What’s next for comfort? How Hygge is Growing-up

December 2022

Rising to prominence in 2016, Hygge entered the international scene as a new buzz word to describe a feeling, or state of being, that focuses on comfort, well-being and affability.

Originating in Scandinavia, the word lacks any clear translation to the English language but centers on ideas around creating a feeling of coziness and contentment - what many may also see as a cozy night in front of the fire.  

Cementing itself as a perennial through the lockdowns of 2020, and 2021, the concept underpinning Hygge is set to stay, but brands are seeking out new ways of creating that feeling of comfort and safety, with numerous products coming to market to help achieve this state. As we head into the winter season, it’s time to consider how the Hygge feeling consumers have come to cherish is evolving and future proofing itself.  

For the active and athleisure markets, it’s worth noting a shift away from the sweat pants consumers have come to love. As consumers settle into their new hybrid lifestyles, there is an emerging focus on clothing which takes care of them in a more rounded sense, carrying the burden of care as well as providing essential comfort. This new shift for comfort focuses on enhancing customer experiences through considered material choices and supportive innovation. The emerging concept of Lagom, an offshoot of the Hygge state that translates loosely as ‘just right’, meaning not too little and not too much, perfectly summarizes the direction of reassuring apparel that offers just enough comfort.

Image: Life Labs  (https://lifelabs.design//)

Future Comfort  

As consumers continue to explore what their new hybrid lifestyles look like, the future of what comfort means is starting to change. Smart solutions are entering the market that look to make consumers more comfortable beyond being cozy, catering to the whole lifecycle they work to support and guide while easing the wearer's journey - offering everything from temperature regulation to physical support. With an ageing global population, products that appeal to older demographics will become increasingly important too.  

For temperature comfort, US based Life-Labs is an apparel brand that have created a polyethylene based textile that lowers body temperature, ideal for making consumers more comfortable in an increasingly warm climate and offering coolness through menopausal induced hot flushes. In addition to their CoolLife technology, the brand has also released a range of WarmLife apparel that seeks to deliver warmth with less material and weight.

Image: Life Labs  (https://www.instagram.com/lifelabs.design/)  

Red Bull backed AlphaTauri are also working with temperature regulation, their temperature adjustable apparel integrates Schoeller's E-Soft-Shell heating tech and Telekom's temperature- controlling app, enabling a fully personalized climate.  

It’s also worth noting how products that are physically supportive have the potential to enter the apparel market. Clinatec’s exoskeleton works in collaboration with a brain implant to wirelessly transmit brain activity and give paralysed users control of their limbs, while Seismic Powered Clothing created a softshell exoskeletal that seeks to support workers' muscles, reducing strain and fatigue. Though these technologies can sound tech-driven and lacking in comfort, they have the ability to support and sooth the wearer, holding and helping them through their everyday.

Image: Seismic Powered Clothing  (https://www.myseismic.com/)

Smart Support  

Taking care of us seamlessly, smart apparel is emerging that works hard for the wearer, monitoring their health and keeping them in check as they go about their everyday. Smart support materials and products can enhance consumer experiences and work as the new digital assists, providing care and comfort.   

Siren Care is a washable smart sock that helps wearers avoid diabetic foot ulcers through monitoring heat and alerting a medical partner if anything changes, taking away the stress of the unknown for the wearer by providing continual tracking. On a similar vein, Colorado based Cipher Skin have created their BioSleeve which contains a network of sensors that can capture motion and biometric data. The digital health monitor is designed to support rehabilitation beyond physio sessions, allowing therapists to track progress along the recovery journey.

Image: Cipher Skin  (https://cipherskin.com/)

Smart supportive textiles can also work to enhance the wearers experience, bringing them more in touch with their surroundings. London-based CuteCircuit's SoundShirt allows a deaf person to feel music on their skin via haptic sensations, while their HugShirt creates a reassuring squeeze. Elsewhere Spain-based OWO have patented a wireless haptic vest that allows users to feel more than 30 different sensations. Initially designed for gaming, it also has the potential to heighten the wearer's sense of calm, creating a sensation of support and reassurance that partners well with meditation practices.

Image: Cute Circuit  (https://cutecircuit.com/)

Partnering for this New Era of Comfort

With Hygge as the foundation, it’s important to track how the comfort that underpins it is evolving with consumer needs. This doesn’t have to be about soft textures, but can include smart solutions that soothe the wearer in intelligent ways. As we edge into this new era of intelligent comfort, it’s worth seeking out partners that understand how to integrate smart comfort into wearable apparel. Combining comforting textures with intelligent fibers is something many of forward-thinking suppliers are practiced in achieving.  

Bridging together functionality and style, experienced sportswear manufacturers are able to alter the level of seamless support depending on the needs of your market, integrating everything from antiviral yarns, to connected materials that can feedback data. With the understanding of the technical sportswear market at their core, experienced manufacturers can adapt the aesthetic to suit more loungewear and fashion focused markets while tapping into their extensive knowledge throughout the journey.

About LTP

LTP is a Danish owned garment manufacturer for +60 premium brands within active sportswear, cycling, outdoor, urban performance, performance running and organic & lifestyle apparel. LTP was established in 1991 and now spans two continents - Europe and Asia with 6 fully owned factories. Our European Innovation Centre is located in Kaunas, Lithuania and our Asian Innovation Centre is located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. We have a bluesign partner factory in all 5 countries where we operate (Lithuania, Ukraine, Romania, Belarus and Vietnam).

LTP consists of two divisions; LTP Garment and LTP Furniture producing in twelve fully-owned factories.