The Curve NY Show for 2013 was a vast improvement over the 2012 show and was held from August 4-6th at the Javits North Convention Center. There were 282 brands being showcased at the show and this years show spotlighted 57 swimwear companies. I noticed men’s underwear and some sportswear areas that the Curve management wanted to build. Full figured fashions and shapewear were also strong at the show and I noticed a big increase in new or start-up companies. Many new companies have found the internet a good way to start their business. Retailing their products on the internet is a great way to test new styles, fabrications and retail prices.
Those that have had success on the net are now looking to broaden their distribution and were at the show to introduce their lines to the many specialty and department stores that attended the show. Almost fifty percent of the companies exhibiting at this show were international brands. Proexport Colombia, was set up to attract brands interested in the sourcing opportunities offered by Colombia through the free-trade agreement. We had an opportunity to work with and select one such company manufacturing in Columbia company for our Best of Show. A panel discussion was held to discuss “The benefits of carrying swim in your lingerie store” For many lingerie and foundations retailers adding swimwear becomes a natural fit and creates a new product line that should also increase store sales and customer traffic. The show also provided learning seminars including the popular Eveden Fit Seminar. To help exhibitors in “getting paper” at the show, incentive programs were offered for buyers to open new accounts and to place orders on site .
My History In The Industry
In the mid 1960’s I worked as a salesman in the New York area for a company that no longer exists, Lovable Bra. The word “brassiere” was gradually shortened to “bra” in the 1930s so most companies had the word bra in their names. Back then there were a number of leading bra companies including Warners,(the company that first introduced cup sizes) Maidenform, Exquisite Form, Playtex and others. It was the day of the circle stitched “Bullet” bra and Lovable was one of the leading companies then and probably best known for their $1 bras. I called on many specialty stores and serviced some department and chain stores. Our garments were either boxed for racks, which we provided or sold in boxes of 6 for the specialty operations or in some cases used on table bins. Yes there would be a pile of bras in a table bin and women would wade through the garments to pick out their $1 bras.
Later in my career I worked in the women’s apparel industry and was instrumental in introducing Women’s large sized sportswear to the market. I worked side by side with Perry Ellis, prior to his fame as a fashion designer, at Vera Sportswear. Vera was a wonderful artist who was famous for her gorgeous use of color and bold floral designs. The company was famous for their stitched crease pull on pants and their floral print blouses. I spent many years in the apparel business, so covering this show for me, was a journey into my past. Some of the people I met remembered Lovable and others were interested in the Women’s Sportswear business so I felt a bit nostalgic at this show.
Why We Didn’t Include Some Of The Major Manufacturers
Because security was high at this show many companies prohibited us from taking photos for publication or for inclusion in our video and we respected their wishes. Many garments were right off the design boards and in our internet world, styles could be copied in days after appearing on YouTube or in an article we might publish. As a result, we were unable to interview those companies or cover them for this article.
Other companies that are popular or well known were also too busy to talk to us and were swamped with buyers. You will see some of those brands, and images of their booths, in our videos and this article. Because this is a working show and orders needed to be generated, getting good press didn’t seem to be on their priority list. So our restrictions at this show actually helped us in narrowing down the companies we were going to visit. Our mission now was to discover some of the hidden gems at the show, and gems we found.
Garments For The Full Figured Woman
There were many companies now catering to the full figured woman. From beautiful and sexy lingerie to body shaping foundation garments it was obvious that this market is only getting bigger and bigger (no pun intended). As you can see in some of our photos, big can also mean sexy and we visited the Charlotte Lingerie booth at the show and met their beautiful model and sales manager, both flown in from Poland. We wanted to stay longer at this booth, but had to interview our picks for Best Of Show
Our Show Video
Our Selections for IMPress Magazine’s Best in Show
Rago Shapewear • T.C. Fine Intimates Wood Underwear • MOI nyc Now, our mission was not a simple one. Out of 282 exhibitors we had to select four companies for our Best of Show award. Not an easy task with such a vast array of manufacturers. We decided to concentrate on a few companies that we felt were leaders in their part of this business and some new companies that have used the internet to start their business. So with this in mind, we came up with two established manufacturers that met our criteria. The two companies we selected were TC Fine Intimates and Rago Shapewear (Foundations). Both companies have been providing shapewear and foundations for more then 60 years and they are as relevant today as they were when they first went into business.
Now we had to also find two companies that were recently established and did the bulk of their business on the internet.
After spending days looking through the Curve Exhibitor list we discovered a number of first time and new companies. We then visited each ones websites to see their lines, how they marketed their products and if they offered innovation and sound design. We narrowed this list down to Wood Underwear a company that manufactured men’s underwear and sleepwear and MOI nyc a company that introduced their first line of active sportswear and lingerie and manufacture their garments in Colombia, South America. People say that fashion follows a cycle, “what is new today becomes the classics of tomorrow”. at the show we found this true.
Rago is an award winning manufacturer because of their unique designs, use of the finest materials, superior workmanship and of course their perfect fit. I noticed many of Rago styles reminded me of my days at Lovable. They had waist cinchers, girdles, garter belts, padded garments, and many other items that have now become classics. They also offer many levels of shaping from light to extra firm and even soft control garments. You should visit their site and see their full line of shapewear products. Today what were the basics in the 60’s have now become quite stylish and very sexy. Back in the 60’s every woman wore some sort of foundation garment. Even petite woman wore a girdle to help support their frame and to give them the shape they wanted.
