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Maidenform Taps into Activewear Market with New Sports Bras

Maidenform is dabbling into workout apparel with a new collection.

The intimate apparel brand debuted its first-ever sports bra collection, Maidenform Sport, which is now available in-store and online at Kohl’s.

“We are excited about our Sport collection, which will bring the same flattering shaping, fit and support that our loyal customers have relied on for years,” Maidenform VP and general manager Vicki Seawright said. “We want to ensure that each woman has the support she needs for her on-the-go and active lifestyle.”

Four performance bras, a one-size-fits all microfiber thong and bikini silhouettes complete the versatile line and feature nanotechnology capabilities. The collection is available in many colors and patterns to coordinate pieces.

Sports bra styles include the Sport Convertible Wirefree, the Sport Secure Zip Front Underwire Racerback, the Sport Ultimate Underwire Bra and the Sport Custom Lift Underwire Bra. Similar to Maidenform’s signature shaping bras, the Sport styles contain fully adjustable straps, double lined wings and Secure Zip closures for various athletic activities. Performance features include moisture wicking technology to keep the body cool and motion control to enhance support. The Sports styles are available from sizes 34A to 38DD.

Maidenform’s activewear debut isn’t an isolated incident. In the past two years, intimate apparel companies have offered sports bras in their product lineups, due to consumers favoring athleisure clothing over dressier garments. Market Realist data said Nike and Under Armour are the top retailers in the U.S. activewear space, with Maidenform’s conglomerate, Hanesbrands (HBI) in third place. In fiscal 2015, Nike made $4.4 billion in North American apparel sales, meanwhile Under Armour reported $2.8 billion in global apparel sales. HanesBrands also brought in $1.6 billion in activewear sales in fiscal year 2015.

Wellness remains an important factor in shoppers’ wardrobes as well. Millennials, a major consumer demographic on the industry’s radar, are shaking up the way women shop for bras. In an NPD Group Study, 41 percent of millennial women reported wearing a sports bra in seven days, meanwhile only 21 percent of non-Millennial women said the same.

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“The comfort and wearability of the athleisure apparel trend, that is embedded in the Millennial style vocabulary, will compel them to seek the same type of comfort and ease of movement throughout their bra journey; this ultimately drives them toward different shopping behaviors than those of Boomers and older generations,” NPD Group chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen said. “Innovation and targeted variety in product, promotion, and placement will continue to serve the bra industry well as they navigate this new journey with a diverse consumer base.”