Posts by Karolina

Salon de la Lingerie Highlights – AW14/15

Back in January I visited the Salon de la Lingerie (one of the biggest lingerie trade shows) in Paris. It’s held twice a year and hundreds of brands exhibit there from all over the world. My absolute favourite part of the show is seeing the collections of the huge variety of Indie designers – this is where lingerie design gets most creative and takes the most risks. Without further ado, here are my highlights of next season’s lingerie from the Salon:

Almeida

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Almeida’s style seems to be very bold and overtly sexy – this season uses glossy patent leathers and feathered accessories, along with provocative cuts such as quarter cup bras and the unusual longline underbust corset. However, amidst the more S&M styled pieces it was the soft silk chiffon designs that caught my eye – I love the sleeve detail on the soft bra above and the soft diaphanous colouration.

Beautiful Bottoms

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Beautiful Bottoms have some truly stunning silk pieces for next season – ‘Graphic Galaxy’ is probably my favourite collection of theirs today, and I love how bold and psychedelic the prints have become, whilst the relaxed and simple silhouettes allow the prints to speak for themselves. I’m particularly in love with the ‘Ethereal Echo’ set, shown in the vest top above – it’s such a dreamy colourway and I adore the organic painterly feel to the print itself.

Betty Blue’s Loungerie/Betty Bridal

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Betty Blue’s Loungerie has been on my radar for a while, but I’d only ever seen the designs online. I’m so glad I’ve had the chance to see the products in person – the fleece robes are genuinely the most gratifyingly snuggly pieces of loungewear I have encountered in my entire life (and I seriously need one once I save up my pennies!). I’m also in love with the new silk ‘Nell’ pieces in a striking ‘Heather’ colourway (particularly that nightgown!). Betty is also launching ‘Betty Bridal’, releasing several of the existing ‘Nell’ designs in ivory. My particular favourite is the bodysuit – that plunge neckline and the strap detailing are just divine.

Britta Uschkamp

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What I love most about Britta Uschkamp’s lingerie is just how uncompromisingly fun it is – very few designers manage to achieve that level of of carefree frivolity in their designs! They may not be too everyone’s taste but the gratuitous ribbons and unusual laces are deliciously girly. I’m a bit of a lace obsessive so I was very drawn to Britta’s use of it – in particular the Marilyn Monroe motifs, dip dying and metallic printing – not exactly standard lingerie fare, and it’s great to see a designer doing something so different.

Dirty Pretty Things/Flirty Pretty Things

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AW14/15 is possibly my favourite Dirty Pretty Things collection so far. The retro styling and unusual fabrics make a stunning pairing – gold leathers and holographic prints being the most striking! The stand out piece for me is the gold leather and black basque – I love the style lines, and the colourway is a failsafe way into my heart. I was also rather intrigued by the new diffusion line ‘Flirty Pretty Things’ debut collection – bold neons, leopard print and metallics all capture the DPT classic aesthetic but at a much more accessible price point – whilst it’s not lingerie for the faint hearted, there are some very bold and fashion forward pieces to be found.

KissKill

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The Salon was my first real encounter with Australian brand Kiss Kill and I absolutely love what they’re doing. Their collaboration with model Cheyenne Tozzi is absolutely stunning, and encompasses some of my favourite lingerie trends – strappy details, gold studs and metallic chantilly laces, whilst retaining a luxe edge. It’s fashion forward lingerie at its best, with many of the pieces made to be seen – I can definitely imagine rocking one of those bras under a sheer top!

Lorna Drew

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I’m a little ashamed to admit that I don’t pay nearly enough attention to the lingerie world outside of the fashion-focused indie and luxury brands – but I’m glad that I saw Lorna Drew’s designs in person at the show. A specialist maternity brand, there’s been real thought put into the product both from an aesthetic and a functional point of view. The designs are feminine without being overly fussy and the patented design means there’s up to three cup sizes adjustment to each bra.

