All posts by admin

Robot Takeover of Apparel Production
by Susanna Koelblin

First large scale shoe robot factory unveiled: Adidas will use machines in Germany instead of humans in Asia to make shoes.

Adidas, the German maker of sportswear, has announced it will start marketing its first series of shoes manufactured by robots in Germany starting in 2017. More than 20 years after it ceased production activities in Germany and moved them to Asia, Adidas unveiled the group’s new prototype “Speedfactory” in Germany. As of this year, the factory will begin large-scale production. What’s more, Adidas will also open a second Speedfactory in the U.S. in 2017, followed by more in Western Europe. According to the company, the German and American plants will, in the “mid-term,” each scale up to producing half a million pairs of shoes per year.

Does this pose a threat to Adidas’s traditional manufacturing base in China, Indonesia and Vietnam? After all, labor in the region is becoming less cheap these days, and manufacturers are increasingly turning to robots. The current model in the apparel industry is very much based on sourcing products from countries where consumers are typically not based. In the longer term, Adidas could even produce the shirts of Germany’s national football team in its home country. The shoes made in Germany would sell at a similar price to those produced in Asia, where Adidas employs around one million workers. Arch-rival Nike is also developing its robot-operated factory.

This development in the shoe area is just the beginning and will be leveraged to the apparel industry as well.

Adidas recently unveiled the first silhouette produced by its Speedfactory facility, the Futurecraft M.F.G. (or Made for Germany)

Put aside for a moment how moving jobs back to a country with high costs gives companies an incentive to automate. There’s a bigger issue: After displacing western manufacturing workers, robots are poised to do the same in developing economies. It will be hard to re-shore jobs that no longer exist. It took 50 years for the world
to install the first million industrial robots. The next million will take only eight years. Importantly, much of the recent growth happened particularly in China, which has an aging population and where wages have risen…

Access the complete version of this article and much more when you subscribe to the Intimate Apparel Journal, your go-to source for the latest in intimate apparel fashion design, engineering and construction methods.

Subscribe Now!

AW 2018/2019 Preview of Lingerie Trends and Direction by Simone Gerschitzka

The beginning of the season, AW 2018/2019, is about to start in our creative heads so I’d like to share a few thoughts and findings with you. Most important, before any lifestyle trend or fabric innovation, all of us in charge should carefully check our collections and items already out there on the shop floor; what is the best-selling item and why, what needs an update, what needs to be cancelled, and so on. This way, you reach the best financial and environmental result for both your business and customer, who will more than appreciate your approach. So let’s have a closer look.

Before “paddling” into creating AW 18/19 please examine your existing collections.

Then define precisely the new strategy and have a good look at the AW 18/19 lingerie trends. “Reflect contemporary femininity” could describe best which trend lies ahead.

Suggested key styles:

  • Underwire styles with versatile strap details, optional strapless bras — both lightly padded or even non padded, depending on your market
  • Soft cup bralet, fashionable light as well as functional for larger sizes
  • Light weight camisoles, also to be worn as outerwear
  • High waist briefs are a must
  • Low waist briefs or hipster styles and thongs
  • Sports bralets and sports underwire bras, also sports briefs • Shaper camisoles and shaper briefs

The main focus lies in two areas:

  • “light easy to wear every day luxury,” which is meant to be worn from morning till end of the day
  • “athleisure,” low & high impact sport like walking, yoga, tennis, running, etc.

Key fabrications and features:

Fine Chantilly look like stretch laces, splitable galloon laces, cotton look & feel embroideries, pre-cut panels with either bonded edges or freecut, microfibers,
dull, shiny, or semi matte, all over flock prints, velvets, silky knits, feel good qualities incorporating bamboo & aloe vera, textured surfaces, pikee looks, burnouts, lightweight stretch silk blends, jacquards, flexible hardware such as flexy rings and slides, laser cut motives & details, high tech cottons, cotton nets, wide rustic looking bands for waists, shoulder straps and detailing.

