Going natural and organic is an important statement for most consumers.
Be it food or clothing, people have started making wise choices regarding what they eat and what they wear. Traditionally, while choosing a product, customers paid close attention to details like colour, cost and brand. Today's conscious customer also considers the carbon footprints a product leaves, before they make a decision.
The substantial rise in consumer awareness has led manufacturers to come up with fabrics made from natural fibres like bamboo, jute, silk and cotton blends. Creating fabric from coffee is one of the recent additions to the list. Apart from using coffee fabric to produce regular shirts, trousers and activewear, manufacturers are also putting this innovation to use in shapewear. Even though coffee infused shapewear was in controversy following its claims of triggering weight reduction and cellulite breakdown, shapewear with coffee continues to steal the show over regular shapewear.
Weaving coffee fabric
The process of making coffee fabric remains similar to making bamboo fibre. Manufacturers of coffee infused fabric burn coffee beans to turn them into carbonised coffee. Later, coffee is extruded into an elastane blend. Coffee infused fabric is soft, light, flexible and breathable. Companies are making coffee infused shapewear containing vitamin E, coconut water, aloe vera, algae, retinol etc to increase the bodys metabolic rate, keep the wearer cool, eliminate odour and also to fight cellulite.
Lingerie companies in France, the United States of America and other countries are among leading brands producing coffee infused shapewear. However, it only takes the grounds from one cup of coffee to make enough material for a couple of T-shirts, so major coffee producing countries like Brazil, Vietnam and Indonesia do not stand to gain much in terms of increased sales.
Moreover, a Taiwanese fabric manufacturing company has come up with another innovative strategy to weave waste coffee grounds into fabric. These inventive techniques make it easier for countries to manufacture coffee infused garments without importing coffee from other countries. The waste coffee bean powder is interlaced into the fibre, which is then made into fabric and tailored into garments.
Apart from being efficient in energy consumption, the production method of coffee infused shapewear is eco-friendly, requires less resources for its making, does not require high temperature carbonisation for manufacturing and does not involve harmful materials that are generally present in the making of other fabric.
Coffee works its wonder
Various companies manufacturing coffee shapewear claim that it fights cellulite and firms the skin. Lingerie brand Simone Prle of France launched a shapewear range --- Top Model --- making the same claim. The brand is selling lingerie which has slimming agents. Coffee is the main player. To firm the skin, aloe vera, vitamin E and retinol are also included. The shapewear can be used for up to 100 washes and flattens the stomach and tones the hips as it lifts the buttocks. The slimming agents of the fabric are released when the fabric comes in contact with skin.
Nataliya Robinson of Nataliya Robinson Skin Clinic believes that use of coffee could improve circulation and wearing shapewear every day supports the connective tissue during exercise to encourage healing. Based on a similar rationale, brands are selling girdles, bras, leggings and shorts that work on the theory that coffee increases circulation and supports connective tissue to reduce cellulite. A more feasible claim by Virus, a company in the United States of America, suggests that the fabric, termed "coffee charcoal," has extensive insulating properties and wearing it can pump up skin surface temperature slightly.
Taking stock of markets
According to a report from Mcdowellnews.com, consumers purchased US$1.5 million worth of coffee infused shapewear before the claims were refuted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The commission filed complaints against two leading brands that claimed coffee infused shapewear can lead to weight loss. Wacoal America and Norm Thompson have agreed to pay US$ 230,000 and US$1.3 million respectively for misleading claims. The companies failed to show evidence against their weight loss theory. The companies also agreed to reimburse customers who have purchased coffee- laced shapewear and are dissatisfied with the garment which had been marked at a price of between US$ 44 and US$ 85.
In its marketing campaign, Wacoal promoted the dream that after using the product for a certain number of hours, some customers could see improvement in appearance and a reduction in thigh measurements. But the company had no substantial proof for this. Norm Thompson, on the other hand, promoted its coffee infused products as recommended by Dr Oz.
However, the acceptance of the fabric in certain markets can be easily reflected by the revenues generated by Taiwanese company Singtex, which makes fabric from coffee grounds. Singtex reported revenues of 342.5 million New Taiwanese dollars from the fabric in 2013.
The greener side
Coffee infused shapewear did receive scathing reviews for its bogus claims, but it has also found consumers who appreciate the overall function of the clothing and its natural and eco-friendly production. In spite of negative publicity it has garnered, coffee fabric continues to gain a loyal customer base. The bright spot in manufacturing such fabrics is that it is kinder to the environment, since it requires using coffee waste to cut out the smell of sweat. Is it any wonder then, that coffee infused blazers launched by apparel company Ministry of Supply, coffee fabric T-shirts, formal shirts, tank tops, activewear, socks, leggings and shorts are catching the imagination of consumers?
Researchers in developed countries such as the United States of America and European nations are working on developing coffee infused fabric further, although the fabric is not turning heads in developing nations as it was expected to.
An analysis of a handful of Indian e-commerce sites by Fibre2Fashion showed that this fabric was not easily available at least in the online apparel market. Nevertheless, coffee infused shapewear has hit headlines all over the world and is likely to yield positive results for other coffee apparel.
You could soon have your coffee and wear it, too.