The intimate fashion sector including panties and bras is one that grows the most in Brazil. Domestic production, including bedtime garments, socks and accessories, is of 1.24 billion items a year.
In 2005, sector revenues reached US$ 1.7 billion, a growth of 33% when compared to the US$ 1.3 billion of 2004, according to information supplied by the Brazilian Textile and Apparel Industry Association (Abit).
The sector includes 6,000 formal companies, most micro and small, which employ 32,000 workers throughout the country. Last year, the segment had 5.2% participation in the textile Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which was US$ 32.9 billion.
Brazilian lingerie has also found its space on the foreign market. Between January and June, exports totaled US$ 15 million and imports US$ 5.3 million, with a trade balance surplus of US$ 9.6 million. In the same period of last year, exports totaled US$ 16.7 million and imports US$ 3.8 million, with a surplus of US$ 12.9 million.
The United States, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia are the main destinations. In the first half of the year, the most exported items were bras, bustiers, corsets and panties. China, Hong Kong, Argentina, Pakistan and Bolivia, on the other hand, are the countries that sell most products to Brazil.
Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and Tunisia are also importers. From January to June they imported US$ 335,800 in Brazilian intimate fashion, according to figures supplied by the Abit.
An indispensable item in the female wardrobe, lingerie is gaining prominence in all productions, be it discretely and comfortably, bringing out the female curves or as part of the outfit, when it is made to show. The continuous development of the sector motivates the appearance of specialized fairs like the Brazil Lingerie Salon, which receives approximately 10,000 visitors in each edition.
"Producers have started paying more attention to women’s behaviour. Nowadays a woman has various different styles in the same day," stated Indhira Pêra, a director at New Stage, the company that organizes the Lingerie Salon, which, in its third edition, which took place this year, counted on the participation of 60 of the main sector brands in the country. The event took place from August 6 to 8 in the southeastern Brazilian capital of São Paulo.
"Modern women are currently seeking products that align technology to comfort, without leaving out sensuality," pointed out Indhira. It is the evolution of the technology of textile filaments that permits the product versatility.
New threads provide comfort and a pleasing touch, avoid the growth of bacteria, are durable and have firm colours. Apart from that, they also permit light compression or promote the woman’s curves, delicately increasing volumes.
At the Rhodia lounge, visitors could see what the Amni products, the name of the line of micro-fiber products produced by Rhodia, permit in terms of fashion innovation. The theme of the lounge was "Lingerie of Attributes". Rhodia was the first company to produce micro-fiber and super polyamide micro-fiber in Brazil.
The products exhibited included push-up bras, which increase the volume of breasts and may be used with any cleavage. Tops for use after birth were also exhibited. Bermudas and teddies that compress the abdomen and behind, ideal for modelling the body and reducing the belly, padded underwear and low-rise panties, to be worn with trousers with low waistlines, were also shown.
Strapless bras, low-rise panties and some briefs have silicon on the sides avoiding movement and marking. All are comfortable, made not to mark clothes but also not forgetting discreet sensuality and a fashion appeal.