Mirage Magique

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Mirage Magique are a new French luxury full-bust focused brand. Designer Sandra’s use of lace is truly stunning, particularly her bespoke burlesque pieces. The ‘Night Owl’ collection for AW14/15 gives a more wearable twist of showgirl glamour, with gorgeous lace details throughout. Alongside lingerie there’s also a range of boudoir accessories such as chokers and gloves – all of which could look equally lovely when worn outside of the bedroom. I hope to see more of this young designer in the future as she certainly carries a lot of promise!

Nichole de Carle

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Next season Nichole will be focusing more on ready-to-wear, blurring the boundaries between lingerie and womenswear – I’m particularly intrigued by the corsetted jackets and body-con dresses. There’s also new colourways and prints in the more classics designs, including tartans. What caught my eye most though was the new diffusion line – these ‘basics’ will still carry lots of Nichole’s signature strap detailing at a much more affordable price point.

Pretty Wild

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Dutch brand Pretty Wild’s use of leather and lace is absolutely breath-taking – during my time on their stand I couldn’t help but fall in love with almost every piece that I was shown. There’s a lot of lingerie on the market currently that’s following the formula of leather, lace and straps but this brand manages to stand out from the crowd – I love their unusual use of lace placement and paneling, particularly with regards to the lace scallops and the rather textural use of guipure embroideries. Definitely a brand to watch – their designs are now very firmly on my lust list.

Steph Aman

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London-based lingerie and loungewear designer Steph Aman creates pieces that are more akin to art in my opinion – there really are no other words for the intricate embroideries and level of detail given to her designs. The delicate embroideries and paintings on silk chiffons and tulles need to be seen in person to be truly appreciated. I particularly love the darker aesthetic that her collection carries this season, with motifs of skeletons and chains amongst the softly feminine florals.

Ysé

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French brand Ysé are a small-bust focused brand with a refreshing outlook on lingerie – their focus isn’t on push-up effects or enhancement, but simply to create beautiful lingerie that fits smaller frames as they already are, with a range of wired and soft cup bras on offer. The designs are fresh and directional, with gorgeous colour combinations and paneling details.

Readers: what do you think of these brands’ new offerings? Is there any lingerie that you’re particularly looking forward to seeing next season?

Karolina

Karolina

Student at De Montfort University's world-renowned Contour Fashion course. Makes many knickers in her spare time.

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Review: Carine Gilson Couture Lingerie

Disclosure: I purchased all of the lingerie in this review myself. All opinions are my own.

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Carine Gilson’s lingerie has been on my lust list for longer than I can remember.  Renowned for her couture approach to lingerie and using only the finest silks and chantilly laces, her designs are the creme de la creme of the lingerie world – and most certainly carry the price tag to match – knickers tend to start around $350 whilst a chemise can set you back over $1000.  Her designs have always been something that I’ve dreamed about but assumed I’d never be able to actually own.

Nevertheless, I was trawling the post-Christmas sales back in January and found myself in Harrod’s, a luxury department store in Central London. This is the sort of place I’d never normally be able to shop in, yet the sales make all the difference – ‘clearance’ is a magical world! Nevertheless, it was rather a traumatic experience to see so many pieces of exquisite lingerie (Rosamosario, Jenny Packham and Marjolaine just to name a few brands) shoved haphazardly onto racks and strewn across the floor. Nevertheless, I plowed through to uncover a Carine Gilson bra and French knicker at 80% off in almost my size – and then I made the mistake of taking them to the changing room, from which point I was essentially doomed to buy them.

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Whilst the two pieces I chose weren’t exactly matching in terms of colour, they both featured the same lace designs and featured such clashing colours that I figured I could make them work as a set. The bra is a plunge/push up style with molded cups, whilst the knickers are a fairly loose-fitting ‘French knicker’ style with a stretch waistband.  The bra is a 34B – I usually wear a 32C/30D, so whilst it is the same cup size, the band is a little loose. The knickers are a Large which I would equate to a UK12.  Similar bra styles sell for around $548 and knickers for $466 and are available in sizes 32B-36C and Small – Large.

