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Big pants: not just for Bridget Jones

Bridget Jones first showed us her “absolutely enormous panties” 15 years ago - and since then, global sales of support pants have soared, according to joint research by WMG at the University of Warwick and the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka.

Support underwear is currently so popular that the supply chain involved in making of a typical pair covers almost 71,000 miles and 16 different manufacturing sites, across three continents.


The research shows that this massive growth in sales is a direct result of manufacturers making significant investments in the design and production of shapewear over the last few years.

The centre of this industry is Sri Lanka, where companies have responded to the international demand for support pants by sourcing new materials and innovations to make them more affordable, comfortable and fashionable.

The support underwear industry has even crossed over to the world of sport: the kits of the England and France teams in the 2011 Rugby World Cup were designed using shapewear technology.

Jan Godsell, Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy at WMG, comments on the complex global supply chain created by the demand and production of support pants:

“Supply chains are all around us but all too often are taken for granted. The scale and scope of the supply chain, the high degree of global innovation is not limited to pants. Behind every product and service is a complex network. By making this largely invisible world more visible we hope to inform people's purchasing decisions.”

To find out more, head to the latest WMG blog post, written by Jan Godsell and Dr Rivini Mataraarachchi from the University of Moratuwa: 

Notes to editors:

Professor Jan Godsell leads a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) at WMG, University of Warwick, exploring exactly 'how things get to you' through the invisible world of supply chains.

The course is open to everyone including business owners, students and the general public, giving people the opportunity to gain new skills for free.

12th September 2016

Further information, contact:

Luke Walton, International Press Officer

L dot Walton dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk

02476 150 868

07824 540 863