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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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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 Podcast

How Heist looks at inclusivity to keep innovating its tights

Heist's Toby Darbyshire and Rachel Arthur
Heist’s Toby Darbyshire and Rachel Arthur

Inclusivity for women of all shapes, sizes and skintones is at the core of the strategy behind direct-to-consumer underwear brand Heist, according to its CEO Toby Darbyshire, who features on the latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast.

Speaking to Rachel Arthur, he explains how the underwear industry is one that’s ripe for innovation as a category that is underperforming against societal needs. As it stands, it is designed to drive revenue, rather than to serve its customers, he notes.

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

“It struck us that in the age of Harvey Weinstein, the fact that my wife, who is a pretty modern woman, walks into Selfridges’ underwear section and it says ‘listen love, put this on – one of sort of four or five societal normalized views of sexy – and then you can fulfil your purpose’. That seems like an industry at its fundamental that is both broken from a brand point of view but also totally out of kilter with the cultural discourse,” he comments.

The first product Heist decided to tackle was tights. Widely regarded as uncomfortable, Heist’s innovative design includes no seams, a flexible waistband and a reduction in snagging and laddering. The brand worked with real women to ensure their concerns were met.

Since then, that has also meant exploring color and shape, and it’s this approach to inclusivity that keeps the brand, which recently received investment from Natalie Massenet’s new Imaginary Ventures fund, driving forward.

Last summer, it launched ‘The Nude Project’, crowdsourcing a full color palette index of different skintones based on over 100,000 customers. What’s more, the team opted to make this an open source model, explains Darbyshire, meaning they are sharing the results with the wider industry in the hope it will encourage others to diversify their product offerings.

Heist also launched tights to cater up to size 24 in 2017, again working with real body shapes to create the best fit. The line debuted with a successful and innovative campaign, featuring different shapes and sizes of fruits and vegetables inside Heist tights to promote a body positive and inclusive message.

On that decision, Darbyshire says: “How do you talk about plus size in a way that is inclusive and isn’t Dove. Not because Dove didn’t do it brilliantly, because they actually did it brilliantly, but then kept on doing it for 20 years, so now no one else can do it because it’s lame. It’s really clever. So how not to be Dove is the challenge.”

Also on the podcast, he talks about innovation in the product itself as inspired by the likes of Nike and Speedo, how to successfully cut out the middleman and why they might introduce their own store next year.

Catch up with all of our episodes of TheCurrent Innovators here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, 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.