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Personally, the fit of these garments played a relatively minor part in my decision to purchase them. Nevertheless, given the fact that I’d purchased the ‘wrong’ bra size, the fit is still good. The cups fit well with the wire fully encasing my breast tissue. The band is a little looser than I’d normally like, which is understandable given that it’s a couple of sizes out of my normal choice.  The knickers are all round a good fit, with enough stretch in the waistband to sit comfortably just above my hips.

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What prompted me to actually purchase these was the, quite frankly, insane attention to detail. It’s reaffirmed my opinion that Carine Gilson’s designs are the absolute pinnacle of the luxury lingerie experience. As a designer myself, this is something I’m usually extremely critical of – yet these pieces are pretty much flawless. The construction of both pieces is exquisite. The bra has had all of its elastics bagged out so that they’re not externally visible and give a smooth finish. The straps are made of silk and the bra is lined with silk. The actual wire casing is lined with silk – whilst this isn’t exactly practical in the long run (wire casings have to be sturdy as the take most of the stress when wearing the bra), it certainly feels wonderful – plus I doubt these designs were ever intended for every day wear. My personal favourite element of the bra’s construction is that the additional push up pad ‘cookies’ that come with it are also covered in silk! The lace is appliquéd onto the cups symmetrically with near invisible stitching.

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However, the finesse of the construction truly comes to light with the knickers, where there’s no covering up of the stitching as within the bra. All the seams are French seams – a time-consuming technique that involves trapping all the raw edges within the seam itself, so there’s only beautifully finished edges actually in contact with the skin. The gusset is lined with silk and has been bagged out so there are no visible raw edges. The hem of the knickers and the stitching on the actual lace applique is so impossibly tiny and fine that it’s difficult to believe it’s actually physically possible to sew so immaculately – on the exterior of the garment you can’t even see that it’s been stitched.  Literally the only element of the knickers’ construction that hasn’t left me overwhelmed is the 3-point zigzag stitch that they’ve used on the elasticed waistband – but even that is finished with an exquisite silk ruffle!

For me, Carine Gilson lingerie is the epitome of luxury – the construction is perfect and the design absolutely exquisitely elegant and timeless. It has one major flaw though – it’s so beautiful that I’m actually scared to wear it and it’s remained wrapped in tissue in a box since I bought it, taken out only for these photos! I’m still hit with pangs of guilt for actually buying it, given the rather ridiculous expense even at 80%, but I’m trying to justify it as motivation for myself as a designer – I’m hoping that one day I too will be able to create something this beautiful!

Readers: Have you encountered Carine Gilson lingerie before? What makes a lingerie experience true luxury for you?

Karolina

Karolina

Student at De Montfort University's world-renowned Contour Fashion course. Makes many knickers in her spare time.

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Review: Ultimo OMG plunge bra and invisible shorts

Disclosure: this lingerie was provided for review purposes by Ultimo. All opinions are my own.

Ultimo OMG Plunge

The OMG plunge bra by Ultimo

Ultimo are a British lingerie brand that I’ve seen a lot of but never actually got round to trying – it had been on my to do list for a while so when I was offered a set to review, I jumped at the chance!  I was sent the OMG plunge bra and Invisible short in sizes 30D and a UK12 in plain black.  The bra retails for £24 and is available in sizes 30D, 32A-36D and 38 B-D. A similar DD-G version of the bra is also available for £28. The shorts retail for £12 and are available in UK sizes 8-18.  Both bra and shorts are also available in white and ‘nude’.

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There’s nothing particularly remarkable about the design of this set, but they’re excellent lingerie wardrobe basics.  The bra features a micofibre outer and lining. The cups are moulded with an integrated silicone ‘sling’, that claims to mould around the breast and move like real breast tissue to create a more natural looking ‘boost’.

