generally look at the face first. The second is the shoes and exactly
next to the shoes what one observes are the socks, the safeguards of the
feet, which prevent the feet from rubbing against the shoes, give the
feet a tender feeling and add some style element in ones attire. As
fashion has become more individualistic, every product that gives the
look and reflects personality has drawn the attention of designers and
fashion experts. From hat to legwear, every item worn by a person adds
to the overall persona and appeal. In this varied scenario of dressing,
every part of the attire has gained a makeover… legwear being the
latest. Now various designing looks are given to the pair of clothing so
that they have their own importance inside the clothing.
hose have been a part of clothing for the past 1,000 years. At the
outset it was worn by men and not women. The first stocking knitted on a
circular machine was made in 1589. The market has improved since then.
The first nylon stocking was made in 1938 and the first tights were made
in 1966. Over the years stockings have become less popular and, most
recently, knee-highs and ankle-highs have become more popular because
women now wear more of trousers rather than skirts.
use of legwear increases with each season. With the introduction of
design aspects in the legwear category and the aim of making one such
product changing, the legwear production industry is experiencing a huge
demand in the summer time too. Hot Sox, DKNY, Givenchy- licensed by
JET, American Essentials- the licensee for Calvin Klein and Michael
Kors, Leg Resource Inc., Infinity Classics International etc., are a few
products that satisfy the demand of designer legwear. Many departmental
stores have special hosiery departments that keep the best brands.
Designers like Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs and Dolce Gabbana make legwear
collections more appealing.
With many aspects of a jigsaw, the new
collection offered on the shelves range from elegant classic and
natural appeals to fascinating flamboyant styles. The new legwear styles
take into consideration the several demands of the present trend and
show off perfect style and beauty. The variety is so vast that legwear
has appeared as a hip extension for designers to show their abilities.
Since legwear is worn by everyone regardless of age, gender or
profession, ¬ there are various designs that are made for each and every
segment. The legwear market is gaining a specific space in the market,
more so due to skirts and now dresses which have gained popularity as
the hot fashion products. Legwear designers foresee a bright future for
tights, sheers and socks.
Many producers across the globe are
trying to renew particular styles in the legwear category in each and
every season and market them for the season. Holiday- specific legwear
that are aimed at holiday themes, patterns and designs specific only to
the holiday season are now a thing of the past. Today, many legwear
manufacturers target socks and sheers as they make a good gift due to
its affordability and usefulness. The promotional market is another area
where it is considered that legwear can solve the purpose.
with decorative backseams dotted with red flowers in both black or white
or sheer red shapes and floral vine pattern are enormous. Sheer shapes
are also being made with rhinestones: rhinestones decorate the backseams
and are sprinkled on sheer black colour. Kayser-Roth Corporation in its
HUE line, Fine Line Hosiery and The Randalman, NC Company are some of
the companies that offer a design element to legwear. HUE came out with
rhinestone backseams, tuxedo striped sheers in black or nude, lurex rib
sheers, shimmer sheers in black, gold or silver; lace trim tulle thigh
highs and stockings with built-in garters.
graphic prints, romantic openwork, textured legwear, solid opaque,
school girl knee- highs, ladylike sheers and ribbed knits are a few of
the latest vogue. Forecasted to hit the fashion field are knee-high
socks that are anticipated to become one of the new fashion trends. Knee
socks in bias plaids, classic argyles in both traditional and gloomy
colours, contrast herringbone, heavy tweed styles, stripes and femme
angora openwork are arrived in the market. Feature covers colour flecks,
fur pom poms and embroidered stitching. In socks, surface
attractiveness is vital with visible textures giving preference over
patterns. Moretz has set up sock styles with a various tweed textures.
Use of luxury blends with wools, angora and cashmere, and romantic
affects continue to be the largest in ladies apparel, which provides
another increment to the sale of tights and trousers.
white and black, there are various categories available with contrasting
trim and seed stitching on the top of the feet with a flower around
ankles. Tattoo sheer pantyhose, checkered thigh highs, cotton knee highs
with bows, lycra mesh stockings, lace leggings, skulls and crossbones
midcalves, fuzzy multi stripe, striped tigers, argyle clock, micro
velour diamonds, shark bite 3D socks, rugby 3-striped, surprise rib and
branches tights are a few sets that perform the genesis of designing
element spotted on the ‘essentials’, as accepted by today’s generation.
The persistence of beadwork, embroidery and crochet in apparel and
accessories compliment the net/ crochet designs and opaque textures used
in a sizable way in legwear. Opaques (dark and ribbed) and cable knit
tights, men’swear patterns and footless tights are anticipated to have a
huge market share.
For many producers, collection of fashion
tights covers bold plaid opaques, textured tights in leopard,
houndstooth and herringbone, antique openwork, crochet and nets and
colourful, crazy tights motivated by Pucci’s graphic designs. Fine Line
Hosiery offers many plated tights in diamond, floral heather patterns
and ribs. The beauty of legwear is further enhanced with the use of
colours in the perfect mix. Browns command the colour palette along with
affluent burgundies, warm greens, gold and robust tones. Attractive
palettes of blue cover turquoise and teal. Inky blues offer a
sophisticated casual look with a laid-back attitude that matches the
best with denim wear and offer a break from the khaki family. Colours of
inky blues include Rio, Wonder Blue and Midnight. Metallics have become
the new mortals.
