New and Different Fashion Legwear Lures Consumers
By Charlene Nelson
As hosiery for
Spring and Summer 2004 hits the shelves, it’s obvious that designers have
in pointed what consumers want: products that offer fashion but at the
same time are different, comfortable and make their bodies look better.
“One thing we are very clear about is that consumers want
something that is interesting and unique,” says Jody
Eskenazi, senior marketing director for Kayser-Roth Corporation. “And,
comfort is very important to women these days. Every time we do a focus
group, comfort comes up consistently as a priority.”
Adds Kim Smith of Acme-McCrary Corporation: “Our
biggest opportunity is creating products that are different, new and
Consumers have come to expect fashion from American
legwear designers and now they want more – fashion plus comfort plus
newness. And, as sheer manufacturers have grappled to stop the decline in
sheers during the past years, they have continually built into their
products value-added options such as shaper and massage characteristics
that consumers are consistently reaching for.
“What we are seeing for 2004 is that it isn’t as
much about fashion as it is about shaper products,” says Linda Measmer of
Wells Hosiery. “It seems that is what everyone wants.” When consumers shop
this season, they’ll find what they are looking for. American designers
have hit the nail on the head with their Spring/Summer offerings.
New and Interesting
Legwear has two new categories aimed at catching and keeping the
consumer’s attention this spring: ‘Keeping Feet Feeling Fabulous,’ and
‘Decorating Feet.’ The first focuses on the consumer’s desire for comfort
with foot tubes, liners and toe toppers that allow the wearer to have the
bare-leg look while at the same time keep their foot feeling good in
“If they want the bare-leg look, they can get it but
still have the comfort because going sockless can be very uncomfortable, “
says Eskenazi. “They also are fashionable because if you want to have the
accent color of the tube, liner or toe topper sticking out, you can.”
Wells Hosiery is making toe toppers in sheer
patterns and open weaves.
Brand new for HUE are two products especially
designed to pamper the foot: a gel insole that offers gentle massaging
action and keeps the foot cool in hot weather and HUE GELZ, a cushioning
gel pad designed to go under the toes.
HUE has been offering foot decorations for the past
couple years, but this season will be the first time, they have had a
category that calls out about decorating the foot, according to Eskenazi.
Beaded and crochet foot thongs and beaded, crochet
and shell ankle bracelets entice the consumer to decorate her feet for the
Also new for HUE are HUE Flips: flipflops with a
flare. These bright colored flipflops come with a removable grosgrain
ribbon that allows them to be worn as a traditional flip-flop or with the
ribbon tied around the ankle.
New in the sheer category are capri length trouser
socks that provide an alternative for women who want some leg coverage
with Capri pants. Both Acme-McCrary and Wells Hosiery are making these in
summer weaves and patterns.
Shaping characteristics are hot. And, consumers
won’t be disappointed this season. Wells Hosiery has introduced shapers in
tights, shapers in calf length and shapers in above the knee and trouser
socks. Consumers can also choose between a shaper that begins at the waist
or a high-waisted one that begins right below the bust.
“We have all the bases covered,” says Measmer. “You
can wear them under short skirts, calf length skirts and with pants and
dresses because of the lengths.”
Acme-McCrary recently launched a new shaper program
for Sears with an enhanced shaper.
Forget Fashion – NEVER
No matter what, consumers still expect their legwear
to provide a fashion element to their apparel, and Spring and Summer
offerings will provide plenty of fashion.
In the sheer category, fishnets continue to be a hot
item, according to Measmer. But, she’s not talking about just your
everyday basic fishnet. Fishnets for Spring and Summer pop with color.
And, the shelves will offer some twists on the basic fishnet pattern.
Pink is probably the hottest color for Spring 2004
in both clothing and accessories. In keeping with that, there will be all
shades of pink fishnets from light to bright.
are shipping a lot of bright colors in fishnets, and they are doing very
well, especially for the younger consumers,” says Measmer.
“We are doing bright green, hot pink, fuchsia, and
orange as well as light blue, light pink, a sand color and of course,
black and nude, which are still by far the best sellers.” Blue from
vintage to denim will sell well. Denim is still very hot as apparel
designers’ play with various shades and treatments.
Acme-McCrary designers have gone beyond fishnets
with net and open weave patterns that include diamonds and lacy patterns,
says Smith. They come in trouser length, capri length and in tights.
“They let some
of the skin tone come through so they lend themselves to spring and summer
climates,” says Smith. “A lot of women see these as more open and not so
Gold Toe’s Springtime in Savannah collection speaks
fashionable femininity with lightweight trouser socks in knee high and
anklet lengths in mesh, lace, stripes and dots. Colors are black, khaki,
vintage blue and beige. They come in trouser length, Capri length and in
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