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The bra’s construction is impressively sturdy and clean, with all seams having been bagged out with no visible elastics.  There is also a distinct lack of labels within the bra, as all the care information has been printed onto the unusually soft hooks and eyes – I can imagine that for those with sensitive skin, this carries a lot of extra comfort appeal. All the metal components of this bra are gold toned which adds a luxe feel.

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IMG_8955Overall, the fit of the bra is good, with the wires and moulded cups fully encasing my breast tissue. I often have problems with moulded cups in that my breasts don’t quite fill them, leaving a rather noticeable gap at the top of the cups. Happily, this isn’t a problem with this particular bra. The silicone padding at the bottom of the cups gives a very noticeable effect, though admittedly it does look and feel a lot more ‘natural’ than the majority of push up bras do.

The push-up effect is very noticeable – I’d agree with the brand’s claims that it can give the appearance of 2 cup sizes larger, as it gave me bust a much fuller silhouette and more lift than I was expecting. However, I’d take the ‘ultimate cleavage’ tagline with a tiny bit of salt – this is totally dependant on your figure type. It certainly gave me the biggest boost any bra has and gives a very impressive décolletage beneath low cut tops.

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One feature of the bra that I particularly like the idea of is the racerback conversion – this is in the form of an extremely subtle ‘hook’ extension on one of the strap’s ring. It’s easy to twist this round and hook it to the other strap, giving you more outfit options and a bit of extra subtle lift to your bust.

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However, I have one pretty major gripe with this bra – the strap length is very short. Even  on its longest extension, I found this bra started to become painful to wear after just a couple of hours as the straps were just digging in too much. As a consequence, the racerback conversion of the straps was just too uncomfortable to wear for an extended amount of time as this pulls the straps even shorter. This is something that I could easily fix myself with a couple of new pieces of elastic, but it’s something to keep in mind if you are particularly tall.

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The shorts are also made of microfiber – the seams are all bonded rather than stitched, giving a smooth finish.   I love how the edges of the shorts have been flocked (a technique that gives a ‘velvet’ finish) to prevent them from slipping – it’s effective and feels a lot nicer on the skin than normal lingerie elastics.

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Overall the shorts are a good fit and are extremely comfortable – they are VPL free and with the soft microfiber fabric they’re a truly comfortable solution garment – comfortable enough for everyday wear, and not just as a solutions garment.

Readers: Have you ever tried Ultimo before?

Karolina

Karolina

Student at De Montfort University's world-renowned Contour Fashion course. Makes many knickers in her spare time.

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Myleene Klass for Littlewoods Lingerie Review

Disclosure: This lingerie set was purchased for the purpose of review.

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Photo from Littlewoods

Despite the fact that I live in the UK, I’m not all that familiar with non-indie British brands. I don’t hold anything against them in the slightest, I just take a particular interest in the independent side of the industry where unusual designs are more of a focus. Nevertheless, when I received the suggestion to review some of Myleene Klass for Littlewoods lingerie, I was intrigued. I’ve never paid much notice to celebrity-designed lines in the past so I was interested to see how this one would measure up!

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I chose to review the lace and mesh longline bra and matching control brief in sizes 32C and UK 12.  Although now largely sold out, the bra was available in sizes 32B to 40E and the brief in sizes 8-20. They retailed for £25 and £22 respectively (the bra can now be found on sale for £15).

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When the lingerie set arrived, I must admit that my first impressions were pretty favourable – the set is well made and sturdy. Both bra and knickers feature a range of cream and black panelled fabrics with a mix of opaque and sheer fabrics. The lace is pretty and delicate, whilst the graphic elastic panel detail gives the set a bold and directional edge.   There are gold components on the strap and the centre-front features a delicate gold heart embossed charm. The bra is a longline style, with wire and molded cups and additional support boning in the wing seams to prevent the bra from rolling down. The elastic also contains silicone grips for when the bra is worn without straps.The bra is mostly rigid, with only very small panels in the centre back consisting of stretch mesh. Straps are removable, and the bra comes with additional ‘invisible’ straps. The briefs are composed mostly of firm control fabric, with few small decorative panels of mesh. There is also a very wide concealed elastic waistband.IMG_8274

