In recent times, consumer studies have confirmed that men are looking for more from their innerwear and essential wear. Indian men are demanding more variety and design in their underwear drawer. The changing lifestyle has resulted in a demand for new underwear and loungewear categories such as performance innerwear and athleisure.
The larger cities are nearing saturation and the real evolution of the category will be in tier 2 and 3 cities. If the pricing of a brand is right and the product is innovative, then the consecutive adoption in tier 2 and 3 cities could potentially be faster than a metro city.
That is where the bulk of the market is but these cities or towns are extremely value-conscious and price sensitive. The mentality is changing as rising disposable income, awareness of global trends, the need for self-expression and aspiration to be noticed has made men more fashion conscious today. These markets, however, are fragmented and strategic distribution is the key to capture them.
To get the attention of this male consumer, everything from the product to its communication and packaging needs to engage the target audience in a way that is simplistic, impactful and provides a solution to a need. The sentiment of affordability and how the product can be an enabler in upgrading him is the biggest driving force.
Fashion has always been subjected to transition, but the pace and orchestration of its changes could be difficult to predict at times. The reasons that increase the rhythm of change could be economic growth, technological advances- that bring new and improved products to the market adhering to our current day requirements.
Some types of fashion merchandise are subjected to more rapid transitions. Men’s styles change more slowly than women’s. There are even fashion historians that have tracked the basic shapes of apparel and concluded that there are basic silhouettes that dominate apparel and in turn, last for a cycle of at least 100 years. But change is inevitable and always on the horizon!
For new fashion entrepreneurs, success depends upon the accuracy of the forecast of technology and trends and judging when and what degree an item consumers will adopt.
Below are the 5 key innovations in men’s innerwear space for 2020
1- High-quality materials and innovative fabrics, cotton replaced by sustainable fabrics like bamboo and MicroModal fabrics.
Fashion could be said to be synonymous with the materials and fabrics that are a part of its composition. Let’s take men’s underwear for instance. Have you ever purchased underwear simply because you loved the feel of the material? If so, then you are responding to the fabric and not the style. Today, most men are interested in feeling less restricted and lighter in weight. That is why fabrics like MicroModal and Bamboo are one of the innovations in this new year. With moisture-wicking properties and 100% naturally sourced, they are generally 3X softer than even cotton!
2- Underwear becoming fashionable over functional in terms of color trends, prints
Underwear purchase isn’t a nonchalant decision in any way, and in fact, might be the most important sartorial elegant choice a man makes any given day.
In the men’s underwear market today, the designer creating the style must consider what material to use that will be best suited for the particular silhouette and details of the design. So important is the material or fabric of men’s underwear that it can even inspire material selection by businesses that are considered appropriate and desirable for their target audience while stimulating their ideas to begin a new inspiration for this immense financially potential market segmentation.
Men’s underwear is rarely thought of as grounds for advanced design or innovation in terms of reinvention. But these days, there is more demand and supply in terms of the latest trends in colours, patterns, and prints!
That’s a prolonged way of illustrating the idea that if it seems the world is not looking for innovation in men’s underwear, one need just look to the outsized reaction every few decades or so when a new variation rolls out.
And it was in the quest to fill the often understated hunger for innovation in men’s undergarments, that new trends like narrowing of fabrics, different cuts to styles and even the factor of sustainability with technological advances in research have brought several enhanced products in the market.
Underwear has become more like an adventure experiential category that is marketed today combined with crucial factors of comfort and benefits.
For example, it can be said that the last big innovation in the field was somewhere between 25 and 30 years ago.
A fun trivia: It was John Varvatos, head of Calvin Klein’s menswear, who first came up with the idea of the boxer brief. Prior to that, the last great men’s undergarment innovation was the brief itself, invented in 1935 when it made its debut at a department store during a blizzard.
Performance underwear is on the rise- as active lifestyles catch on the need to tap into the verticals of cyclists, weight lifters, spokespeople, etc.
Innovation for men’s underwear today also brings to light the elimination of shifting, adjusting, rubbing and chafing. The designs are meant to stay cool on warm days and warm on cool days. This hugely benefits the vertical for sports enthusiasts, trekkers and cyclists, adventure enthusiasts and weightlifters or marathon runners, etc!
The fact that most men don’t consider the careful selection of underwear for purchase an important factor for personal comfort can somewhat be seen as a glaring testament to how lethargic the advances in the market have been in the past. But now, people aren’t just asking for better but also performance-centric pieces that are functional.
Cuts and fits, as men’s pants become low-rise, slimmer and tailored, underwear will follow suit
When we talk about cuttings and fittings or tailored pants for men, slowly this change can be seen even in the underwear segment. These days, underwear has also adapted a very fitting, shaped and low-rise style that lets a person wear the underwear as a style statement. Think different underwear brands that are casually given a bit of a peek-a-boo. Underwear will also follow suit to adapt as the garment below the altered pant styles and to enhance comfort and aesthetics.
Plus size underwear and shapewear for men
Conversations in this decade about body positivity and acceptance of different sizes have been a very vocal and advocated trend, thanks to social media. This has opened up opportunities for brands to design underwear and shapewear for men, a target audience that never had these options and size variations. Today, the door has been opened and men no longer have to settle for what is not tailored for them. There is a requirement and an available solution to that gap.
Hence, it appears that the men’s underwear is witnessing a revolution and an innovation that is on going to say the very least. Innovations in terms of fabrics, sustainability, cut and fits, design clarity and technological aids have been at the forefront of this market segment.
Innerwear is no longer just a basic need. It is a crafted experience for a holistic lifestyle. Earlier, it was mostly about basic shape enhancement for the human form as per global and popular standards of physique and human body forms. Innerwear is now about intimacy, security, and comfort. It has become an extension of a person’s personality.