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Shapewear hold key to phenomenal growth in swim, sportswear
Mar '11
Innovations in shapewear and the application of 3D consumer shape data to swim and sportswear design, development and fit is the key to customer satisfaction, increased sales and diminished returns. This was the advice given to nearly 100 delegates at the ASBCI's recent swim and sportswear seminar, held in Hinckley Island Hotel, Hinckley, Leicestershire, on March 9th 2011, run in association with Lingerie Buyer magazine.

Ten eminent speakers from the swimwear, sports clothing, shapewear, trend forecasting, textile development and testing sectors took to the podium to share their expertise at the seminar entitled: 'Look good, feel good, smell good - Industry countdown to 2012'.

Speakers advised that in the run up to the Olympics 2012 the distinction between sports and leisure wear will continue to merge while advances in moisture management, anti-microbial finishes and lightweight laminate structures are revolutionising the design and performance of active sports apparel.

As Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry, ASBCI key events chairman Julie King, head of department fashion & textiles at De Montfort University chaired and opened the day's proceedings with an overview of the swimwear and sports clothing sectors. Quoting figures from Just-Style.com she showed that the global retail market for swim and beachwear is forecast to rise from US$12.88billion in 2006 to US$13.51bn by 2012 – equivalent to 0.8 per cent growth per annum; suggesting that the rapid growth of the 1990s is slowing down.

In comparison the UK sportswear market forecasts are more optimistic as the health conscious baby boomer generation drive the value of the sports clothing and footwear market up 13.8 per cent between 2009 and 2013 to £5.15bn (Source: Key Note June 2009).

She predicted that while sports brands will continue to dominate sales there is an increasingly strong market for retail own brands. She concluded: “Sportswear is now firmly established as leisurewear and consumers continue to buy trainers, loose tops and jogging pants as everyday wear.”

Absolutely agreed Ben Harris, senior UK sales manager, Mudpie, who in his trends' forecasting presentation 'From shell suit to body suit', showed how male and female active sportswear designs are as comfortable on the high street as they are on a beach or tennis court. He demonstrated how the creative trends forecasting process translates core inspirational themes into commercial sports, swim and fashion designs. Indeed the 2012 Olympics is currently inspiring street themed sportswear influenced by the creative arts, British heritage, Olympic imagery and multiculturalism.

Andrew Crawford, chief executive officer of 3D sizing and fit specialist Sizemic, demonstrated how 3D body shape data is being used to inform the design and pattern generation processes that make swim, sports and outerwear fit better. He explained: “Shape is more important than linear measurements when executing fit.”

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