I was very impressed with the bra’s fit.  The underband comes up quite tight, so the bra works well for me despite my normally requiring a band size down.  It even worked well as a strapless fit, with the silicone grips and longline shape keeping the bra comfortably in place, even during my rigorous testing of running up and down the stairs and over-enthusiastic star jumps!  The wires were a good size for my breasts and encased them entirely, tacking well at the centre front.  The fit of the molded cups was also good, despite this being a shape that doesn’t normally suit me! My only minor grip is that I had to wear the straps at their maximum extension – something I found slightly disconcerting given that I’m only slightly above average height.

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Unfortunately, for all the bra’s positives, the set is let down rather dramatically by the knickers. I ordered a size 12 (my usual knicker size) but was a little worried about how they would fit. My waist is fairly small and would fit a size 8 according to the website’s sizing chart so I assumed that they’d fit on my hips and bottom but would be baggy along the waist.  To my surprise, I had the opposite problem.  The knickers were a good and comfortable fit along my hips and bum, with no cutting in and a fairly smooth line (smooth though, not seamless – they are control knickers but I wouldn’t wear these under something skin tight).  It was the thick elastic waistband that caused problems though – it is uncomfortably tight on my body, cutting in and causing an extremely unflattering silhouette Given that these are supposed to be control knickers I didn’t expect them to create ‘rolls’ of body fat that didn’t even exist before! What is most disconcerting is just how inaccurate this sizing is – I know my waist size is nowhere near a commercial size 12, so for it to be too small is a pretty big fault. It’s such a shame as they’re very pretty knickers, and it’s literally only the waistband that causes this problem.  They might work for you if you go up a size or two, but I know that if I tried a size 14 then they would be baggy around my bum – which is never a flattering look!

Overall this experience has left me with a fairly mixed view of Myleene Klass lingerie – I’m impressed with the quality and design given the brand’s low pricepoint but the poor fit of the knickers has left me feeling let down.  It’s a shame that such a minor mistake of cutting one piece of elastic too short can affect a garment’s fit so much!

Readers: have you tried Myleene Klass lingerie before? What were your thoughts?

Karolina

Karolina

Student at De Montfort University's world-renowned Contour Fashion course. Makes many knickers in her spare time.

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Lingerie Review: Ayten Gasson ‘Nina’ bodysuit

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Disclosure: I received this lingerie free of charge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Ayten Gasson have been on my radar for several years now; I’ve always loved their classically pretty combinations of silk and lace and have worn more than my fair share of their lingerie to death. So when I was given the chance to review one of their Nina stretch silk bodysuits, I jumped at the chance.

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One of the things that appeals to me most about Ayten Gasson is their dedication to British manufacturing – not just in the sense that all of their products are sewn  there, but also in the sense that all of the laces used are genuine Nottingham leavers laces.

Lace is somewhat an obsession of mine and it strikes me as a true tragedy that the British lace industry has died out almost completely. Once Nottingham lace was seen as one of the finest laces available, produced on antique ‘Leavers’ machines.  It’s an extremely fine and relatively expensive lace.  As the demand for cheap materials and labour rose and clothing and lingerie brands moved their production to Asia, many lace manufacturers found themselves having to close their doors; the bulky leavers machines were either sold overseas or destroyed, for lack of funds to store them.

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Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom – British lace still exists, manufactured by Cluny in Nottingham. It’s this lace that is used in Ayten Gasson’s designs, alongside vintage Nottingham laces. These laces are usually made of cotton and have a much kinder feel against the skin than the synthetics that you’d normally expect.

Lace reminiscence aside and onto the bodysuit, it’s as beautiful as you would expect from Ayten Gasson. The silk satin is a gorgeous soft peach colour and has a fair amount of stretch to it (which makes this bodysuit all the more flattering and comfortable!). The neckline and legs are trimmed in black leavers lace.

