In Back-to-Back Expansions, Andie and Parade Enter Bra Category

Comfortable undergarment sales have risen for years. This week, a new wave’s hitting among DTC brands.
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Francis Scialabba

· 3 min read

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Joining a seemingly bottomless surge in comfy apparel, DTC brands are expanding their intimates categories with 1) wireless, size-inclusive products and 2) wholesale distribution.

Entering drawers: Andie, founded as a swimwear-only brand in 2016, debuted bras and underwear online yesterday in sizes XS-3XL. CEO Melanie Travis told Retail Brew the bras were adapted from its best-selling swim styles.

Parade, which opened with underwear in 2019, released its takes on wireless bralettes today in sizes XS-3XL with varied support options. The brand redeveloped its website to accommodate new products and accompanying digital sizing tools, CEO Cami Téllez told us.

Both brands told us they began developing the expansions pre-Covid due to shopper interest. And both funded the investments with impressive 2020s: 107% top-line growth YoY at Andie, though they wouldn’t disclose revenue; $10 million in revenue and one million pairs of underwear sold during Parade’s first year.

  • Parade is “on a path to profitability” and is “slated to grow over 300%” this year, Téllez said.

Entering stores: Harper Wilde, which has sold comfort-driven bra styles since 2016, kicked off its first wholesale partnership with Nordstrom last week.

  • Nordstrom will carry Harper Wilde in its five largest IRL doors, as well as online.
  • Co-CEO Jenna Kerner told Retail Brew that Harper Wilde experienced triple digit growth from Q1 2020 to Q1 2021, but declined to provide revenue figures.

Support for all shapes

Like apparel in general, this year’s fastest-growing bra segments are the least restrictive. While the NPD Group reported overall bra sales only increased 1% YoY in the second half of 2020, wireless styles grew 14% and pullover styles grew 31% in the same period.

Underpinning the shift: Comfortable bra styles perked up with Aerie’s unfiltered marketing and the advent of digital native, size-inclusive lines like ThirdLove in 2013. Those styles only rose in popularity during quarantine—mirroring sweats, which grew 17% while total apparel sales fell.

  • Harper Wilde has “barely” kept its best-selling bralette in stock since March 2020, Kerner said. A new design sold out in less than two weeks.

“In general, e-commerce penetration probably leapfrogged two or three years [last year],” Travis told us. In intimates, “I think it was the same for the quote-unquote comfort movement.”

Unlike 24/7 sweatsuits...“We don’t worry about this being a trend that will pass,” Kerner told Retail Brew. “Undergarments are basics, not fashion. Once [the customer] finds what she loves, she’s not going to move back to a less comfortable option.”

And once that customer is intimate with a brand, those brands can upsell more products. Travis and Téllez both said they’re releasing additional skus in the year ahead. — HL

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