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Not underwear but fashion … The market for fever is getting hot



UNIQLO HitTek has been in a unique position since 2006 by creating a new market based on the concept of heat that can be revealed. UNIQLO store with Hittec's free gift certificate on gifts. [연합뉴스]

UNIQLO HitTek has been in a unique position since 2006 by creating a new market based on the concept of heat that can be revealed. UNIQLO store with Hittec's free gift certificate on gifts. [연합뉴스]

"If you start looking for your underwear when the cold wind blows, you get older"

The market worth 700 billion won
BYC and Spao domestic companies to challenge
Launched 32 types of hit-up lines for both drops
New products added in Hyosung and Shinsegae

That's because winter underwear makes you look sick. This word became colorless with the onset of fever in the mid-2000s. In 2011, ad model Lee Na-young, an advertising model, went with a padded jumper on a fever that looked like a regular t-shirt. Hittech is one of the products that UNIQLO played a major role in the Korean market.

This heat tech is on the cutting board. UNIQLO is holding an event (18-21 days) to give Hittek a free gift (a total of 100,000 copies) to consumers who buy products in offline stores regardless of the amount. The crowds gathered at the UNIQLO stores, where guests have been busy since July. The criticism poured out. There's also a finger that says, "Betray the land on a free sheet." It is not unreasonable for public opinion to limit consumer choices.

According to the Korea Fashion Industry Association, the domestic underwear market is currently about 2 trillion won. The market size within the fever is about 700 billion won. It increases by 10% each year as the number of products in the heating that can be selected by consumers who are sensitive to extreme climate change increases.

It is no exaggeration to say that this market was created by UNIQLO. Until 2006, when hittec appeared, winter underwear was white, playful or pink. Hittec changed its stereotypes of lingerie with patterns and colors that do not differentiate between outerwear and lingerie. As a result, around 1 billion copies have been sold worldwide in 2017. Until last year, the domestic fever market was the only stage in Hittec. This year the game is different.

According to FRL Korea, which runs UNIQLO in Korea, Heattech materials are the result of long-term research. The company developed about 10,000 new materials over a year and a half before producing samples. It is made by weaving four types of fibers with different properties such as rayon, acrylic, polyurethane and polyester. The key to the technology is to convert water vapor on the skin's surface to heat.

If so, is UNIQLO Heattech's technology an insurmountable wall for domestic and fashion companies? The answer from the market participant in fever is "not." There are many textile companies that combine different yarns to produce materials that hold heat in different ways. It is a claim that product strength or material is not an absolute problem. In the end, this year's fever market is expected to be a battle between different companies trying to increase their market share.

EPA-based SPA manufacturer Spao is one of the most active. This year, the company's flagship product, Worm Tech, increased its order volume by 2.5 times compared to the previous year.

Permission for body heat in case of BYC fever. [연합뉴스]

Permission for body heat in case of BYC fever. [연합뉴스]

BYC, a pride in the domestic market, used the material from Toyobo, Japan, 2001 to create a "fever fever" in the fever, but it has not succeeded. BYC is currently focusing on the promotion of "Body Hit", a hit technical hit. Two drops, also a domestic underwear brand, reinforced the "heating" line in the fever and released a total of 32 items this winter.

In addition to the existing fashion companies, there is also a new "player". Hyosung T&C, a subsidiary of Hyosung Group, has launched a new "My Hit" that works with Mushin, a domestic fashion platform, to target the fever market. Shinsegae International's independent lifestyle brand also challenged HitTek with the recently launched "Jazeon".

By Yeon-sun Jeon azul@joongang.co.kr



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