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Lizzo Launches Yitty, Her Own Shapewear Brand, With Fabletics

 Lizzo wants people to feel ‘good as hell’ about shapewear.

The Grammy award-winning artist and musician has teamed up with Fabletics, Inc to launch YITTY, which drops April 12. The line includes bodysuits, smoothing shorts, tanks, unitards, and more.

Born Melissa Viviane Jefferson, the 33-year-old singer, rapper, and songwriter behind female empowerment anthems such as “Truth Hurts,” and “Batches and Cookies” want to bring the same message of positivity and self-love to her shapewear line.

“I have spent the entirety of my life trying to change the way that I look or reshape my body,” says Lizzo, who was a Forbes 30 Under 30 lister in 2018. “... As if I had to inflict some sort of pain upon it to fit into an archetype or a standard of beauty. I’ve been wearing shapewear–tight-pinching corsets and underwear bottoms–for a very long time; since I was in fifth or sixth grade. It was really painful and I really felt that it shouldn’t be this way; we shouldn't be ashamed of our bodies and we shouldn’t have to wear these contraptions to feel beautiful.”

Through Yitty, Lizzo aims to transform the narrative around shapewear by offering more than just tonal and neutral options. “What is really different about Yitty is that we are designing collections in bold colors and prints that are meant to be exposed, styles that are technically designed to be worn as your underlayer but cute enough to wear alone.”

The partnership with Fabletics came about when Lizzo met co-founder Don Ressler, five years ago. “When I told him about my vision to reinvent shapewear, he believed in the idea immediately,” she says. They officially began building the company in 2019 with Kristen Dykstra, CMO at Fabletics, who is now president of Yitty.

The inspiration behind the brand name is rooted in Lizzo’s childhood. “Yitty is a nickname my auntie gave me when I was young. She was a full-figured woman and one of the coolest people ever with bold, beautiful energy. I wanted that energy in this brand.”

The singer adds that she is the founder as much as the face of the company. “I have been very involved in the design of every style,” says Lizzo. “I see every fabric, I pick every color, I’ve tried on every piece a ton of times throughout the design and fitting process.”

Fabletics is launching Yitty as a standalone brand but there will be synergy between the two. The entire Yitty collection will be available at YITTY.com, while a selection will also be available at Fabletics.com and in all 76 Fabletics stores. There are also pop-ups planned in April.

“We are taking the shame out of shapewear by infusing the category with fashion.”

“We partnered with Lizzo because we felt her vision for revolutionizing shapewear with a positive message of body normativity was game-changing,” says Adam Rosenberg, co-founder of Fabletics. He and Lizzo declined to comment on how much they invested, or what the entertainer’s stake is in the company.

In 2013, Rosenberg and Don Ressler launched Fabletics with actress Kate Hudson. The direct-to-consumer activewear is best known for its colorful, vibrant leggings. In 2021 TechStyle Fashion Group changed its name to Fabletics, Inc, after spinning off Savage X Fenty, JustFab, and Shoedazzle. Fabletics, Inc serves as the parent company to Fabletics and now Yitty. Hudson is a strategic advisor to Fabletics and a shareholder of Fabletics Inc.

By 2020 Fabletics was pulling in more than $400 million in annual revenue, according to Glossy, as athleisure and sportswear continued to rise. The parent company is now betting on shapewear as the next fashion category to boom. The global shapewear market size was valued at $1.9 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $3.9 billion by 2028, according to data from Grandview Research.

But it is also an industry on the mend. Sales of shapewear dropped 24% year-over-year in 2020, according to market research firm NPD Group. While it has rebounded 41% in 2021, the market has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, when the shift to a casual wardrobe and a decline in events quieted the need for such binding and sculpting garments.

But Lizzo’s innerwear-outerwear approach could be the key to unlocking growth in this category, says Kristen Classi-Zummo, fashion apparel director for NPD Group. “Creating this as shapewear for underneath and to-be-seen makes this a great partnership for Fabletics. In recent years activewear has been booming and the pendulum has swung so far into comfort since the pandemic. Shapewear can play a role in bridging home comfort with outdoor casual.” For instance, a bodysuit can be easily paired with a blazer and high-waisted jeans.

For Lizzo, Yitty is more of a passion project than a fashion statement. “I was tired of seeing this sad, restrictive shapewear that literally no one wanted to wear. I had an epiphany like, ‘Yo, who can actually do something about this?’ I was waiting for someone to change the conversation around this article of clothing that so many people wear. It’s not comfortable. It doesn’t look like us. Eventually, I started to create my own shapewear pieces based on where I felt I needed to be shaped or hugged.”

Jessica Ramirez, the retail research analyst with Jane Hali & Associates, says most of the inclusive rebranding in the intimate apparel industry—notably Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty brand—has focused on lingerie and bras, and agrees there’s room for disruption in shapewear. “Shapewear has been an area of intimates that has been rebounding with reinvention for women to feel comfortable,” she says. “Before it was a hush-hush item, and mostly associated with older women, but now it’s become something for all generations.”

Branding Yitty as inner and outerwear plays into Lizzo’s inclusive and body-positive messaging. “Being able to wear these styles as inner and outerwear allows people to wear the product the way they want to wear it, based on how they want to feel,” says the singer. “It also allows people to feel good about exposing it if they wear it as their inner layer. Traditional shapewear is meant to be hidden. It isn’t cute. The colors are boring. It is embarrassing if you accidentally expose it. With Yitty, exposing a pop of color or print is fun! We are taking the shame out of shapewear by infusing the category with fashion.”

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