Introducing Claire O’Neill, Hyosung European Marketing Manager
Stories | July 27, 2021
Based in Nottingham England, the land of Robin Hood and notable legends, Claire joined Hyosung as its new European Marketing Manager in May 2021 – bringing her deep experience in the intimate, swim, and global textile markets with her. Claire works with Hyosung’s European marketing team in the promotion of Hyosung’s specialty fibers and fabrics to targeted brand and retail accounts. Additionally, she manages joint development and promotional programs with key industry partners. Hopefully, you will get the chance to meet Claire soon, whether on a parkrun 5K, or at an industry event now that in-person gatherings are beginning to happen. Until then, here’s a little introduction…
You’ve held many interesting roles with businesses that span across the apparel supply chain. How were you first drawn into the industry and is there one aspect of it you like best?
Creativity! – I started my career in textile design, and this evolved into garment design and on to product development and sourcing. Being part of the creative process – watching a concept come to life is hugely rewarding. I have been lucky to work with great teams over my years in the industry – the people really make the difference; they make the highs more memorable, and they cushion the lows.
What specifically interests you about the intimate apparel and swim category, which you have so much experience with?
The power of lingerie and swimwear is not just how it looks but how it makes you feel. For these close-to-the-body-fitting garments the choice of fabrics and of course, fibres play an important part. When garments fit beautifully, and the fabrics feel and perform great – it gives the wearer a confidence boost. I really enjoy being part of that process helping designers and technologists to find the best fabric solutions and of course I’m a consumer myself, so I sometimes get to wear the garments I help to develop.
Do you see the two categories influencing each other, and if so, how?
Always! The influence can be quite evident in some trends, for example, we see far more swimwear brands offering bra-sized swimwear, so consumers no longer need to compromise on fit and support when looking for a swimsuit. Activewear is having a strong influence on both swimwear and intimate apparel – Sports Bras offer an opportunity to blend both influences to deliver support performance and aesthetics.
Are there different trends you see for both across the different European countries?
In the past, I think that you could see more clearly defined trends in different countries, but because of access to brands online, consumers are becoming acquainted with brands they didn’t know before and are experimenting with them. Aesthetic trends may still vary but there are core product features that are universal – fibres and fabrics need to deliver a whole host of features – comfort, support, shaping, smoothing alongside functional attributes like chlorine resistance and durability in swimwear, cooling, moisture-wicking and freshness in sports bras, etc. and lightweight luxurious touch in delicate lingerie fabrics.
In the last 12 or so years, you’ve held managerial roles in the fiber segment of the supply chain. What led you here?
I always say- having the right fibre in a fabric, like ingredients in a cake – it makes all the difference to the end result. Being a detail person, I am really interested in what goes into a fabric to make a great garment. To be involved in the decisions being made at the start of the supply chain and then utilizing my marketing skills, to connect throughout the chain is a perfect job for me. I’m also enthusiastic about being involved in the storytelling to brands and retailers, and exploring ways to engage with the consumer.
You’ve recently joined Hyosung, but have you found a fondness for one of its fibers yet?
I’m still on a steep learning curve with the expansive portfolio of fibres we have on offer – but an early favorite has to be creora®regen fibre – not only is it 100% recycled and GRS certified, but the recent LCA study showed that it can save 2/3 carbon footprint vs a standard fibre. Sustainability is front of mind with most of the brands and retailers I work with, and I really appreciate having this fibre to offer them which can be used in many types of garments.
Who are a few idols that inspire you and why?
I’m most inspired by people, who, against the odds achieve great things. – those who face enormous challenges and find the inner strength to push ahead. Outside of that, I have a long list of sporting heroes, artists, designers, authors, chefs, and music icons that have enriched my life.
What gives you joy outside of being on a Zoom, Teams or conference call these days (we will be meeting more often in person soon!)?
Sport – I’ve been a runner for many years, and I just love it, whether it’s a regular parkrun 5K on a Saturday morning or training for longer distances – I’m lucky to be part of a great running community in Nottingham. I took up open-water swimming at the start of lockdown and I swim every week in a lake nearby – it’s wonderful exercise and great for your headspace. Myself, my husband Mark, and our dog Frankie spend as much time as we can in the Yorkshire Dales – we love hiking and being rewarded with spectacular views from the tops of mountains.
Now that we are slowly coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, what are you most looking forward to experiencing?
Travel! most definitely – it has been an important part of my life and I have really missed it – as soon as I can travel without restriction, I will visit my family in Ireland and the US.
Where is one place you’ve never been, but is high on your list?
Too difficult to give just one answer – I have never been to Seoul but have heard wonderful things about it – so that is definitely on my list, not least of all, to meet my new colleagues face to face. Before the pandemic I was planning a trip to Ecuador and to the Galapagos – I’m hoping that I will get there one day – It is a dream!