Apart from the whole sport movement category, I would like to mention that post- surgery shapewear is a huge separate category, which is becoming very important, very fast. Certain well-known fabric producers cater to this specialized area…

Access the complete version of this article and much more when you subscribe to the Intimate Apparel Journal, your go-to source for the latest in intimate apparel fashion design, engineering and construction methods.

Subscribe Now!

SOFT BRA DEVELOPMENTS by David Morris

SOFT BRAS (WITHOUT WIRES) OR ‘FLAT BRAS’ HAVE HAD LIMITED SALES BUT THERE IS A SWELL OF OPINION THAT THEIR TIME IS RETURNING

SOFT CUP

A practical design that does not use underwire for support. Traditionally regarded
as offering less support than underwire models, soft-cup bras now offer competitive support and shaping. This is accomplished by using crisscross frames, inner undercup slings that rise no more than half the height of the cup itself and padding or lining the bra cup with 2-ply, molded, lined, or seamed material.

‘Show your cleavage on Instagram and it makes you look sad – as if you’re trying too hard,’ says my daughter Ruby 16. It’s a revelation to anyone who has put up and shut up with under-wired armpit jabbers for so many years.

Retail analysts NPD back this up, reporting that sales of traditional bras are down 19 per cent as more women choose sports bras for ‘comfort and ease of movement’…

Access the complete version of this article and much more when you subscribe to the Intimate Apparel Journal, your go-to source for the latest in intimate apparel fashion design, engineering and construction methods.

Subscribe Now!

Gossard Wonderbra

by David Morris

“WONDERBRA – PUSH UP PLUNGE BRA”

Invented in 1963 by Canadian designer, Louise Poirier. According to Wonderbra USA “this unique garment, the forerunner of today’s Wonderbra push-up bra had 54 design elements that lifted and supported the bust to create dramatic cleavage. Its precision engineering involved three-part cup construction, precision-angled back and underwire cups, removable pads called cookies, gate back back design for support, and rigid straps.”

When David Morris joined Gossard UK in 1971, the Gossard brand was owned by Courtaulds. Gossard had recently bought the Wonderbra license from Canadian Lady and David was one of the team that adapted the bras t for the UK market.

When Gossard released the Wonderbra in the UK in the autumn of 1971 its sales were astonishing, at a sales price of £3.17s.6d in old currency it represented 15% of most professional women’s weekly salary, despite this Gossard struggled to keep pace with the orders…

Access the complete version of this article and much more when you subscribe to the Intimate Apparel Journal, your go-to source for the latest in intimate apparel fashion design, engineering and construction methods.

Subscribe Now!

 

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

by Andrew Sia

Every irrational promise that Donald Trump made during his presidential campaign was revealed to the world, and his retreat from the Paris Climate Agreement is just one of many. This move came a few days after a tense G-7 summit in Italy that ended with President Trump at loggerheads with other leaders on both the agreement and on trade, which brought great frustration to Germany, France and Italy, who vowed that the decision by the U.S. could not be reversed.

On June 1st, President Trump went ahead and withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, joining only two other nations, Nicaragua and Syria.

Climate change is real, yet this is at odds with the Trump administration. Jeffrey Immelt from General Electric, who is close to the White House, is using this to argue for policies to combat global warming. The other members of the council are:

Elon Musk from Tesla Doug McMillon of Walmart Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo Laurence Fink of BlackRock

We are starting to see them resign from the council one by one.

Companies like Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Campbell Soup and hundreds of businesses, have all addressed the effects of climate change. Sticking with the Paris Climate Agreement and its commitment to reduce carbon emissions is the only way to go.

Under Obama’s administration, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan was signed. Companies went further to fight climate change as it was the only way to preserve the future of the companies, customers, consumers and the world. To remain in the Paris Agreement and follow low-carbon policies and invest in a low-carbon economy is important, especially for those companies that have strong consumer brands.