The new transparent lines of curved hosiery from
Hanes are available in many flesh tones that are transparent enough to
facilitate consumers to harmonize their skin tones with superior
support. Captivating its influence from movement in the beauty industry,
which is blowing up with products meant to offer a tanned, shining
effect to the legs, Hanes also deals with Sheer Radiance, a line of edge
that offers a slightly tanned and shining look to the leg. Leg Resource
Inc., which makes legwear for Anne Klein and Via Spiga, among others,
is all about facets with zigzags, curlicue motifs and sewn-on lace.
Items from Infinity Classics International, a Brooklyn-based producer
and marketer of hosiery for Italian line Levante and British import
Jonathan Aston cover ultrasheers and sheers; opaques in chevron, spiral
or diamond patterns and fishnets in mini and maxi weaves. Silhouettes
include a regular growth or an unusual low-rise ‘hipster’ cut.
legwear market covers only a small fraction of the total apparel
business, the US imported legwear worth $ 1.24 billion in 2004. Canada
imported $ 120 billion while EU imported Euro 2.66 billion, a 21 per
cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent increment, correspondingly over the
previous year. Though, India could raise its share only in the EU market
from 1.39 per cent to 1.47 per cent.
US market of legwear
US import of legwear boosted by 20 per cent in 2004
including hose, pantyhose, tights, socks, stockings and other hosiery
products and a necessary apparel items are quite popular world over. The
US imported such items worth $1.1 billion in 2003. The imports rose by
about 20 per cent to reach $ 1.3 billion in 2004. Legwear imports add
just 2 per cent to total import valued at $ 65 billion of apparel into
Stockings and Tights – UK market
Today’s hosiery market is divided between sales of tights (84%), stockings (3%), hold-ups (4%) and knee-highs (9%).
2004 the fine hosiery market was about £250 million; with more than
half a million pairs of tights, stockings and hold ups being purchased
every day. Legwear is the most regularly purchased item of clothing with
women purchasing on average of ten pairs a year. The average price of a
pair of tights in 2004 was £1.19; though. In UK Pretty Polly, Elbeo
Levante etc are the leader in tights and stockings.
India’s legwear market in the EU’s perception
legwear in the EU market, China with a contribution of 1.5 per cent was
better than India and all others in the Indian subcontinent. Though,
legwear imports from China in the year 2003 decreased in value terms by
over 4 per cent despite a raise of about 13 per cent in volume terms.
Here again, Pakistan with a contribution of over 1 per cent was at
number two position and imports of legwear from Pakistan raised by over
46 per cent in the year 2003 as against 2002. Among China and other
competitors in the sub-continent, India gained number three position
with making 0.55 per cent contribution to the legwear market in the EU.
In 2003, import of legwear from India rose by about 13 per cent.
EU a large market for legwear
market for legwear in the EU is quite larger than the US. The EU
imported legwear worth Euro 2.66 billion in 2003, increased by 3.6 per
cent from Euro 2.57 billion in 2002. Legwear imports add to the total
apparel imports valued at about Euro 83 billion of the EU to the size of
3.2 per cent.
Over the last two years, the business from India
has increased significantly. Many producers have got a growth of almost
40-50 percent in their business. Experts believe that the export market
of India will keep up provided the manufacturer can produce the products
with latest trends with other yarns that are no longer restricted to
any particular weather, besides cotton legwear. Though in cotton legwear
still manufacturers have to move fast to sustain in a long run.
India has colourful presentation for buyers in Legwear – Cotton still well demanded
is a larger market as compared to the US in legwear with advancement in
blends and designs. Though, India has only a 0.5 per cent of share of
legwear worldwide with its strong existence in the cotton socks segment.
US imported legwear amounted to $ 1.3 billion in 2004, while EU
imported Euro 2.66 billion worth in 2003. In the subsequent periods,
Indian exports raised by about 13 per cent to the US and 38 per cent to
the EU in that order. The total quantities exported in legwear from
India to the US and the EU accounted to 21.32 per cent and 94.44 per
cent respectively, which were cotton legwear. With increased incursion
of Asian countries, mostly China, the US Socks Industry is susceptible
to rising imports. US manufacturing plus outward processing of socks
decreased 13.2 per cent from 2001 to 2003.
Though China escorts
offensively with new machines pursued by innovations in yarn,
compositions and blends, India has begun building a strong existence
with huge exporters investing in socks production and the traditional
exporters aiming at expansion. Even foreign investors are peeping at
India as a feasible manufacturing hub with application of a variety of
yarn blends though cotton remains the key potential.
prints and new designs were the most accepted legwear fashion for 2005.
