CURVENEWYORK FEBRUARY 2020: Mindsets are Changing
“Inclusivity, bio-economy, empathy, independent thinking, and intelligence seduced the incomers as they stepped on the vast floor of [CURVE].”
The ripe colors of bordeaux and auburn welcomed visitors into CURVENEWYORK in February of 2020 signaling a major shift in mood. The beginning of positive transformation was evident everywhere. Before entering the pavilion a giant collage preambles what to expect inside: a change in mindsets and methods. Inclusivity, bio-economy, empathy, independent thinking, and intelligence seduced the incomers as they stepped on the vast floor of the lingerie trade show pavilion.
The trend forecast by Jos Berry (Founder, Concepts Paris) became a culmination of the CURVENEWYORK event. Her presentation was built around us – women.
As in the timeless Delacroix painting where Liberty led people to freedom, women of today illuminate the industry’s path. The question of how the industry plans to accommodate lady La Liberté came to the foreground. As the dialog between the retailer and consumer continues, it is vital that the retailers and brands are prepared to listen. All too often it is forgotten that listening is an essential part of the dialog.
According to Jos Berry, those are steps to take to win her attention.
- Healing the relationship between her and the bra industry “by listening to her, giving her better information, never blaming her for wearing the wrong bra size but using her unhappiness and un-ease to re-design her bra from scratch.”
- Regenerating connection between department stores and consumers by rethinking the retail space to entertain her lifestyle and her shopping habits.
- Seducing her with new materials, technology and an abundance of information about her lingerie.
- Catering to her primal need to be included in the design, size, style offerings, and advertisement campaigns.
- Studying what comfort means to customers as it’s unique for everyone.
“Intimates industry has a very exciting future with new generations appreciating knowledge, authenticity and clear information about sustainability, which is in bra design above all. It’s a question of the better product with an extended lifecycle and diverse individual ‘comfort’ values, “ said Jos Berry.
The emergence of the new-generation lingerie brands founded by intelligent and empowered women announced a new era in lingerie evolution. The brands, revealing a symbiosis of the masterfully designed collections paired with strong social messages, caught my attention.
Underargument is a London based lingerie brand conceived by Maina Cisse. Her multicultural upbringing and rebellious personality became the foundation of a stunning lingerie collection that combines the empowering design with transparency and graphic accents. A PR agent by trade and an obsessive lingerie lover, Maina turned her vision of the world into a magnificently designed, colored and constructed lingerie line where underGARMENT gave way to UnderARGUMENT.
“For awesome // Against perfect, “For identity // Against stereotypes”, and “For Sexy // Against sexism” are Maina’s lingerie ranges that tell stories of real women.
Maina chooses her models by discovering the most compelling and inspiring life stories and never seeing their faces or knowing their sizes. In my interview with Maina, she said: “If the model comes to the photo-shoot and I don’t have her size, it means that I have some work to do”. Having started with 8 sizes, the range expanded to accommodate bra sizes from 28A to 38E.
In addition to the ethos of authenticity and inclusivity, the collection is a shining example of eco-responsibility. Maina crafts her pieces from the European materials, laces, and embroideries that are known for their sustainable nature. The garments are produced in a factory in Madagascar which was chosen because of the way they care about their staff and provide for the community. The packaging is plastic-free and intricately printed labels can be used as bookmarks.
Entos (a family-owned brand from Mexico) debuted their stunning collection of multifunctional lacy garments and immediately won the hearts of the lingerie lovers. They were elected a Favorite New Brand by CurveNewYork attendees. The scene of goddess-like women move gracefully exposing layers of airy lace attracted visitors to their booth.
“A woman doesn’t have to undress to look sexy,” said Fernanda Menas, a young Mexican designer who manifested the idea of versatility in this rare collection of innerwear garments worn as outerwear. Staying true to her heritage, Fernanda combines design details of authentic Mexican attire with the sporty silhouettes like a bomber jacket or a pleated skirt. Collage of scalloped laces, embroideries, lingerie elastics, tassels, pleating, and valances paint a portrait of a woman who desires to feel and look unique and be comfortable and elegant no matter her age.
Something Wicked became a true discovery for me while I had thought that I was familiar with the brand. The depth of that company goes far beyond the masterfully crafted seductive lingerie and accessories we all admire. As Steff McGrath (Managing Director) described in our interview: “Something Wicked mindset is about the female affirmation, sex positivity, eco-responsibility, and community”.
“I believe that beautiful lingerie should be about taking control of your sexuality and wearing garments that make you feel good about yourself, not something to be worn purely for pleasing a partner,” said Steff McGrath
After acquiring the company in 2016 Steff set on the path of “doing it right”. Something Wicket today is a scalable, no-waste, made to order manufacturer of luxury lingerie and accessories. The company produces all garments in-house in Yorkshire, utilizing local eco-responsible and natural materials. The beautiful accessories on the picture are hand-made by a saddle handler from St Albans. The leather polish is extracted and delivered by an award-winning bee-keeper from London. Local students often visit the factory to learn leather carving craft and witness first-hand ethical ways of local manufacturing.
“It’s about doing the right thing for me, meaning locally, sustainably, and for the community,” said Steff McGrath.
Natalie Begg, a luxury lingerie indy designer from Melbourne, allured me to her booth with handpainted silk pieces which were nothing short of modern works of art. Natalie’s repertoire includes camisoles crafted in peace silk and dyed using organic Australian roses. Adorned with french laces and bias-cut they offer inclusive fit and luxurious comfort.
Among the offerings are evocative hand-painted silk lingerie as well as silk jackets, pants, and hand-painted scarves that can be made to order. Natalie Begg is a noteworthy brand exemplifying the eco-desirable slow fashion. Her garments are crafted to last for generations eliminating a need for overbuying. She even offers to repair her pieces free of charge to extend their lifecycle.
Else – is a Turkish lingerie brand that charms with its lightness and color sophistication. Gentle geometry of lace and architectural lines consent to understated luxury, essential for everyday comfort. But there is much more to Else than meets the eye. The company produces its styles locally while educating and employing women, which now comprise 90% of the company’s staff. Else gives back to Mother Nature by utilizing sustainably produced lace and recycling of the atelier waste.
A collaboration of Else and photographer Emine Gozde Sevim brought to life a #LikeNoOneElse campaign highlighting womens’ individuality and self-preservation. These are stories of real-life heroes living their day to day lives…women like you and me: https://elselingerie.com/pages/likenooneelse
In addition to an exciting collage of the lingerie brands, it was great to see an expanded German Pavilion showcasing luxury legwear houses like Fogal and Falke. New to CURVENEWYORK, textile and lace manufacturers revealed their artistry while encouraging lingerie designers to attend the event. A multitude of lifestyle and loungewear brands exposed their soft side by presenting their cozy and comfy Fall/Winter assortments.
For me, attending the CURVENEWYORK exhibition in February of 2020, became a transformative experience of learning and discovery. I only hope to find more of the new wave lingerie companies with a strong ethos and bio-economic mindset on the next CURVENEWYORK in August of 2020.
Until then…stay inspired.