This has led China and the EU to forge a green alliance to combat climate change. A summit of EU leaders and the Chinese’s premier, Li Keqiang has already taken place. Not only will the two sides work closely but they also agreed to help the world’s poorest countries to develop green economies.

The White House is divided on this matter but that is no longer a concern of the EU and China, as they’ve decided to proceed without the U.S.

147 nations have ratified the deal, but the departure of the U.S. may weaken the agreement, for example, Russia and India would have their own considerations now. With the U.S. out, Saudi Arabia, with its fossil fuel economy had been reluctant to sign the Paris Accord, and now would take this as a godsend, and quit as well…

Access the complete version of this article and much more when you subscribe to the Intimate Apparel Journal, your go-to source for the latest in intimate apparel fashion design, engineering and construction methods.

Subscribe Now!

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH: THE METEORIC RISE OF ALIBABA

By Terri Fisher

The name’s Ma, Jack Ma. And in case you haven’t heard, his conglomeration of successful internet-based ventures has now amassed a net worth topping 286 billion U.S. dollars! Ma is the Chinese business magnate who is the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, one of China’s largest internet companies and its largest online shopping website.

And while the biography of this man and his accomplishments, and well, global domination is indeed riveting, the true essence of the story may lie in Ma himself and his simple vision that one day people will remember him above all else as a “Tai Chi master” – or that during the initial public offering of his company on the NY Stock Exchange, instead of the usual executive-laden contingent of triumphant bell ringers, Ma brought a group of ordinary, everyday customers from China – or, the fact that his inspiration lies in the beloved character of Forest Gump – or, for the creed he has solemnly pledged that Alibaba would always stay true to its core principle of “putting customers before shareholders” – or that, while no longer the CEO, he continues to be revered as the “Spiritual Leader” of Alibaba.

Jack Ma was born on September 10, 1964 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. After being introduced to the English language at an early age, he practiced it daily by conversing with English-speakers at the Hangzhou Hotel, a 40-minute bike ride from his home. The young Ma would give them tours around the city for free to improve his English. He did this for nine years but then struggled to attend college. The Chinese entrance exams are held only once a year and it took Ma four years to pass. After that, he attended Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute, currently known as Hangzhou Normal University, as head of the student council, and proudly graduated in 1988 with a B.A. in English. Ma met his wife, Zhang Ying there and they married shortly after graduating. Both began working as teachers. He later enrolled at the Beijing- based Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) and graduated in 2006.

In the manner of many struggling prodigies, the early part of Jack Ma’s career was marked by rejection. He applied for 30 different jobs and got rejected by all, including Kentucky Fried Chicken. In early 1995, he went to the U.S. and with his friends’ help he got introduced to the INTERNET — and everything changed! A void of useful information about China led Ma, his wife and a friend to launch their first business, creating websites for companies. Within three years, his company, named “China Yellow Pages,” had made 5,000,000 Chinese Yuan, equivalent to $800,000 USD. All this, even though he never actually acquired a computer of his own until the age of 33!

And so it was Jack Ma’s English-speaking abilities that allowed him, a Chinese citizen, to visit the U.S., discover the power and potential of e-commerce, and to bring that germ of an idea back to China: a virgin land ripe for the advantages that internet- based commerce could provide. Ma returned to Hangzhou in 1999 and, in his apartment with a group of 18 friends, founded ALIBABA, a China-based business-to- business marketplace site…

Access the complete version of this article and much more when you subscribe to the Intimate Apparel Journal, your go-to source for the latest in intimate apparel fashion design, engineering and construction methods.

Subscribe Now!

THE NEW FRONTIER OF INTIMATE APPAREL: THE ATHLEISURE BRANDS – PART 2

by Andrew Sia

In our last issue I wrote that athleisure is the only business to see growth in the garment industry. Then I heard talk of athleisure’s impending death. I believe athleisure is entering into a new phase and those that survive the serious competition will be part of a strong area that we haven’t seen in a long time.