As many fashion accessories are used in various designs and styles,
likewise legwear also has a preference with various designs and looks
with many interesting styles. Plains, plating, ribs, links, sports
terry, anklet, various motifs are some of the regular designs made from
India under the legwear category for both the domestic and the export
market. From black to pastel to light colours, there is no substantial
variation in the types that Indian producers are offering to both the
markets. Besides the stylish and gentle like hosiery, novelty yarns like
Lurex in soft colours, short shorties and knee high with delicate
embroidery combined with appliqués have made the legwear more trendy and
At the end of the quota regime, Delta Galil Industries, a
foremost producer of intimate clothing, supplying to brands like Calvin
Klein, Hugo Boss, Nike and Ralph Lauren, started a $5 million socks
factory in Silvassa in the Union Territory of Daman, Dadra &
Nagarhaveli (INDIA). The factory will use over 200 looms plus specific
finishing equipment to satisfy a target of one million pairs of socks
per month. The company considers that the factory’s production will make
$ 15 million with buyers in Europe and the US once it is fully
operational. The company penetrated the Indian zone in an attempt to
locate low-priced production locations to increase its competitiveness
with an objective to develop business.
While this company from
Israel observed business benefits in India and entered all the way post
quota, Trend Setters, a famous name in garment export from India already
has a devoted 100 per cent export production socks unit since 1999. TSI
Industries Pvt Ltd, Faridabad, makes cotton, nylon and cotton blended
legwear with elastane for kids, ladies and men’s category.
since the technology needed to produce ladies leggings is not available
in India, the company ventured into cotton lycra leggings apart from
its usual products. The total production capacity of the unit is 800
dozen pairs of socks per day. The company functions generally on the
design patterns, colours and packaging offered by its buyers. With good
output the company intends to put in Matec machines by 2006 to increase
production and ranges.
In starting period of time, India made the
export as well as the import market with only 100 per cent cotton items.
It has also slowly started for other yarn compositions and blends. Some
of the new compositions cover polyester, acrylic, wool, nylon,
polypropelene and polyester viscose with a maximum of 5 per cent of
spandex. Besides others, polypropelene is used only for the domestic
market. Other yarn categories are intended both for domestic as well as
export purposes. As other fashion accessories are offered in various
designs and styles, likewise legwear has left the plain look behind and
brought forth various appealing styles.
With a manufacturing
capacity of 10,000 per/day, a New Delhi-based exporter of socks, Olympic
Overseas Private Limited, produces socks for ladies and gents, as well
as stockings. Apart form the common yarn types like cotton and nylon,
the company even uses polyester viscose for both the domestic and the
international market. The Rs 1.5 crores company supplies to France, UK,
Germany and Belgium, working with importers and wholesalers like
Benjamin SA, a key importer from France. Olympic Overseas offers only
socks. They make stockings for the domestic market but not for
international business. According to industry experts International
demand for stockings is for fine quality yarn in which India is not that
strong. Overseas has offers ‘arguile’ designs (shapes like diamond,
rhombus, and triangle) and customized legwear in nearly 20 different
styles. There are four set and size of legwear which they offer; the
ankle length; the normal size that is 5-6″ above the ankle; then comes
the long set that is immediately below the knees and finally stockings.
In the international market, long socks are offered in the size of 1″
above the knee.
V. V. Hosiery is another Delhi-based legwear
company of Rs 5 crore conglomerate, selling products under the brand
name ASTRA. It mainly concentrates on ribs, links, sports terry, anklet
and cutter motif styles. In addition to socks for gents, ladies and
children, the company also exports stockings to various countries. It
generally uses cotton and polypropelene. With a production capacity of
10,000 pairs per day, out of which 50 per cent is exported, the company
has recently set up the export business of socks through importers in
Dubai. Another hosiery producer who makes socks on demand is Office
International Inc., the Tirupur based producer who focuses on children’s
winter socks made of cotton with embroidery and prints.
Mumbai-based trading house, Lee-On Impex exports sports socks for gents
to Indian exporters like East Asia Trading and players from Kuwait and
Australia. White is the most popular colour preference for the category
which they are working for. Dark colours are used for striping. The
conglomerate supplies on an average 2,000 pairs of sports socks per day.
In gent’s legwear, navy blue, brown, black, light grey, dark grey,
white, olive and green are the most popular colours which are in demand.
With these shades, other frequent light colours are used for ladies
legwear. School socks for children are patterned by shades of white,
grey, navy blue and maroon. Pastel and baby colours like pink and rose
are the preferred colour combinations in fancy socks.
for Winter 05 were remarkable. Many producers have created socks with
air passages for Autumn Winter 05. Olympic Overseas has exported their
usual products with specialized designs and looks for the season.
Seamless stitching on toe, pre-shrinkage and softening finishes and
antibacterial treatments were also well demanded in the season.
stockings, fishnet thigh highs and micro-net are fashions in the
stockings’ market. Generally, nets provide airy comfort to the legs. In
addition, a unique type of remedy like beading and ruffling, the
international trend for legwear, includes some shoe treatments into
legwear like gel bottoms to offer socks more of an athletic appeal.
Attractive floral designs are ample in ladies’ legwear. Many
international companies who have arrived with these trends are
Kayser-Roth Corp., Soxland International Inc, Levante, Hot Soz and
Wolford, among others.
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