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Campaigns Editor's pick product

Heist promotes new shapewear by encouraging consumers to ‘rip off’ their old spanx

Underwear brand Heist Studios is encouraging customers to ‘rip off’ their old shapewear and send it to the brand in exchange for its own alternative, a new product called The Outer Body.

Launching today, the ‘shapewear amnesty‘ is asking people to send in their old spanx, with the first 250 customers who do so being rewarded the Heist alternative for free.

The initiative is part of a wider campaign that promotes the new product as “Shapewear you won’t want to rip off” due to its breathable, comfortable and wearable design. “We spoke to hundreds of women, we read forums, we shared personal stories and a recurring experience kept coming up: the need to get out of and rip off the shapewear being worn under an outfit,” Heist remarked.

The negative stigma surrounding traditional shapewear is also translated in an OOH campaign launching across London which features imagery of redundant shapewear being ripped away to reveal Heist’s The Outer Body. The aim of the campaign is to get “people to understand the unnecessary discomfort and frustration around wearing shapewear by giving them the opportunity, in an open space, to physically rip it off,” explained the brand’s art director Lucy Gabbie. This is Heist’s first outdoor campaign since rebranding last October, therefore “the perfect opportunity to do something really subversive and bold,” added Gabbie.

The campaign follows a pre-launch marketing activity titled #NOTHANX which saw comedians such as Celeste Barber struggling whilst trying to squeeze into traditional shapewear in a series of videos posted online.

The Outer Body was developed under the helm of Heist Studios’ new VP of innovation, Fiona Fairhurst, who recently spoke to the Current Global’s Innovators podcast about how she is designing underwear by finding a balance between science and emotion.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

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Podcast product

Heist’s Olympic designer on product innovation

You have to be bold and brave to do meaningful innovation, says Fiona Fairhurst, VP of innovation at underwear brand, Heist Studios, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast by TheCurrent Global.

“We’re trying to make better products that make people’s lives better,” she explains.  

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RSS

The first product under the newly-appointed designer’s remit at Heist is shapewear that not only looks more aesthetically pleasing than existing alternatives in the market, but removes any stigma for women wearing it. Fairhurst’s background is in sport, a world built around product innovation focused on the importance of performance.

She rose to fame during the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 where, while working at Speedo, she introduced a bodysuit using biomimetic sharkskin technology that went on to help 13 out of 15 swimming world records achieved during the competition. It was also eventually banned from the sport because it gave competitors an unfair advantage.

Her background has enabled her to strike the balance between the emotional side of design and the material innovation that leads to better product performance. Much like getting swimmers to swap their small Speedos for full bodysuits, for Heist it is about getting women to trust their expertise. “We very much want to base everything on science, technology and the innovation – and also what the consumer wants, which for Heist is about women.”  

During this conversation with Rachel Arthur at a FashMash event in London, Fairhurst also explains what excites her for the future of material innovation, the challenge of scaling sustainability, and what game-changing product Heist is working on next.

Heist Studios’ new Shapewear

Catch up with all of our episodes of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by The Current Global, a consultancy transforming how consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick product

Heist’s new shapewear comes from the inventor of the Speedo SharkSkin suit

The Outer Body by Heist Studios

Three years after taking on the hosiery market with its reimagination of tights, Heist is moving into shapewear with a bodysuit inspired by the wearer’s own support system.

Called The Outer Body, the undergarment is meant to support the body instead of squeezing it, and it’s a big push in innovation that’s making that viable. Behind the design is performance-wear inventor Fiona Fairhurst, who is renowned for the multi-gold-medal-winning SharkSkin swimsuit for Speedo.

With her first product release for Heist, she is combining two cutting-edge fabric technologies. The first, NoSew™, allows the garment to have just one sewn seam, eliminating discomforting bulky seams. The second, FlowFree™, features engineered perforations that promote and enhance breathability instead of retaining moisture like traditional elastics and meshes.

“Traditional shapewear puts pressure all over the body, which might work, but it’s not comfortable. I didn’t want to touch it the same way, I wanted to support the body, not necessarily control it”, said Fairhurst at a launch event for the product in London.

The bodysuit is composed of ultrasonically bonded, contouring, breathable panels made of film technology modeled on the body’s fascia matrix – the connective tissue beneath the skin that stabilizes the muscles and internal organs. 20,000 tiny laser-perforations increase airflow to reduce sweating.

According to Heist’s CEO, Toby Darbyshire, the company is on a mission to change the future of underwear. “Women’s bodywear has been neglected, overlooking an important scientific and technological focus that it deserves. With this new launch, we have applied our philosophy of innovation and expert knowledge of the anatomy to a very specific product that has been crying out for an overhaul.”

Before creating the shapewear, Heist asked 1,025 women who wear bodysuits what they wanted most from the product. “This disillusioned and dissatisfied group told us: no squeezing, sweating, or struggling into something that’s not worth it. So, we applied high-performing technology to our bodysuit from top to bottom”, said Darbyshire.

