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Highlights from Lingerie Fashion Week A/W 2014: Clare Bare Lingerie

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A couple of years ago, Clare Herron, founder and designer of Clare Bare Lingerie, moved from NYC to LA. Though it's been a few seasons since I last saw Clare Bare, this new collection is obviously influenced by the vibes of Los Angeles. My first (and second and third) impression of this new range is that it's very bright, very beachy, and very young. There is a certain freshness in simplicity here. Clare Herron is using tried-and-true silhouettes recognizable from her Etsy shop; the tie-dye print is reminiscent of ocean ripples and the ombré tones remind me of desert sunsets.

However, I also wonder if there's a certain something lacking here. While the collection is very tight and very cohesive (a sign of Herron's maturity as a designer), I'm not sure it's very marketable. I honestly don't know if this range will have much reach beyond Clare Herron's new home state of California or her customer base (i.e. if any lingerie boutiques would pick her up).

That's not to say it's a bad collection. Many of these pieces are quite pretty, and it's important for a designer to know who their target audience is. It may very well be that Clare Herron has found her people and isn't interested in being more editorial, directional, or commercial. If the customers who buy her products love where the brand is going, then that's awesome, and she should keep doing the same thing. It just strikes me as incredibly niche, especially compared to some of her earlier work. Again, as with the other indie LingerieFW designers we covered, there was excellent styling and use of space here. This is a brand that created a mood and gave us insight into who the Clare Bare woman might be. I'm just left to wonder what the buyers' reactions were.

What do you think of Clare Bare A/W 2014? Do you think my review is on target... or is it missing the point?

All photos copyright of The Lingerie Addict.

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Cora Harrington

Founder and Editor in Chief of The Lingerie Addict. Author of In Intimate Detail: How to Choose, Wear, and Love Lingerie. I believe lingerie is fashion too, and that everyone who wants it deserves gorgeous lingerie.

11 Comments on this post

  1. Isha Webb says:

    I have been a fan of Clares line since 2008 when I saw her in a video for Janome Threadbanger but I have to agree it seems like the collection is extremely niche. My 20 something self loved this sort of thing but now not so much, I’ll look but wouldnt buy. I understand the whole ethical thing but the lack of production is probably holding the line back form a greater potential.

  2. Kassy says:

    I love these! I am so not a california surfer beach girl, but I love the look of all the panties. I find each piece is so interesting and you can tell this is a collection. I love the cohesiveness. Just by looking at the photos I can tell each piece is made with care, quality, and attention to fit. What does the front of the black garter dress look like? I love the back!

    I am definitely going to have to try out her underwear, they look so cute!

    • Cora says:

      The venue was *so* crowded that we weren’t able to get a front shot, but if I remember correctly, that garter tank follows the same design as her current garter tanks, seen here: Very simple. Very straightforward. But definitely a classic and a piece you can wear a lot of different ways.

      I also own some of ClareBare’s panties, and they are awesome. Highly recommend!

  3. Lauren says:

    I could easily see this at urban outfitters.

    • Cora says:

      Hmmm…I could see that regarding style, but I don’t think Urban Outfitters would ever actually stock Clare Bare. The brand’s manufacturing processes and ethics simply aren’t a good fit. I believe Urban Outfitters would be more likely to do a knock-off (a la this Oye inspired piece) than purchase directly from Clare Herron herself.

      There’d be two reasons for that: 1) Clare Bare still produces all items individually by hand (as opposed to a factory), and so I believe they’d just be unable to meet the demands of a major national brand like Urban Outfitters. You have to have infrastructure in place to fulfill that capacity and those orders. 2) Clare Bare is an ethical label. Ethical sourcing and production (understandably) adds to cost. Likely, the first thing a major retailer would ask Clare Bare to scrap is that ethical manufacturing in order to cut production costs and increase profit.

      Anyway, thanks for taking the time to comment!

      • jessa says:

        While the handmade process might be an issue in terms of stock, urban outfitters europe has stocked mimi holliday and princess tam tam in the past, which are at a higher price point, so I don’t know that cost in itself is a problem. I definitely think the aesthetic would fit in at uo. I’d like to see a bit more of that tie dye body suit and the slip in the top picture. Also, if the garters on the lace up garter belt are removable, it would double up nicely as a high waist belt.

        • Cora says:

          No, no…I must not have been clear. I’m not talking about consumer cost, but production and manufacturing costs, i.e. profit margins. They’re going to be lower for a brand like ClareBare because of how Clare produces than for a brand like Mimi Holliday. And that’s where a larger company like Urban Outfitters would likely first look to cut costs (and increase profits).

  4. Evija says:

    Hey, why not? I live in Northern Europe and I’d love to wear a sunset on my bum! :D And that suspender belt.. wawa wiwa! And it seems quite affordable too, so really, I think it’ll do just fine :)

    • Cora says:

      That’s a fair point. In the depths of winter, many people might actually crave a taste of summer. I own quite a few Clare Bare pieces (her panties are so comfortable); I just don’t know if she’s reaching a new customer base (or new stockists) with this current collection.

      • Evija says:

        Reached me. However, I think that, especially for such niche products, it’s better to have a smaller loyal customer base than a larger group of one-time buyers. Well, applies for anything, really. And since I think that in this case a larger audience might mean she has to alter the production methods (?) to make more and that may contradict the whole ethical thing, as you commented in other replies, possibly turning loyal customers away, so I guess things are fine the way they are :)

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