Lingerie allows us to freely express ourselves, even when we don’t want to project these emotions to the outside world. It enables us to express the multiple facets of personalities we have and help subtly reveal the feelings of body adornment, self-empowerment, and creativity. (I discuss this more in depth in the piece Lingerie and Female Empowerment)
As women, we want to feel effortlessly sexy and nothing is as personal as what we wear underneath. There are a growing number of lingerie brands, started by entrepreneurial women, reshaping the way we look at our intimate apparel.
Naja is an intimate apparel company aimed at making a social impact through the empowerment of women. The brand’s mission is to provide opportunities for underprivileged women.
Created by Catalina Girald and Gina Rodriguez, their garment factory primarily employs single mothers and female heads of households. The company has also created the ‘Underwear for Hope’ program, where they employ women living in impoverished parts of Columbia to make lingerie bags, offering above market wages and health benefits to their employees.
“This program allows marginalized women, who would otherwise have difficulty finding employment opportunities, to work from home and become their own “micro-entrepreneurs”
ThirdLove is an innovative lingerie brand that believes comfort and fit should come first. Co-founder Heidi Zak wanted to reinvent the way women are measured for bras. Rather than using standard measurements, the company developed signature half-cup sizes.
The brand has completely changed the way women buy bras. They released a patented mobile sizing app to allow women to check their bust measurements at home. ThirdLove is challenging notorious companies, such as Victoria Secret, and revolutionizing and challenging traditional bra sizes.
“We believe the world is ready for a modern woman’s idea of sexy. Be sexy for yourself, be comfortable, and be supported through your busy day at school, at work, as a mother, and all the other moments in between. Our mission is to empower all women to feel comfortable and confident every day.”
3. Nubian Skin
Nubian Skin bridges the gap and embraces all skin tones. Nude bras are often only manufactured and sold in lighter shades, therefore not matching the different skin tones of most African American women.
“A major frustration I had was when I wanted to wear something sheer or of light color was that it was very, very hard to find something that blended seamlessly underneath,” said Ade Hassan, founder of Nubian Skin.
During the brands photoshoot, Dancer Victoria Lamm expressed her embarrassment of when she was younger and couldn’t find the proper undergarment color to match her tone. “Before I got on stage, I had to ask my mom to tea stain my underwear, so when I’d get on stage the underwear would be the right color but I would stink of tea.”
Nubian Skin offers four shades: Berry (darkest), Cinnamon (medium-dark), Caramel (medium-light), and Cafe au Lait (lightest). The brand is helping to revolutionize and reinvent the nude bra.
4. Blackbird Underpinnings
Blackbird Underpinnings is an intimate apparel brand manufactured in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its uniqueness and charm stem from their 1920’s inspirations it draws on. The brand is founded on the ideas of authenticity, creative self expression, and empowerment, which all exemplify the revolutionary fashions occuring during the roaring twenties and flapper era.
“We hope that these sumptuous garments will inspire fervent expressions of confidence and poise—a reminder that the simple act of dressing oneself is at once creative and revolutionary.”
Their MAVEN collection consists of 5 pieces and embodies the Blackbird Underpinnings spirit. The pieces use a wire-free design, embodying a silky comfort. The collection mixes and matches velvets and silks, to create weightless items that leave your body feeling free and unrestricted.
5. Neon Moon
Embracing female empowerment and positive body image is feminist lingerie brand New Moon. With the narrow beauty standard in today’s society, they are able to break those barriers and create a lingerie brand that helps women see the value in themselves, affirming self-worth.
“When stretch marks, body hair, cellulite, scars, freckles and acne would usually be retouched away, Neon Moon embraces them. It is exactly those that make a woman beautiful to us – we want you to love yours as much as we love them!”
CEO and founder Hayat Rachi was bullied relentlessly in school for her appearance. “I already know I’ve got curly Moroccan hair, a big nose, small breasts and body hair!” Rachi wanted to create a brand that helped women break away from the societal standard of beauty. Neon Moon was constructed with a focus on body acceptance, so that other young women did not feel the pressure to adhere to societies standards of body image.