The back is finished in a delicate picot edge elastic, with black rouleax shoulder straps with gold adjusters. The bustline is softly gather in, with delicate pin stitch detail and a silk covered button at the centre front.  Of course, one problem with bodysuits is that if you’re wearing them outside the boudoir, going to the toilet requires completely undressing. The ‘Nina’ addresses these practicalities of life though with delicate poppers!  The bodysuit retails for £97 and is available in sizes small to large. It also comes in a blush pink colourway.

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I was impressed with how well the bodysuit fit my body –my shape is not something that’s ever been particularly compatible with commercial clothing, given that there’s up to 2 sizes difference between my top half and bottom half and my torso is longer than average. I found that the size medium was the best fit for me (I normally wear a UK 12 on my bottom half and wear a 30D bra), with the silk stretching comfortably without looking unflattering. The ruched bust also works particularly well – offering gentle support for a range of bust sizes (with room for larger chests than mine too!). Ideally I’d prefer it to be a little more fitted around the waist, but otherwise it’s difficult to fault!

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I love the easy fit of loungewear pieces like this bodysuit – it works great even with body shapes like mine that are a little awkward to fit elsewhere.  I also love its versatility – it’s great to wear in the bedroom, to lounge in and to style as outerwear –that lace neckline is far too cute to hide.

Readers – have you tried Ayten Gasson’s designs before? Did you love them as much as I do?

Karolina

Karolina

Student at De Montfort University's world-renowned Contour Fashion course. Makes many knickers in her spare time.

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Crowdfunding: how the internet helped my lingerie collection become reality!

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‘Ela’ – one of the lingerie sets that my crowdfunding campaign made possible

Crowdfunding is an internet phenomenon that’s exploded in the past few years. Websites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Sponsume offer people the chance to raise funds for their projects with the entire internet at their fingertips.  It’s no surprise that it’s proven so popular – it means that businesses no longer have to rely on banks or investors to get their project off the ground. Instead they rely on their own fans, their friends and their family –people with a genuine vested interest in seeing the project succeed.

My campaign video – shot by Max Allen

The concept behind crowdfunding is that ‘rewards’ or ‘perks’ are offered in exchange for a pledge of funds.  These can vary hugely in content and value, with many starting at £1 and others reaching dizzying heights over £10,000.  Many lingerie brands choose to offer presales on their new collections, as well as exclusive items just for the campaign, from pieces of lingerie to prints of illustrations. Depending on the website used, funders face one of two options: either they take the risk of reaching their target within a set time or receiving no money, or if they don’t reach their target the website takes  a large cut of the funds raised.

More and more lingerie brands have started to use this method of funding to get their own collections off the ground. After seeing their success, this Summer I too decided to take the plunge and use Indiegogo to fund my new lingerie collection!

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Designs from my first collection – their construction and materials mean they could be produced on a domestic sewing machine

When I started my lingerie brand, it was on a tiny scale that involved me buying materials in tiny quantities and manufacturing each garment by myself.   I knew this would in no way be practical when I entered my final year of university –I came to the decision that it would be a risky but in the long term sensible business move to make the step into factory production.  Of course, there were rather large obstacles in my way. As a student, I don’t qualify for most business start-up schemes, whilst no bank would so much as consider giving me a loan. Crowdfunding was literally my only option to make my lingerie dreams a reality.

294961_548612621843606_1681177567_nAs part of my new collection I sourced beautiful vintage kimono silks to upcycle

My previous collection was based entirely around elastic strapping frame pieces. I wanted to push myself as a designer and bring more lingerie-focused pieces into the collection –soft lace bras and knickers, open cup wired bras. I wanted to showcase my love of beautiful materials –I’d sourced some absolutely stunning French couture Chantilly and beaded laces, and my personal favourite: a hand-picked selection of vintage Japanese kimono silks.  As well as a collection of lingerie sets that featured contemporary fabrics, I wanted to create a series of knickers that upcycled the kimono silks into pieces of wearable art.

