Designer Spotlight: Rouge Séduire
“Glamourous, stylish and provocative, Rouge Seduire’s first collection is inspired by old school glamour and iconic modern architecture of New York City.”
“It all started with a bra,” muses designer Sharon Fan of her entry into the world of lingerie design. Inspired by the lace and beauty of a La Perla bra, a gift to herself, Sharon decided to try her hand at creating her own lingerie set. The idea of crafting intimate apparel like the La Perla bra that brought so much pleasure and self-confidence resonated with her so much, that she’s never stopped designing.
Fast forward a few years, Sharon now has her own luxury lingerie brand — Rouge Séduire. Her hope is to help inspire, excite and make women feel special with her own brand of Seduction. We caught up with Sharon to talk about how her dreams started and what it’s like to start and run your own lingerie brand.
All About Rouge Séduire
Above: Rouge Séduire Rose Bra.
Could you tell our readers who might not be familiar with your collection what Rouge Séduire is all about?
Rouge Séduire is all about the excitement! We like to push design boundries to create that excitement. It’s a little risky and a lot fun. Some lingerie brands are all about models, some are all about the fit…Rouge Séduire is a combination of aesthetics and craftsmanship that connects with consumers on an emotional level.
What are the distinguishing characteristics of Rouge Séduire?
Beautiful lines and geometric shapes really make us unique. A good design captures people’s imagination in just a few seconds. We make the design speak for itself. You will see a lot of daring experimentations from Rouge Séduire in the near future.
How do you feel retailers could take advantage of a collection like Rouge Séduire?
I think Rouge Séduire can help retailers to explore a niche market. Our customers are those who appreciate design and luxury and they have a very specific taste and they know what they want. Made in New York also makes us very special because the brand itself reflects the image of New York women: modern, fun and fearless.
Above: Rouge Séduire at Lingerie Fashion Week. Photgraph by Stephen Wilson Photography.
What is the most important thing you and your team took into consideration when designing the collection?
The most important part is how to create a unique look that is technically possible and ideal for production. Bra design is a very technical and precise process. A luxurious silk bra is beautiful but takes longer to sew, not to mention the number of pieces to put together if it is a properly fit, unlined, cut and sew bra. We always take into consideration the time to produce a bra. This is why a constructed, unlined cut and sew bra costs much more than other bras. It takes a lot of time to sew 30 little pieces together and turn it into a bra. These silk bras take three hours to sew and four machines. A constructive cut and sew silk bra is the hard to make because silk wrinkles so easily.
Rouge Séduire has a very distinctive look and feel. How do you think retailers and customers will react to the collection?
Yes, Rouge Séduire design has a very distinctive look, strong yet romantic. Customers may just want to try it on, see how it looks and feels. It’s really fun and unusual! Our designs can be worn at a party, on a date, or even at work. We are a very young brand and we love to experiement. I think retailers would not be surprised to have Rouge Séduire as one of their bestsellers.
Can you talk a bit about the materials used in the collection?
We use a lot of elastics on the designs. Simple black lines against skin gives a strong look. In design, we always say “form follows function.” This is also true in lingerie design — each piece must be designed with a purpose.
A couple of our designs are made out of silk charmeuse. I feel that the combination of red and black silk is very sexy and luxurious. This is the main color combination for Rouge Séduire’s line right now.
We also have a limited edition fringe set. A fringe bra has a burlesque touch that makes a woman want to dance in it.
Above: Rouge Séduire Tulip Bondage Bra. Photo by Stephen Wilson Photography.
“Rouge Séduire is a combination of aesthetics and craftsmanship that connects with consumers on an emotional level”
Where is Rouge Séduire manufactured? Why?
We make all our products in-house. This is the best way to make sure our products keep the original sample quality. I’ve tried to find factories in New York for production but soon learned that very few factories here have the ability to produce well constructed bras. Production outsourcing to Asia really killed factories in the US. This is probably why you see that the most beautiful bras are made in Europe. I do not want to sacrifice quality over price, so I bought machines and started my own production line.
How long did it take you to bring Rouge Séduire to life from concept to first samples?
It took about three months.
What can a retailer ordering Rouge Séduire expect? What can their customers expect?
Well designed, well made and well fitted lingerie.
