Compression Shapewear – How Asia is Contributing to the Global Market


Sam Zaman, Negosentro | Hourglass figures and packs have been way too long the ultimate factor in determining feminine and masculine beauty.

Masculine beauty is far more glued up to only the fashion industry and areas where guys really have to take off their shirts, but femininity is required to be spot on in every given situation, thanks to the widespread sexualisation of beauty concepts.

This has led to the wide popularity of compression and shapewear especially where exercising and workout sessions are out of question.

Shapewears or foundation wears function as an undergarment which can temporarily alter the wearer’s body shape to somewhat a more fashionable figure.

It does not enhance a body part but is used to control the display of one. Shapewears have been used by people from as early as 1100 BC in Greece and Rome.

For many later periods, the use of shapewears especially corsets declined for it was seen as a sin to expose the body in such a way.

Shapewear Through the Centuries 

Shapewear gained popularity again in the fifteenth century when wealthy French women desired a slim waist.

By the sixteenth century, the idea of shaping clothes according to the body was totally out of question and instead body was mended with the help of tight-fitting corsets to fit in the fashion of the era- slim waists and open breasts.

Fashionable corsets like Tudor corsets and Elizabethan corsets were used to accentuate a slim waist and broader hips, while “farthingales” were used beneath skirts to hold them out stiffly, giving the upper part of the body an inverted cone shape.

Corsets were further enhanced through the use of laces and other drapes in the seventeenth century and were more constrictive during the eighteenth century.

The inception of the nineteenth century saw the rise of more constrictive and heavily boned corsets as opposed to the later part of the century which gave importance to the natural body shape and thus were much loose and comfortable.

Edwardian and Victorian eras saw a redesigning of corsets: slim waist remained but a graceful curve over the hips was introduced with an upright back, which helped in maintaining a better posture.

Unlike the curve bust of the Victorian era, this upright posture didn’t harm any of the internal organs and thus proved beneficial to the wearer.

The earlier parts of the twentieth century saw corsets which were not used to enhance the bust but to reduce the abdomen and hips.

Post world war corsets were much loose and comfortable and were used to slim both the waist and the hips to achieve the boyish look, the then fashion.

The later years saw a revolution in corsets, but slim waists still remain the fashion. Corsets were replaced by girdles and now are less widely used apart from on stage and in other such performances or waist training.  

How Asian Market is Faring

All the above facts include just the evolution of corsets in the western world. One can undoubtedly say that corsets and other shapewear have been introduced in the eastern world, particularly in Asian regions as a result of colonisation.

Even then one must report that shapewears like corsets have not gained popularity in the masses especially in India and other Asian regions even though compression wears are a necessity.

In the current scenario where shapewear and compression wear markets are mainly based on male users for they prefer wearing them even during workout sessions.

Women’s compression wear market too is expected to grow in the coming years, with China as the major consumer form the Asia-Pacific region, for compression wear would be most required in the sports and athletic areas where China is about to give more importance in the near future.

The Asia Pacific region is found to be the most lucrative market for intimate wear with China being the most prominent exporter of compression wear to the western world, namely the North America and Europe.

It has been reported that around 70% of the market revenue was based on the sales of intimate and compression wear which was at 62% on the 2015 financial year. A CAGR of 9% is expected by sales through online markets, a high growth.  

Even though dermatological problems like itching, scarring and dermatitis have been reported due to the use of intimate wear made of synthetic materials, companies have been putting in their best efforts to solve them for otherwise it might result in the decline in the market of the products. The United States tops the shapewear markets in the North American region with a market share of 87%, the most favourite clothing being skirts and tops.

Lingerie and other intimate, compression wear is expected to have a much-increased market for people now take more time to select the innerwear just like they do with their casuals and take much effort in the carrying themselves in improved ways into the outer world.

Even though restrains like a high cost for advertisements and other marketing techniques, brand image building is effectively done, which is evident from the increased sale in the branded wears than any other intimate, compression wear.

Moreover, e-market platforms have an increased effect on the sales of intimate, compression wears and can thus be concluded that the coming years would prove beneficial to companies in this area.