Buttocks bras, caffeine lingerie and sizing surveys

The first portion of this morning’s amalgamated post comes courtesy of Just-Style (sub req’d), I see that “buttocks bras” have become all the rage in Japan. Leonie says

…several top lingerie businesses have been capitalising on what some say is a kink in the Japanese psyche that perceives all non-Asians to be curvier and in possession of well-rounded bottoms.

While the concept is not new -here is a 2002 patent application for a buttocks support device- the fascination with derrière uplift has been heating up. A Japanese product called the Hip Lift Tanga is reportedly selling briskly.

There’s also a buttocks bra website with video on site but it cuts out early. Maybe it’ll be fixed later.

Fujibo is one manufacturer who sells these for men and women. Sales are reportedly brisk. Speaking of Fujibo, this company makes fabrics imbued with special properties, namely cosmetics (!) and an enzyme that reportedly reduces fat and cellulite. The new technology coats fiber with caffeine and seaweed derivatives to activate fat-dissolving enzymes. The application of the new technology will be featured in a line of lingerie called Wonder Slim.

And Fujibo isn’t the only maker playing with caffeine in the interests of cellulite reduction. Another contender is an Austrian company named Palmers which has impregnated hosiery with caffeine. Apparently, “caffeine derivatives, such as methylxanthine, have been the main ingredient of many firming creams for the last three years.” According to research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, “Nearly 76% of women, 25 out of 34, lost an average of a half inch of thigh circumference by applying a topical skin care creams that contained caffeine.” Wow. Who knew? Does this mean I’d get more benefit from my morning coffee by wearing a pair of pantyhose soaked in it? Apparently, the caffeine claims have not been without controversy. A professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine says there is no proof the compound works. Still, sales at Tightsplease.com (exclusive retailers of the Palmers hose) are reportedly brisk. The effects last through four washings -which is longer lasting than most pantyhose in my experience.

Another company to enter the cellulite reduction apparel market is La Senza, a global lingerie manufacturer based in Canada. They have launched shorts which claim to reduce cellulite. La Senza claims the effects last between 15 and 20 washes; the micro-nutrients are activated with friction between the fabric and skin.

Returning to the topic of Japanese lingerie, at Japan Inc, I found an interesting article from April 2006 that describes the changes in the Japanese lingerie market:

These changes have been taking place on both a demographic and a competitive level. The most obvious of the demographic shifts in the market results from Japan’s rapidly aging population, which has been responsible for the inexorable spread of relatively affluent mature and senior segments, requiring specialized products, such as girdles and other “reinforcing” underwear. However, less predictably, the market has also expanded downward.

According to Japan’s education ministry, over the past five decades the average 11-year-old girl has grown by approximately 10 kilograms and 13 centimeters-gains that have induced lingerie companies to launch a range of junior styles to seduce this burgeoning segment. Notes Wacoal, 20 years ago around one-third of second-year middle school girls wore bras. Now the same figure applies to fifth-graders.

A note to lingerie makers: US brands are well received in Japan. Wacoal is popular in the market. One would do well to consider this as a market opportunity.

Speaking of sizing changes in Asia, China has begun a national sizing survey. From Just-Style:

The first phase of the national study will begin in September, and will involve taking the measurements of 20,000 children and young adults (aged 4-17) from more than 10 Chinese provinces. The data will be used to support the commercial production of items such as apparel and furniture. The survey will be completed at the end of 2006 and made public next year.

And lastly, speaking of sizing studies, also from the same article at Just Style (sub req’d)

Results of the UK National Sizing Survey, published in September 2004, showed the average British woman stands 5ft 4 in tall, with a 38-inch bust, measures 40.5 inches across the hips and has a waist measuring 34 inches. Results of a previous size survey carried out in the 1950s showed the average British woman was 5ft 2in tall with a bust of 37 inches and hips of 39 inches. Her waist was just 27.5 inches.

A 3D measurement campaign conducted in France between 2003 and 2005 showed that the average French women is 5 feet 3½ inches tall and weighs 137 pounds, while the average French man is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds.

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  1. Carol in Denver says:

    About the size survey for the United Kingdom from the 1950’s — the whole population of the UK, whether they liked it or not, ate a diet from 1939 until rationing was lifted (in the late 1940’s?) that was vegetable-based and very low in fats. Furthermore, most people used public transportation or bicycled or walked (whether they liked it or not) because of gasoline rationing and much lower ownership of automobiles. (After the historic lifting of rationing, the population’s diet as a whole became pretty poor.)
    If you want to see what the American population’s body types might look like if we actually followed current diet and exercise recommendations, I think you could take the old UK study as a base.
    Carol in Denver

  2. moss says:

    WOW omgosh I am exactly average for a UK woman. How strange. :)

    What size is that? Normally I wear a 14. But the measurements on a size 14 pattern are not these.

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