Above: Rouge Séduire founder and designer, Sharon Fan at LingerieFW.
“After I saw my first sample bra, I was seduced by it.”
When did you first become interested in lingerie?
I would say a couple years ago when I got my first La Perla bra. It was beautiful and so well fitted to my body; it made me feel special. That’s when I really become interested in lingerie.
Were you always on track to become an intimates designer? What led you to intimates?
My background is in graphic design. I received my BFA from Parsons School of Design and worked in graphic design and cosmetics packaging. I guess it all started with that La Perla bra that I bought. As a designer, I always have the desire to learn how things are made.
I figured, to make a similar bra wouldn’t cost me more than a La Perla bra’s retail price and it’d be my own design. So I started designing a couple of pieces and had them made in a sample room in New York. The pieces turned out beautiful, I just kept on going ever since then.
Above: Rouge Séduire Lily Bralette. Photo by Stephen Wilson Photography.
Do you listen to music when you work? If so, what?
Yes, I do listen to music when I work on fabrics or retouching photos but not so much when I draw; I guess I just need to be more focused when I design.
I listen to any music with a nice beat. I usually just turn on the radio and listen to whatever is playing, I listen to Z100 a lot.
What would you be doing if you weren’t designing?
Marketing is a lot of fun, if I weren’t designing I would get a degree in Marketing and start a new venture.
Could you tell us how your experiences shaped the development of Rouge Séduire?
I enjoy the process to create something from nothing. At the beginning, I just wanted to make bras and panties for myself and see if I could sell them online. I made a couple samples that turned out nice and I had to design more to have a photoshoot, have a name for it, build a website and have a show. So I just kept doing what I enjoy, finally it turned into a collection. I took some risks and learned a few lessons.
Above: Rouge Seduire Mimi Bra.
How supportive has your family and friends been as you’ve worked to bring Rouge Séduire to life?
My family and friends are very supportive. They help with anything they can because they believe in what I’m doing. I really think I’m blessed to have them. They say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.
How do you come to the name Rouge Séduire?
After I saw my first sample bra, I was seduced by it. It’s a silk bra, red and black color combination; it looks very seductive. Rouge means “red” in French and Séduire means “to seduce.”
My most favorite piece is a bra.
What lingerie designers and/or brands inspire you?
La Perla and Zac Posen inspire me and I also like classic designer brands.
What other passions do you have? How do they affect you as a designer?
My other passions include photography, architecture and cooking. Photography helped me to understand elements in visual imaging. I editted my look book images with photoshop, that’s a useful skill to have. I’ve also been affected by the architecture of New York, incorporating it into my designs.
The Business of Lingerie
Above: Rouge Séduire Tulip bra.
What is the biggest challenge in designing and launching a new brand
“Rouge means ‘red’ in French and Séduire means ‘to seduce.'”
The biggest challenge in design is knowing what to keep and what to leave out. When designing a collection, I need each design to have a unique voice. I’m still learning as to what design style is best suited for the brand.
Biggest challenge to launch a new brand is to start a production line. This is something I had never expected to do, but after a few unsucessful tries with local factories, I decided to build a production line myself. I am very glad I got the help from my family to start the production line.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a designer? Any technical obstacles you encountered?
Time is very valuable in this business. In general I wouldn’t want to sell a bra that takes more than one hour to finish production of, considering the labor costs. If it takes forever to sew it up, it’s probably not a good idea to make it.
Above: Rouge Séduire at LinerieFW presentation. Photo by Stephen Wilson Photography.
Also, machines need to be in perfect condition. Yes, I had problems with machines and machine parts. I had over 10 exchanges with the machine supplier in two months. The machine supplier was very helpful, finally got the perfect machines and parts I needed.
Looking for a skilled seamstress is also a long journey. Most seamstresses can sew ready-to-wear, but bra construction is not that simple. I’m lucky to have found someone very experienced.
Where do you see Rouge Séduire being sold here in the US and/or abroad?
I think anywhere from US to Asia to Europe.
Could you tell us what’s next for Rouge Séduire?
More designs. You will see some new lingerie pieces like a bodysuit and slips.
Contact Rouge Séduire
For all of our readers that want to learn more about Rouge Séduire, who should they call to learn about wholesale information? Who should they call about samples for press?