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Swing tags and labels: surprisingly more expensive than you’d anticipate.

The fact is, there’s simply no way I’d be able to produce such a collection by myself.  No matter how much I scrimped and scraped my money, I wouldn’t be able to buy the materials, nor could I sew my designs to a professional standard on domestic machines.  There are also so many costs that you wouldn’t normally consider; items such as custom woven labels and printed tags have to be purchased in bulk to be at all cost-effective. The same applies to fabrics and trims –nylon liners and elastic trims, stretch meshes and cotton gusseting.  Everything adds up beyond what was initially imagined.

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Exclusive rewards for my campaign: eyelash lace and silk lingerie sets and knickers – these were actually very fun to create!

Preparing and running the campaign was more hard work than I could have imagined – it’s not a case of simply uploading the required information and waiting for the timer to run its course. You have to create a personal video and plan out exactly where the money needs to go. You need to create exciting and desirable rewards for your funders. You have to promote your campaign – and in my opinion this was the most difficult part of the entire project. There’s a fine line between asking for help and annoying people – I fear I may have overstepped it a few times!

1175135_594340970604104_1032409632_nKnickers from my first factory delivery – opening the box was such an exciting experience!

My campaign was a success and I reached full funding within the deadline. It is truly an overwhelming experience when you achieve a goal like that – a combination of friends, family and total strangers believe in you enough and enjoy your work enough to help bring your project to life. I can also safely say that ripping open a box containing your first factory delivery is fantastically satisfying!

Whilst it was an overall positive experience, there are certain risks attached (not to mention the barrage of criticism I managed to attract!). You can’t go into a crowdfunding campaign thinking you’ll keep every penny for your project; a large portion of any money raised goes to pay the website’s fees and payment processing fees.  I personally used quite a large portion of the money to pay for the fulfilment of my pledge rewards. It’s also very easy to get overly distracted with fulfilling the rewards –after all, you want to make your funders happy but there’s no point focusing on them alone and neglecting the original project!

1333_573474536024081_1525591265_nHow some of the criticisms made me feel… And yes I have a lot of hair!

Criticisms can also be harsh and demoralising. I struggled not to take to heart when I saw total strangers discussing my campaign on the internet and calling my new collection a whim and saying I should wait until I graduate before pursuing any sort of serious lingerie business. It’s important to remember that these are the sorts of things you’ll face whatever you do – it’s important not to trip at the first hurdle!

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From the lookbook of my crowdfunded collection – ‘Ume’ knickers

The hard work all paid off though – the funds raised by the campaign (as well as a sizable chunk of my own savings!) paid for everything I needed to create my new collection – the beautiful fabrics, labels and tags, the flights to visit the factory, the production costs, the photoshoot.   The new collection is beautiful and isn’t something I could have achieved on a similar scale by myself –I’m hoping it will pave the way for more beautiful lingerie in the future and for a successful brand that I can make a living from!

I haven’t been the only one to crowdfund my lingerie brand – here’s a few of the brands who successfully made their projects a reality or who are currently trying to!

Angela Friedman

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Angela Friedman used Kickstarter to fund her SS12 ‘Versailles’ collection-  comprising of sumptuous corsetry and lingerie sets, using deliciously opulent silks, brocades and French laces. Her campaign paid for the fabric and production costs, photoshoot, promotional materials and a presentation of the new collection.

Relique

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Lingerie brand Relique started out selling on Etsy  – their success prompted them to use Kickstarter to fund a new collection to present at the Lingerie Journal’s ‘Designer Showcase’ at the Lingerie Collective in February 2013.  As well as materials and production costs, the funds raised via crowdfunding helped cover their showcase entrance fee.

