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Heist’s New Figure-Enhancing Compression Short Takes Cues from the Sydney Olympics

Heist Studios, hoping to disrupt the shapewear sector, just unveiled a compression short that uses technology developed by its in-house innovation team Lab12.

Founded in 2015, the British startup raised $10 million–including from investor Natalie Massenet, founder of luxury fashion platform Net-a-Porter–to build Lab12, its in-house laboratory that matches the same level of physiological research and technological innovation typical of the sportswear category, but instead applies it to innerwear.

Lab12 takes an in-depth look at how people move and then adapts those learnings to the product line. The brand’s seamless tights feature an adaptive waistband and no visible gusset. The technology for the fabrication allows for a super stretchy fit to eliminate the sagging typical of worn-out pantyhose.

Its Nude Project earlier this year collaborated with 100,000 women to build a database that identifies 1,000 unique skin tones. Heist’s Lab12 engineers divided the results through a method called Euclidean clustering to ensure that its nude shades would encompass a more inclusive range of skin tones relative to what most brands offer.

Fiona Fairhurst, vice president of innovation, is the brainchild behind the biometric technology. She’s best known as the inventor of a full bodysuit swimwear called Fastskin that grabbed the spotlight during the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and used biometric technology to enhance performance. Worn by swimmers from more than 130 countries during the games, 13 out of 15 world records were set by swimmers wearing the suit. She later was the leading clothing consultant for the U.K. Sport Innovation Team for Team Great Britain.

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As for the latest edition to its growing shapewear collection, Fairhurst said, “Having provided abdominal and waist shaping with The Outer Body and The High Waist, the next step was to launch The Highlight Short, a product designed to enhance the lower body.”

She said the new short uses a lightweight, second-skin fabric that’s less than half the weight of those used by competitors. The technology includes the brand’s HeroPanels, designed to provide strong, even compression where its needed for a smoother silhouette. The HeroPanels use the same biometric sharkskin technology featured in Fastskin.

For the short, the compression targets the posterior, thighs and hips. The HeroPanels also wrap around the lower stomach for a flatter look and feel. The company said the HeroPanels put comfort first, with enhancements from 20,000 laser perforations to allow for breathability. No-slip internal grippers prevent roll-downs and seamless free-cut edges offer an invisible fit underneath figure-hugging outfits.

Fairhurst said, “We worked with over 50 women across sizes, shapes and ages to conduct fit, test and trial sessions with this revolutionary product—and their feedback was crucial to the development process.”

The short sells for $90 and is available in black, beige and brown colorways, from sizes XS through XL.