Today Rago will tell you that the same is true and their customers range from the petite figure to the full figured woman and one of their top markets is Japan. We had the pleasure of interviewing Rago’s CEO, Steve Chernoff. He explained that Rago has been in business for over 60 years and is a family owned. They began to manufacture in New York back then and stayed here all these years. Today the trend is to bring manufacturing back to this country, well Rago never deserted our country and all of their products are made right here in the USA. Being a domestic manufacturer enables them to control the quality of their products and enables them to design and implement new styles quickly. Attention to detail can be seen on their garments which are all cut and sewn, unlike some of the other body shaper garments that are produced on a circular knitting machine. Steve explained… “Cut and sewn garments will always fit better and easier to get on and off” You can see our full interview with Steve here.
TC Fine Intimates is a division of Cupid Intimates and offers their customers a very elegant and refined product line. They use premium fabrics, innovative features, extreme comfort and control in all of their garments and are a leader in their field. You will find them in the better or upscale specialty and department stores, but their prices are quite reasonable considering the quality and fit of their garments. Woman wear shapewear garments to smooth or transform their bodies. TC Fine Intimates offers a stylish and comfortable means to do so. Made with flexible fabrics that conform to the wearer’s body, their garments are lightweight and easy to put on and take off. Something I discovered is not easy to do with some of the budget brands.
There website and blog is simply spectacular and features their full line of products including the many other divisions of Cupid. I loved their corporate blog which offers so many tips and recommendations for their readers. It also has posts on the history of the foundations and shapewear industry. Very informative, be sure to check it out. Their website offers the visitor and easy way to shop for the garments they need. They have “Find A Solution For” section for some of the most common figure problems. Some of the problems include: Back Fat, Being In Between Sizes, Flabby Fanny, Panty Wedgies, Muffin Tops (roll of flesh that spills over the waist of tight, or low-rise, pants or skirts) and others. I must admit when I read the list of the problems it put a smile on my face. I never realized that women (and men) have all these issues and there are actually names for them. You will learn that “The proper shapewear can take the right dress or gown, from merely form-fitting, to va-va-voom! “ TC offers some of the hottest new fashions in shapewear including the torsette. We had the opportunity of talking to TC’s sales manager, Len Greenbaum. You can see our complete interview with Len here.
Wood Underwear is a Hermosa Beach, California based company. They get their inspiration from their environment and produce a unique and comfortable men’s underwear line that actually contains real wood elements in their fabrics. Terresa Zimmerman was a pure delight and embodies the vitality and pure energy that one would expect from a California sun and surf gal.
On their website they explain their mission… Being outdoor people, a link with beach, ocean & snow sports was natural. It embodies our brand: fun, keep-it-real, aspiration to push further no matter your sport, level or age. It’s also about fashion, or our slightly irreverent take on it. We want to get every man into a nice pair of underwear. It’s an afterthought for many men. Women buy 80% of men’s underwear, so I’d say most men never think about it. They should. We notice. There is a ton of underwear out there, but not really geared to the everyday guy, financially and otherwise. We aim to make great underwear that is approachable and accessible, at the right price point, and guys feel comfortable buying it. Our brand brings it to their attention, our product keeps them coming back. Their tagline is one that brings a smile to faces…Get your Wood on, everyday. Wood is good.
We loved the Wood products, they were well made, softer then cotten, the fit was amazing. Terresa gave me a brief and a top to take home and my wife thought I looked hot in them. I hate to admit that I am a senior and looking hot for me is something I don’t hear very often :-). Their current distribution is still limited, but you can order direct on their website and put some Wood in your life too. Great company with a great product line and our Best of Show pick. You can see our complete interview with Terresa here…
MOI nyc is a new company that has entered the market. Moi is French for “me” and also happens to be the initials of the two owners Marcela and Elias. Marcela Kalas spent years in garment quality control and production and decided to take the next step and fulfill her dreams by designing and producing her own line of fashions. The company manufactures a compact line of sportswear for active women and a new line of lingerie from jewel encrusted to sexy lace and other other select fabric garments.
Designed by their founder Marcela Kalas, this line is manufactured in Colombia, South America and is able to take advantage of their superior labor market, fine workmanship and of course the free trade agreement the U.S. has with Colombia. The sportswear line is made using a new blend of fiber that they call Dryfit. It is a moisture wicking fabric that is perfect for workout clothing and sportswear because the material is designed to pull moisture away from the skin which means it promotes evaporation and keeps the skin cool. The fabric is like a very soft cotton to the touch and that makes it a perfect choice for the active woman. Their line consists of a number of tops including tanks and tees and also some great bottoms including their “Yoga Pant”. As you will see in their video, women wear these pants not only at the gym, but for just about any occasion including shopping at the mall or having lunch with friends.
Their new line of lingerie is unique because the have their Spicy line and their more traditional line. But even the traditional line of lingerie has elegant touches including hand set crystals to give it a bit of pizazz.
You will meet Marcela in our video as our IPA correspondent Andy Peeke who has a bit of fun with her talking about her line and giving our Spanish speaking viewers a nice sign-off. You can find and purchase their garments now on their website MOInyc.com while they develop their retail store distribution. See our interview with Marcela here…
Special Thanks to all of the companies we worked with on this project and our IPA staff members, Gustavo Villar and Andy Peeke.
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