Sparklewren

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Luxury bespoke corsetiere Sparklewren used Sponsume to raise the funds for a pop-up corsetry boutique in Birmingham in the UK. Funds raised covered materials costs and furnished and decorated the shop. The project was so successful that the pop-up extended beyond its initial planned 6 months into well over a year!

Blackbird Underpinnings

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Lingerie brand ‘Blackbird Underpinnings’ are seeking $37,000 to fund their ‘Maven’ collection. The brand takes its inspiration from the 1920s and 30s and the inspiring women from this era – Edith Piaf, Josephine Baker, Marlene Dietrich and Gabrielle Chanel. Their designs focus on soft pieces with luxurious fabrics, such as silk charmeuse bloomers and rompers.

Ampere

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Ampere are seeking $15000 to launch their second collection, with a focus on every day luxury. It comprises of silk t-shirt bras and matching co-ordinates.  The brand focuses on creating lingerie in a wide range of sizes and on improving the overall lingerie shopping experience.  Their campaign hasn’t finished yet but they have already gone over their funding goal!

Readers: How do you feel about lingerie brands crowdfunding their collections? Have you ever contributed to one of these campaigns?

Karolina

Karolina

Student at De Montfort University's world-renowned Contour Fashion course. Makes many knickers in her spare time.

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Review: Gossard Retrolution Staylo Plunge Bra

Disclosure: The lingerie discussed here was sent to me free of charge for review purposes by Debenhams. All opinions are my own.

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I normally stay away from plunge bras, as I usually prefer the shape that balconettes give my bust. However there was something about Gossard’s ‘Retrolution Staylo’ bra that intrigued me – I love the dramatic ‘V’ wire plunge, the longline shape and vintage aesthetic.  It’s a delicate and feminine looking bra without being overly fussy or girly, and the deep plunge shape makes it a great solution for low front eveningwear.  The Retrolution Staylo bra is available in UK sizes 30D-30G, 32A-38G and retails for £42. The range also features a shaping plunge slip, a waist-cincher knicker, low-rise brief and half cup bra.  Unfortunately the bra is no longer available on the Debenham’s website but the similarly styled bra-slip is currently on sale.

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The bra’s appearance has obvious vintage inspirations – soft blush pink colour palette, longline silhouette delicate darted lace cups and satin panelling.  As well as the fairly standard underwires, it also features a V-shaped plunge wire. It’s finished with a soft organza bow at the centre front, ribbon flags at the strap apexes and gorgeous rose gold components.

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As far as bra construction goes, I was very impressed with this bra –overall it seems very secure and well made. The cups include some very heavy padding, with additional removable cookies.  It gives a very significant ‘boost’ – I felt as if I had gone up two cup sizes when wearing this!  The underband elastic is comfortably wide and the top edge of the bra wings feature silicone grips for extra security.

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I ordered a 30D (my usual bra size) and found that it fit true to size – the underband is comfortably firm and the cups overall offer a good fit. However, with my shallow breast shape I found I needed the additional push up cookies within the cups to completely fill out the bra, otherwise finding that the cups would gap away from my body.  One aspect of the fit that I found particularly interesting was the ‘V’ wire – this ‘opens’ when worn, creating a plunge fit that is deeper and more dramatic than any other commercial bra that I’ve seen.

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The bra held up immaculately after several hand washes, though I would recommend laying the bra flat to dry as the extra padding gets very heavy.  I wouldn’t want to risk putting this through the washing machine, particularly with the additional wire structures!

Personally, I wouldn’t chose this bra for everyday wear (the push up and boost effects make my everyday clothes sit a little strangely!) but this is definitely a great bra for a night out, if you’re looking for a bit of extra boost and something to suit a low plunge top or dress.  I’d love to try the matching waist-cincher brief next – solutions lingerie that actually looks gorgeous is a pretty rare find!

Readers: have you tried Gossard’s lingerie before? How were your experiences?

Karolina

Karolina

Student at De Montfort University's world-renowned Contour Fashion course. Makes many knickers in her spare time.

More Posts - Website