This year is very special to me. First, It’s the first time in 22 years that I am not going to school. It’s the time for me to take advantage of everything I have learnt from myself and from others to go chase my dreams. 2019 feels like the year of opportunities. Everything I have been working for is finally happening and it’s amazing.
As you have seen from my last article, I got the opportunity to go to the Salon International de la lingerie last month. Well, I was invited to participate in a great panel organized by Kimmay Caldwell, about a subject, I am passionate about : the intersection between fit and function in lingerie.
[Photo credit: Becky Yee]
Kimmay also invited three other amazing women: Noa Mondshein, Kristine Eckart and Taryn Winters. Together we discussed size ranges, the difficulty of adapting patterns from core size to full bust or plus size, the importance of fashion elements vs practicality, diversity, fashion trends and even personal experience as people wearing lingerie. The richness of this panel was brought by the diversity of background and point of views. Every one of us come from a different sides of the industry and it was very interesting to hear about everybody’s experience. Kimmay is an Undergarment Educator, known in the industry for being a bra fitter, a writer but also for frequently appearing on TV. Noa is a store owner with a huge fashion background as a designer and business woman. Kristine is the Operations and Marketing Manager for Easton International (the company that represents Aubade, Berlei, Bluebella, Falke, Gossard, and Pretty Polly). Taryn is the designer behind the luxury brand Taryn Winters. And then, there was me, a full busted scientist who happened to also be a full time lingerie and fashion blogger, and a writer.
It’s safe to say that we all had different perspectives. This panel made me realize even more that it’s amazing that the industry is so diverse. That some brands focus on design rather than fit, some focus on fit rather than fashion trends, and that one size in one brand isn’t necessarily the same fit in another brand. All the things that are annoying sometimes are also beneficial in some ways.
It was also good to talk about the cultural differences that the industry now has to overcome to be considered relevant. The modern customer is now interested in having options, in feeling represented, in being listened to. Social media completely changed the way fashion is perceived and publicity channels are different too.
I loved to hear people questions and talk about things we usually don’t talk about publicly in this industry (like how lingerie boutiques have a communication issue and don’t necessarily reach out customers efficiently…). This panel felt like a safe space to ask questions and share experiences.It was also interesting to hear that many professionals really want to find the best way to help customers but just lack the appropriate approach. Not only in the full bust and plus size lingerie niches, but with every customer. Because, finding lingerie that makes you feel great is the concern of everybody who wears lingerie.
We also addressed the fact that comfort is subjective, and that fit isn’t an exact science.
That it is good to have compassion and to be attentive to customers. Respect and consent were also important subjects. And I love 2019 already. I love to see this industry evolving the way it is.
The Salon de la lingerie was a beautiful experience. It was an honour to be included in this panel and I met so many amazing women. Honestly the next time you see an article saying that the lingerie industry is run mostly by men, please don’t even open it. It’s isn’t a competition, but clearly the ratio wasn’t 50-50. Women were the majority of the people I came across (and I haven’t seen all the seamstresses behind the scene). Now that I think about it, it’s the same when I go to Curve NY. Women are working to make this industry what it is now and what it will become. I can’t wait to see what’s next.