Casual wear, including fitness attire, leggings, socks, and underwear, is taking the forefront in the fashion as high style takes a step back in the clothing industry; this is the latest fashion trend as consumers lean toward practical, affordable, casual wear, active wear, and inner wear, some of which is athletic inspired. Consumers are demonstrating a preference for Hanes brands and other basics over the more costly designer fashions today. Upscale, high fashion designs by the likes of Coach, Michael Kors, and Ralph Lauren are taking a back seat to Hanes products or basic T-shirts, baby wear, blankets, and socks from Carter’s designs. High fashion designers are seeing a rapid decline in profits and are now struggling to see the revenue growth they have witnessed in previous years. According to NPD Group’s chief industry analyst, Marshal Cohen, sock and underwear are the leading inner wear fashion demand. Cohen points to the cyclical shopping patterns of consumers, who tend to binge shop when there is a change in popular fashion, and he points to the shift to workout pants and leggings that are now more popular than high fashion skinny jeans as an example. When there is a change in what people wear in the way of bottom styles, the underwear sales increase. Layered Acquisitions Hanesbrands is making a serious profit from the shift to casual wear demands as the company sells active wear and underwear, along with some of its other brands like Maidenform, Bali, Playtex, and Champion. According to C.L King & Associates’ Steve Marotta, Hanesbrands is a literal “cash machine,” mostly likely because it sells its products at wholesale prices to mass merchants and department stores is usually full price. The extra revenues Hanesbrands has been bringing in has been put to good use as the company acquired Maidenform just two years ago, and even more recently, the famed collegiate logo apparel company, Knight Apparel. Marotta explains that layered acquisitions, when added to an existing platform of manufacturing, is a money making endeavor. As per Canaccord Genuity’s analyst Camilo Lyon, Columbia Sportwear is making good money selling outdoor clothing and shoes through department stores and the likes of Dick’s Sporting Goods. The outdoor products are all the rage, as is the company’s Sorel footwear. There is a clear increase in the desire for sportswear. Other companies reaping rewards from the increase in consumer demand include Under Armour,G-III, and Cherokee. Is it a lasting trend? While everyone in the casual and active wear business seems to be enjoying the shift in demand, there may be a downside to the seeming disinterest in high fashion brands. The new demands may actually be indicative of bored consumers, who are growing tired of today’s fashions in general. Since boredom never triggers an impulse buy, the fashion industry could be looking at trouble, since almost 40 percent of all fashion purchases are actually impulse buys. What’s more, the very basics consumers are buying are not impulse purchases. Meanwhile, casual wear and activewear sellers are honing their ecommerce sites in an effort to open up the best online shopping channels for consumers, many of which are going the mobile route to shop. Luxury Brands Putting Up a Good Fight While leading fashion designers still bring in decent profits, when you are at the top of your game, the wolf is always at the door. Despite the mild downturn in profits, high-end fashion manufactures are making money as well as some interesting changes in an effort to regain the attention of consumers. Ralph Lauren has unified its male and female into solo lines including the Ralph Lauren Collection for Men and the Ralph Lauren Purple Collection for women. The company is also looking ahead to the worldwide launch o Polo Sport, which will commence for a line for men and boys. Preordering begins as early as June for the August launch does. Kors, on the other hand, is working with its luxury lifestyle line, despite the fact the company is dealing with issues created from over distribution, and its products in stores like Macy’s, Ross Stores, and T. J. Maxx. Nevertheless, Kor’s still saw a decent fourth quarter profit of $1.3 billion: a 30% increase overall.