Skip to main content

Performance and Sustainable Materials Stand out for Intimates

Following the path of the apparel market, the intimates market is turning to sustainable fibers and fabrics to tell a better brand story.

Lingerie and underwear suppliers are also taking a cue from activewear by using technical innovations and blends to enhance performance characteristics.

Eurojersey’s Sensitive Fabrics collection for Spring 2020 centers on technical performance, expressed in two themes focused on the Ecoprint and Digital Printing processes.

The collections features lingerie fabrics that follow the movements of the body in a bold color palette interpreted by prints in transparent and glittering effects, with gold and metallic finishes mixed with yarn-dyed accents.

Ecoprint technology patented by Eurojersey is able to reproduce tone-on-tone and contrasting effects on the smooth surface of the Sensitive Fabrics group thanks to the use of lacquers, color and metal pigments that create transparent and luminous contrasts. The fabrics have a soft hand and are resistant to rubbing and washing, whether the garment is hand-washed, machine-washed or dry-cleaned. They also have a low environmental impact thanks to the elimination of some steps in the manufacturing cycle, with a consequent saving of water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions ranging from 40 percent to 60 percent.

The company’s 3D Print technology features digital printing to create designs and materials that are textural and “endowed with realistic three-dimensional effects.” With this printing technology, colors and graphic designs benefit from the ability to create high-resolution motifs on the Sensitive Fabrics collection.

At Lenzing, Malvina Hoxha, manager of textiles for the North American knit market, said there’s a focus on eco-friendly and sustainability in fibers and fabrics, as well as comfort and softness and a shift toward function and performance attributes in intimate apparel.

Related Stories

In the more commodity-oriented underwear sector, there’s a movement from basic viscose to Lenzing Ecovero viscose “to upgrade programs and provide customers with additional value and newness,” Hoxha said.

Derived from certified renewable wood sources using an eco-responsible production process, she said, “Lenzing Ecovero fibers offer brands a sustainable fabric option and traceability of fiber and fabric all the way to final garment.”

Lenzing provides customized hangtags and additional marketing materials for brands and retailers to help tell the story behind the material. Storytelling, Hoxha said, has become even more important for smaller, e-commerce brands.

Ecovero has qualified for the EU Eco Care label given the fibers are made with 50 percent less water and 50 percent less CO2 emissions than that of generic viscose on the market.

Lenzing’s Tencel modal and Tencel lyocell have also seen increased uptake in the intimates market.

“We see a shift of comfort softness and function also being a driver with intimates brands,” Hoxha said. “Tencel modal is still a core fiber providing softness and sustainability to core knits, as well as sleepwear programs. However, we are also seeing blends of Tencel modal and lyocell fabrics coming into the market. The reason for this shift is due to the drive for functionality and performance attributes that consumers are demanding.”

Synonymous with all things innerwear, Jockey recently released Jockey Signature, a new line of premium underwear and tops. Launched exclusively at Dillard’s and available on the Jockey website, the iconic underwear and apparel brand has looked to elevate the underwear and tops market with high-end, sustainable fabrics and refined designs.

Jockey incorporates Tencel modal  and Tencel lyocell fibers into its premium offerings, and the company noted that these fibers provide many attributes, including enhanced breathability, long-lasting softness, color retention and strength.

Key offerings feature Tencel’s cotton modal stretch, a blend of cotton with the softness of modal for nonrestrictive comfort and ease of movement, and Modal ComfortPro, an ultrasoft, lightwiehgt modal and lyocell blend upgraded with Cool Tech and odor-control technology.

Larrisa King, senior designer at Hanky Panky, looks to Lenzing’s Tencel fibers for many of the brand’s made in the USA lingerie and sleepwear, because, she said, “Today’s consumers are mindful of the environmental challenges we are facing and expect companies and brands to be responsible in their approach to manufacturing.”

King said Tencel Intimate cellulosic fibers offer Hanky Panky a sustainable option that is not only ethically sourced from wood, but also enhances the end product with its premium properties.

“Your lingerie should be an extension of your body, so it’s very important that the fabrics we use have a soft, luxurious feel against your skin, and Tencel branded modal fibers gives our products those qualities.”

At the Salon International de la Lingerie and Interfiliere trade shows in Paris last month, innovation, sustainability and blend emerged as elements, as well.

At Interfiliere, bodywear specialist Liebaert showcased the NXT.GEN range featuring several types of knits using recoNYLON, a recycled polyamide from Nurel that generates 53 percent of the carbon emissions of standard nylon 6. It’s created using nylon waste recovered from the spinning process and produced in a facility that uses only renewable energy.

NanoStitch fibers are another highlight of the collection. Circular knits made with NanoStitch using polyamide offer high elasticity when blended with elastane.

“We’re very proud of our EBC, or Electronic Beam Control, jacquards,” said Joan Bebronne, designer and creation manager. “These fabrics are exclusive to Liebaert. They offer a combination of different base structures and patterns in a variety of yarn types–dull or glossy, sheer or opaque, in tone-on-tone or contrasting color versions. Depending on the structure used, they are ideal for intimates or sportswear.”

Bowing at Salon International de la Lingerie is a new lingerie collaboration, Kana Matsunamis x Veronique Moriez. A collaborative effort between Japanese fashion and jewelry designer Kana Matsunami and Parisian Lingerie designer and colorist Véronique Moriez, the collection is described as the chic minimalism of Japan meets the expertise of French corsetry, forming “a refined and artistic lingerie collaboration with delicate materials full of character.”

The collection features chic lace from Sophie Hallette, fine mesh print from Rocle by Isabella, technical materials from MG Création and iridescent tulle from Komon Kobo. Colors are refined and subtle: For daytime, pale pink “amaranth” and pale violet points are mixed in one group, while ivory trim and a false white and gold mélange with iridescent threads made up a second selection.