Startup brand Negative Underwear has adopted the mission to completely change the lingerie game for women. Launched by Lauren Schwab and Marissa Vosper almost two years ago, the line includes a range of bras, panties and some separates like tees and tanks that have been meticulously wear-tested for optimal fit, function and comfort - and as a couple of fashion-obsessed girls, they haven't skimped on design either.
As Marissa describes #TheStruggle, it seems so obvious. Why are we settling for these half-baked bras designed by companies that often have breast-less men at the helm? What do dudes know about living with boobs?
"When Lauren and I looked at the marketplace we saw a polarized industry," says Marissa. "On the one side, we saw these really beautiful luxury labels that were so delicate and ornamented, most of the time you weren't supposed to wear them under clothing. Most women probably couldn't afford them for everyday use. On the other side, pieces you could afford to have in your drawer on an everyday basis, we saw either these really padded, pink, ruffled everything, glittered push-up bras that felt like a different era, like things that we loved when we were 16 that didn't feel reflective of a girl living in 2015.
"We saw these boring basics that probably most women defaulted to but didn't have any sense of design or aesthetic or cool factor. They certainly didn't feel anything like pieces you would want to wear out on a date or without clothing. We thought it was so interesting that women had constantly settled for something that they didn't really love. So we wanted to make this brand for the contemporary woman that she could really love putting on every morning and taking off every night."
To solve the problem, Lauren and Marissa embarked on a four-year product development journey that they balanced on top of their full-time jobs. The process involved in-depth field research (a k a trying on every bra in every Manhattan lingerie shop) and surveying 1,000 of their female Facebook friends to see what was most important to them when they were buying undergarments (fit, function and comfort were the winners). Lauren and Marissa attended trade shows in New York and Paris and sourced top materials from Europe, using those materials to create styles modeled off their own loved-but-no-longer-available bras, tweaking and adjusting to make them perfect. Marissa and Lauren wore and tested the samples themselves, and when they were finally satisfied, they invited over friends with boobs sizes 32A to 36D to try on their bras and offer feedback.
A brief try-on sesh is enough to get you hooked: The mesh fabric is super smooth and gently hugs your curves (it never gaps or squeezes your twins), and the elastics are strong but never pinch. And the streamlined silhouette just looks awesome. Wearing a bra that fits well and feels comfortable is sexier than any ribbons or lace. And at the end of the day, isn't that what everyone wants from their lingerie?
"We felt the opportunity was to create a much more pared-back, minimalist product, and we knew that if we removed all those bells and whistles, that the pieces that remained had to be extraordinary," Marissa says. "So we were unwilling to compromise on something as small as a hook and eye. We really thought about all the components, getting rid of anything that didn't need to be there and then making sure the parts that remained were the best they possibly could be."
To push this message, Marissa and Lauren created the #SUPPORTTHEGIRLS campaign, "a collaboration that celebrates women" with Girls I Know, a digital platform that provides a forum for women to share positive messages. The photo series shows normal women modeling each bra size available from Negative Underwear to highlight the painstakingly developed functionality of their lingerie.
"We're not trying to push you up with lots of padding and add adornment with lots of bows and change the way you look, it's made to enhance what you have," says Lauren.
"We really wanted to put forward a much more modern point of view on what sexy is and what beautiful is," Marissa adds. "We really define that through the lens of confidence and comfort in your own skin, so we wanted to create this really beautiful representation of women across age, cup size and body type, feeling comfortable and confident and beautiful in their own skin. Because to us, that's really the goal of good underwear."
Our girls couldn't have said it better themselves.