1%). Empowerment and statement-making were the central tenets for young UK brand, The Underargument, while Liberté and Ulla focused on diversity and size inclusivity. Natalie Begg introduced her line of hand painted silk lingerie and kimonos in a display of wearable art.
On the third day, Jos Berry of Concepts Paris explored the future of the lingerie industry through the lens of enjoyment – from movement to nature to versatility. She highlighted trends for the upcoming season including colors, fabrics and comfort, especially the customer’s inner motivations that will inspire their sales.
And the theme of feeling good at Curve was present in Eurovet’s 2020 Designer of the Year winner, Eberjey. Since its launch in 1996, this American brand has cultivated a steadfast focus on comfort and the power of softness, self-care, and natural beauty.
Many of the brands exhibiting at Curve choose to work exclusively with fabrics, laces and embroidery mills who have demonstrated environmental commitments.
This week’s Curve New York was home to a capsule edition of its Interfilière fabric and sourcing show, Eurovet’s showcase of innovative mills. The mills who exhibited at the Interfilière Lab are committed to innovating new yarns and fabrics that are recycled, organic and/or biodegradable.
Given the need for stretchiness and mobility, recycled materials are still the top solution for fabric mills that rely on plastics, as well as durability. The latter is addressed in the context of long-lasting, multi-use pieces — even for intimate apparel.
Solstiss, a French lace manufacturer that supplies lace for designers like Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino and others, recently launched the first Leavers lace collection made from 100% organic cotton. For Solstiss, the decision to launch an organic cotton lace line was due to increased customer demand.
Other mills, such as Willy Hermann, are using a 100 per cent biodegradable polyamide. Sao Paulo mill, Rosset Group, uses a biodegradable material (Amni Soul Eco) for fitness and swimwear brands. Union AG is a leader embroidery, using 100 per cent recycled polyester yarn, as well as a more sustainable dying method, called cationic dying, which reduces water and energy usage.
“The main takeaway of this week’s Curve show is that sustainability and inclusivity are no longer just trends — they are requirements for brands to succeed in the inimates industry. It can’t all happen at once, however, and everyone is approaching sustainability in their own innovative ways. This goes for size inclusivity and versatility, as well. Ultimately, this industry is growing and will continue to grow as brands adopt fabrics and designs that are eco-friendly, durable, versatile and that feel good to wear from the inside out,” Raphael Camp, CEO of Eurovet Americas said.