This category is not just a trend but is becoming a lifestyle choice favored by people who believe in health, wellness and fitness. Athleisure offers a lifestyle with comfort and performance at all times.

The global footwear market is worth $1.7 trillion and the global sportswear market is $282 billion. For sportswear, one in every six dollars is spent globally on apparel and footwear combined. This is the business we should go for, especially since it’s within our production capabilities.

India is growing at 22% with China at 12%. These two are the most populous countries and together they account for 35% of the world’s total population.

Athleisure is certainly the influencer. We already know that the denim business has lost ground to athleisure. Stretch denim has been around for a long time, and is more effective performance-wise and highly regarded as the attire for workouts.

We are beginning to see non-sports brands and stores moving in the athleisure direction…

Access the complete version of this article and much more when you subscribe to the Intimate Apparel Journal, your go-to source for the latest in intimate apparel fashion design, engineering and construction methods.

Subscribe Now!

Introducing Margot Van Huijkelom, Fashion-Illustrator and Designer

by Andrew Sia

Dutch-born artist Margot van Huijkelom spent her childhood painting as much as
she could. At the age of 18, she was admitted to the prestigious academy of Arts “ArtEZ” in Arnhem where she studied fashion design and fashion-illustration. In 1989, Margot graduated with a master’s degree.

Having studied alongside other fashion greats (like Viktor&Rolf), Margot left Holland for France to discover the world of Parisian elegance. Combining her skills in design and illustration, she did freelance work in order to have more flexibility.

Soon she was connected with a Japanese company and was the only non-Japanese person on the team. For 15 years, Margot worked together with a Japanese photographer to create the images for this brand. Her work process consisted of meetings in Japan, then taking her ideas to the rest of the world for casting, photo shoots, and building sets. She would go from a castle in France to a glacier in Iceland to a coffee plantation in Hawaii.

She then made the move to Vogue Japan, where she illustrated for their monthly beauty issue for four years. She still does some work for them, but on a more occasional basis.

Margot’s work remains very diverse and one project leads to the next. For instance, the 2013 key visual for the campaign for the Escada perfume “Cherry in the Air,” along with many other projects…

Access the complete version of this article and much more when you subscribe to the Intimate Apparel Journal, your go-to source for the latest in intimate apparel fashion design, engineering and construction methods.

Subscribe Now!

European Lingerie History, Part 3

by Simone Gerschitzka

My “View” is different this time, as I work a lot outside my office. You can still see snow on the mountains here in the South of Switzerland. It’s nice and warm though, and as we are very close to Milan, I’m sure I will seek out the latest spring fashion trends any time now.

Continuing our European Lingerie History with Part 3, I would like to present the following brands: La Perla from Italy; Susa, Felina and Naturana from Germany; and the Chantelle Group, Simone Pérèle and Eres from France.

Nowadays, the Chantelle Group is probably the biggest in terms of number of labels. It houses Chantal Thomass, Passionata, Darjeeling, Femilet, Livera and Orcanta, serving a very broad range of different end consumers, from highest luxury looks to everyday collections.

La Perla became part of Pacific Global Management, which allows the fabulous brand to spread its wings again all over the world, with the anticipated opening of even more luxury boutiques, attracting consumers to explore their very directional and innovative pieces.

All the brands mentioned in this article play an essential part in forming the industry in its early beginnings, between the 1880s and 1950s, building on tradition, craft and the sheer necessity to survive as well as using the opportunity of a newly gained free spirit after the wars, enabling people to work on their ideas, laying the company foundations and believing in their dreams…

Access the complete version of this article and much more when you subscribe to the Intimate Apparel Journal, your go-to source for the latest in intimate apparel fashion design, engineering and construction methods.

Subscribe Now!