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Sorry, Victoria’s Secret! Comfortable Underwear Are The Hottest New Trend.

Founded in 1977, the American lingerie powerhouse Victoria’s Secret experienced remarkable growth, becoming the largest chain in the US during the 1990s, boasting 350 locations and impressive sales exceeding $1 billion. However, the 2008 launch of its first international stores marked the start of a decline, revealing that Victoria’s Secret’s glory days were fading. But what led to this downfall?

Enter the era of women’s empowerment. The days of glorifying an unrealistically perfect feminine image adorned in skimpy lingerie, thongs, and garter belts have waned. The tides have shifted, and today’s consumers prioritize functionality and comfort over fantasy.

As highlighted in a Crunchbase article, “The upcoming generation, Gen Z, values other qualities.”

People increasingly prioritize comfort. Everyday wear now includes athleisure staples like yoga pants and leggings. This transition from merely looking good to genuinely feeling good has created a market niche that not only venture capitalists but also the fashion industry have recognized and embraced. The moment has arrived for comfortable underwear to take center stage.

Undie Startups

Crunchbase data highlights a remarkable trend: VC-backed lingerie and underwear companies have achieved a record fundraising milestone of $457 million within the past year, marking the highest amount recorded in the last five years.

Among these enterprises, Parade has significantly distinguished itself by securing a substantial $20 million in venture capital from the esteemed investment firm Stripes.

Parade’s exceptional approach encompasses several pivotal elements that resonate strongly with the preferences of today’s Gen Z and millennial consumer base. Foremost among these notions is the emphasis on prioritizing comfortable underwear over merely pursuing a “sexy” appearance. However, this viewpoint does not negate the possibility of achieving both comfort and allure simultaneously. Parade strategically employs a well-conceived color palette that aids customers in discovering products that harmonize with their individual personalities. The days of being restricted to traditional black, red, or pink hues are over. For many, the sensation of comfort seamlessly intertwines with feelings of attractiveness.

CEO Cami Téllez of Parade eloquently asserts, “Sexiness isn’t one-dimensional — it’s a voice, it’s a feeling, it’s a technicolor mirror that reflects whoever is holding it.”

Parade’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility further sets them apart. The company tackles once-sensitive subjects like sexual education and reproductive rights with openness and engagement. During the checkout process, patrons have the privilege of designating 1% of their order to a nonprofit of their choice from Parade’s list of supported organizations. This transparent approach enables customers to directly observe the impact of their contribution. In terms of sustainability, Parade has committed to achieving carbon positivity by 2025. Their efforts encompass not only assisting customers in recycling their underwear but also integrating recycled materials into their manufacturing practices.

In an era defined by evolving values, Parade emerges as a compelling exemplar by aligning with the shifting preferences of discerning and socially-conscious consumers.

Underwear Vs. Outerwear

Underwear occupies a uniquely intimate space in our lives—a personal garment that, once discovered, becomes a steadfast choice. The moment we stumble upon a favored pair, we embark on a journey of replication: duplicates, multiples in identical shades, and a smattering of diverse options. Achieving the right fit can prove elusive, given our diverse body shapes. My loyalty to a particular boxer brand has remained steadfast for years, a testament to their superior fit compared to other contenders. I’ve honed in on my size, a constant in an ever-changing world, with the color or design becoming secondary considerations.

The digital realm has revolutionized our purchasing landscape, rendering it more seamless, expeditious, and economical. The convenience is magnified when dealing with compact and reasonably priced underwear items. Even if one errs on the size when ordering from a new vendor, the stakes aren’t exorbitant—returning them entails not just the ecological cost but also the precious investment of time. After all, comfort takes precedence over an impeccable fit, especially considering that most of us won’t be treated to a glimpse of our undergarments.

The onset of the pandemic prompted the shuttering of numerous brick-and-mortar stores. Opting for online purchases, particularly for underwear, has transformed from a choice into an inevitability. While some emerging underwear startups have intentions to establish physical retail spaces, the trajectory of this market segment will undoubtedly captivate our attention as these novel ventures navigate the years ahead.

Underwear Manufacturers

Underwear manufacturers, like Progarments, have experienced a significant surge in attention from startups amid the COVID-19 pandemic. With a larger portion of the population remaining indoors and relishing the comfort of their favorite underwear, loungewear, and pajamas, more entrepreneurs are directing their efforts toward fashion startups that cater to this lifestyle. While trends may evolve in the future, the prevailing sentiment for now is clear: cozy and comfortable undergarments are at the forefront of fashion’s current landscape!