The company also launched an amusing campaign, as its marketing style, to tease the shapewear, with various comedians attempting to get into more traditional bodysuits to varying degrees of difficulty. I don’t think women should have to compromise when it comes to shapewear. I’ve designed for comfort – this is a new product you can move in.” Fairhurst explained.

Considering the global underwear market is expected to reach $145bn by 2021 after generating sales of $112bn in 2016, according to Statista, it’s about time the industry started paying attention to innovative, female-targeted products.

The Outer Body is priced at £120 and available online today at www.heist-studios.com. A limited supply is also available in-store at the Heist DemoStudio in London, where customers can book a 30-minute Shape + Fit appointment via Instagram.

For more on how Heist approaches innovation – from product to communications – listen to TheCurrent Innovators podcast episode with Darbyshire, published earlier this year.

How are you thinking about product innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick Retail

Heist opens first physical store, inspired by e-commerce

Heist Studios
Heist Studios

Heist Studios is opening its first temporary brick and mortar space in London, and it’s taking its cues from how customers have shopped online to do so.

Since launching in 2015, the direct-to-consumer (DTC) hosiery brand has held its community at the heart of everything it does – from its R&D process to advertising campaigns. With the launch of its first ever physical space, called the DemoStudio, it is taking learnings from online into the real world. For example, store associates will be trained by Heist’s existing online customer service team, who has been interacting with shoppers since the beginning.

“Until now, Heist has only ever existed online,” said Joanna Bell, head of retail for the brand. “When we made the decision to open a store, we had to ask ourselves, what does Heist look like in person? How do our brand, values and offering translate?”

Excelling in customer service is an overarching characteristic many successful DTC brands have. For this store, customers will also be able to try-before-they-buy, which is a feature already offered on its site, and a hosiery industry first. Similarly most other DTC brands, from mattresses to luggage, offer a ‘100 day guarantee or your money back’ scheme to encourage customers to take the plunge and buy from a new player in the industry.

At the DemoStudio, unwanted tights from the try-before-you-buy experience will be donated to Smart Works, a charity that provides interview clothing and coaching to long-term unemployed women hoping to enter the workplace. Customers will also be able to drop off any interview-ready clothing donations in-store. The brand is encouraging the activity on its Instagram page, where it gives customers tips on what clothing is appropriate to donate.

Heist Studios
Heist Studios

The Heist DemoStudio will be open from September 8th until January 4th in the Seven Dials area of Covent Garden in London, which is also where luggage brand Away opened its first ever international store last week. As retail experts and the media declare the death of the high street, the opening of two DTC stores in the same neighborhood is an indication that reports may often be exaggerated.

“The highstreet is not dying. Brands that fail to evolve are,” adds Bell. “We see an exciting future on the high street for brands to grow stronger by bringing the best of both online and offline worlds together to improve customer experience.”

Earlier this summer, we also spoke to Jen Rubio, president and co-founder of Away, for TheCurrent Innovators podcast, where she talked about the industry’s radical shift in physical retail. As legacy brands and mega stores shutter, the real estate industry is increasingly opening up to the idea of new players who often enter the field by hosting pop-ups to measure demand – which is part of the strategy for both Away and Heist – to then launch permanent brick and mortar spaces thereafter.

Also previously featured on the podcast is Toby Darbyshire, CEO of Heist Studios, who spoke about the importance of community and inclusivity when innovating in tights.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so.TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick product

Heist uses crowdsourced data to launch inclusive line of tights

Heist Studios
Heist Studios

Heist Studios has announced the release of five new tights in a variety of nude shades as a result of crowdsourced data from over 1,000 women. The new additions will add five new shades to Heist’s current line of nude tights when released later this week.

The diverse colour palette was sourced from “The Nude Project”, a crowdsourcing effort for which Heist created a dedicated microsite where it is asking women globally to share their own unique “nude” skin tones. Launched back in 2017, the project aims to create an ongoing range that reflects the needs of its audience accurately, says the brand.

“We know from our customers that women shy away from wearing nude garments for the most part because, with only a limited range of shades on offer, they are unable to find a suitable match,” says Heist. “We saw the furore around Meghan Markle’s tights at her first royal engagement as Duchess of Sussex, with the press lambasting the shade of nude. Our extended range seeks to solve this problem.”

Heist Studios
Heist Studios

The new range will be available to purchase from July 30 in the UK market in sizes ranging 4 to 14, while an extended sizing range from 16 to 24 will be released in October.

By launching the range in a wider variety of both shades and sizing, Heist continues to make strides towards inclusivity and diversity, which have been at the core of its DNA since inception. Additionally, reflecting its consumers’ voices in both product and advertising allows the brand to remain a strongly authentic voice in the market.

The strategy has allowed the UK-based company to quickly position itself as a true disruptor in both direct-to-consumer retail and the hosiery category itself, as CEO Toby Darbyshire told us on TheCurrent Innovators podcast in April.