Invista demonstrated the performance benefits of Lycra Beauty denim, a fabric engineered to effectively shape while preserving comfort and ease of motion, during a seminar at Kingpins (July 21-22). The panel was led by Jean Hegedus, Invista global business director for denim, with Panos Sofianos, creative director at Denim Valley by Royo, and Jack Mathews, director of sales and marketing at Artistic Denim Mills (ADM).
Hegedus explained that Invista developed Lycra Beauty after market research revealed that despite fit and comfort being the most important qualities to the female denim customer, there is a gap between customer expectations and their level of satisfaction. In response, Invista created a framework that measured ease of movement against shaping and tried to find a balance between them.
To test the denim, Invista created a wearforce tester, proprietary software that uses sensors to test how much force fabric placing on a moving body. Developers also used a body scanner to see how the garment was shaping the body. Invista was then able to create denim that has enough compression to shape, but not so much that it will restrict the wearer.
In a live presentation of the wearforce tester, a demonstrator wearing Lycra Beauty qualifying denim was outfitted with a sensor on her knee and asked to perform squats. The maximum force exerted was 162 grams. The demonstrator then changed into regular jeans and performed the same squats, which exerted over 220 grams of pressure on her body.
Sofianos pointed out the seriousness of this situation, mentioning the hospitalization of a woman in June, who had lost feeling in her legs after squatting in skinny jeans for a prolonged period.
Mathews predicts that the development of Lycra Beauty will create a separation in the market, as the benefits of performance fabrics are communicated, and customers opt for shaping denims designed for comfort. He pointed to the success of ADM’s premium brand DL1961, which was founded with a focus on creating a functional, performance jean. While most premium brands emphasize marketing, Mathews said that only secures sell-in for the brand but not the sell-through. DL1961 has established a loyal customer through its use of high-quality fabrics, including Lycra Beauty denims.
Mathews said, “I think what Invista is doing by applying some science, if you will, to what’s been largely a subjective arena, is great. And it just allows us to communicate the benefits of that premium product to the consumer. ”