Luxury brand Lonely is launching its first-ever maternity range, so co-founder Helene Morris talked to Jihee Junn about how and why it’s catering to mothers (as well as busting a couple of bra-based myths in the process).
Last year, Auckland-based lingerie brand Lonely went viral for a simple ad campaign featuring two women in their underwear sitting in a bathroom. Except the two women were Jemima Kirke and Lena Dunham, stars of HBO’s hit show Girls, and the images were completely unretouched: a remarkably shocking sight to a public long conditioned to Photoshop perfection.
For Lonely, who takes its mission to celebrate “the strength and individuality of women” very seriously, body positivity, female empowerment and unwavering inclusivity are the biggest drivers behind the brand’s reputation. And in an age where ‘fem-vertising’ (when done right) has become marketing gold, it’s a tactic that so far seems to have worked for Lonely, propelling the brand to global fame alongside the likes of Victoria’s Secret and Agent Provocateur – companies that sit a whole lot closer to the traditional ‘sex sells’ set of brand values.
Ultimately, Lonely is a brand that thrives on unapologetic femininity, and what’s more unapologetically feminine than the miracle of motherhood? “Motherhood is a time when women give over their bodies and a large part of their identity to another being,” says Lonely co-founder and lead designer Helene Morris following the launch of its maternity range. “Lingerie requirements can often feel symbolic of this process [and our maternity range] is designed to make mothers feel special and beautiful at a time when they’re often forced to compromise their choices.”
Like women with uniquely petite or curvy body shapes, Lonely identified a market that not only had consumer demand, but was consistent with its mission to be empowering and inclusive. “We knew there was demand from our existing customer base who had expressed frustration at the fact that nobody was offering beautiful, mother-focused pieces,” says Morris. “We really wanted to be able to support our customers in this part of their journey. It was important to us that the product be fully functional throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding without compromising our Lonely aesthetic.”
“We also felt a responsibility to represent our women in a truthful way. We were sick of seeing stereotypical maternity imagery without a caesarean scar, stretch mark, or post-baby tummy in sight.”
As with most maternity wear, Lonely’s range targeted at mothers and mothers-to-be features details such as clips above the cup for easy access to feeding, cups lined with soft antimicrobial bamboo, and an additional hook and eyes in the back band to account for fluctuations in size.
“We knew that if we were going to introduce a maternity product, it had to be the most comfortable on the market. Practicality is key at this time, and comfort is a given,” says Morris. “However, we also believe that lingerie can have an emotional connection, the ability to make the wearer feel wonderful, confident and strong…we hope to help our customers to retain a little of their own identity and feel beautiful, no matter how much they’ve gone through, or continue to go through during the early days of motherhood.”
Your bra-based questions finally answered
In addition to getting the lowdown from Lonely on their new maternity range, Helene Morris also addressed some of the burning questions (and outrageous myths) associated with the world of lingerie.
What’s the right way to wash a bra?
We’d suggest washing in a lingerie bag or gently hand washing. Not washing too frequently, not drying in harsh sunlight, and wearing the correct size. All of this combined will help your pieces last longer.
The stretch or elastane in lingerie may break down over time, but [customers can be confident that] all of our bras go through an extensive wear-testing program.
Is ‘breaking in’ underwear actually a thing?
Well made lingerie shouldn’t stretch excessively out of shape. You should never feel like you are having to ‘break in’ a bra. As the thing you wear closest to your body, you want it to be comfortable from the first wear.
Do 80% of women really wear the wrong bra size?
We don’t have any exact figures, but anecdotally, it sounds right.
We find that many women with larger busts assume that beautiful lingerie won’t cater to them. Opening up our size range has been a real focus for us over the past few years – we’ve expanded our range to 30 sizes and now offer up to a G-cup in our most popular underwire styles.
Is it really bad for you if you sleep with your bra on? (ie: will you die from cancer)
I’m not sure there are any firm statistics on that. We find that women prefer not to sleep in an underwire bra, and there’s generally no need to. We recently launched seamless bamboo crop tops which are soft and comfortable enough to sleep in if our customers do feel like they need that little bit of extra support.
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