Tmall Tie-Up to Develop Heating Fabric Without the Heft

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Tmall Tie-Up to Develop Heating Fabric Without the Heft

Tmall and Mitsubishi Chemical Corp., one of Japan’s top textile makers, have developed a thin, heat-generating fabric to help consumers stay warm in the winter without bulk.

Tmall will market the fabric, released last month, through a series of campaigns in the run-up to November’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival to promote the warming wear on its platform. The tie-up marks the latest move by Tmall’s new trend-forecasting center, which helps fashion brands sell into China through additional services, such as providing data-driven market insights, finding upstream fabric manufacturers and rolling out marketing campaigns to drive sales.

“We are committed to helping our partners discover and anticipate customers’ demands and capitalize on market opportunities,” said Jessica Liu, general manager of Tmall Fashion and Luxury.

“Based on our platform’s big data and consumer analytics, we’ve found that textiles are a deciding factor for many [fashion] categories, such as innerwear,” she said, adding that brands are increasingly looking to upgrade the materials they use to design garments as consumers become more selective.

The new co-developed fabric, dubbed “Celwarm,” uses heat-generating particles to absorb and trap heat rays from the sun and incandescent light bulbs, as well as specially engineered fibers to enhance its anti-static capabilities. This helps consumers avoid getting shocked by static electricity, which is common in the winter.

Chinese innerwear brand Bananin’s products made with Celwarm fabric.

Tmall’s trend-forecasting unit also will offer data-driven market insights and predictions to help Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. to better reach Chinese consumers, while connecting the company with fashion brands and designers selling on the B2C shopping site to create finished products, such as thermal undergarments and socks.

“With Tmall’s market insights, we can accurately identify industry pain points and develop new fabrics to address consumers’ demands,” said Takao Kawasaki, general manager of Fiber Materials at Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. “This will help us continuously deliver high-quality and comfortable material to customers in different seasons.”

Vero Moda, Only, Selected and Jack & Jones, owned by Danish clothing company Bestseller, and Chinese intimate apparel brands Bananain, Miiow and Maniform, were among the first to sign on and leverage the warming fabric in their designs. Some products have already debuted on Tmall, while others are expected to hit the market this month.

China’s overall intimate-wear market is expected to reach $64.69 billion by the end of 2022, up from about $43.42 billion in 2017, according to market research firm Frost & Sullivan. Sales of thermal underwear, specifically, more than doubled on Tmall during 11.11 last year, said the e-commerce site.

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