As a lingerie designer, people often tell me my work sounds like a ‘dream job.’ An aura of fantasy and glamour surrounds the fashion industry. However, the reality is lingerie design can be pretty boring most of the time, with very little creativity involved at all.
2016 has come to a close and over the past year, the plus size lingerie industry has seen some positive changes that I would love to see continue through 2017 and some not-so-great moments I want to leave in 2016. When looking back on the past year of plus size lingerie, I think about it in two distinct ways: what innovations and styles were made for plus size lingerie products and how were those products sold to consumers.
The subject of pricing is perhaps one of the most emotionally fraught topics in the lingerie world. Consumers are often convinced they’re paying too much for lingerie, while brands and retailers frequently believe their margins are too small. Furthermore, it is true that margins in the lingerie industry are among the narrowest in the fashion world; an absence of automation combined with specialty fabrics and hire R & D costs all mean that lingerie is incredibly expensive to produce…far more than a t-shirt or a pair of jeans.
Helena Stuart, founder, owner, and designer of Only Hearts, does as much work as you’d expect from a woman who has led a company for almost 40 years. Every hour is filled with effortless flitting between fabric choices, retail delivery dates, cost and margin management, color development and more. There is no visible anxiety or stressed-out vibes here. Helena does it all, and makes it look easy.
Since my last article on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, we’ve seen quite a few updates. On October 24th, VS officially announced this year’s show would be held in Paris. On October 26th, they unveiled the 2016 Fantasy Bra, worn by Jasmine Tookes and encrusted with over 9,000 precious gems. On October 28th, they released the show’s full model lineup. Yet the big question, at least for me, is if VS will be able to overcome their abysmal ratings from 2015. At its peak, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show could claim over 12 million viewers. Now they’re just barely over 6.5 million, and viewership dropped more than 30% in a single year between the 2014 and 2015 shows.