Making environmentally conscious shopping decisions in today’s retail landscape isn’t as easy as it should be. With Earth Day, April 22, right around the corner, we’re paying a daily homage to notable up-and-coming labels that are rooting their ethos and manufacturing processes in creating sustainable products.
Say it with us: environmentally responsible, pretty, and size inclusive. It’s real. Lara Intimates, a sustainable underwear brand based in London, is trying to bridge the gap between ethical craftsmanship and cute, comfortable products within the lingerie industry.
Trendy underwear on the outside, reclaimed, luxury surplus fabrics on the inside, the two-year-old label is not your run of the mill cotton-based “sustainable” company. London College of Fashion alums (and friends) Faith Leeves and Cindy Liberman launched Lara Intimates in 2016 after spotting a notable lack of sustainable craftsmanship within the industry. Liberman says: “So much design, sampling, and production (for lingerie brands) was done overseas that our skills weren’t valued. We decided to create a sustainable, premium alternative to the high street.”
Under the website’s “About Us” page you’ll find a statement outlining Liberman and Leeve’s steadfast design approach: “We couldn’t find a responsible lingerie factory at a price we liked, so we started our own,” it reads. “We are socially and environmentally conscious at every stage of our supply chain.” Made up of an all-female team, Lara Intimates’ factory in the middle of Central London creates all of the brand’s products in small batches by color and style. According to the designers, everything you order from the label is made in studio utilizing “unused material from large factories or brands,” while elastics and packaging (i.e. garment labels, swing tags) are “made and dyed by responsible suppliers in Britain.” In short, most of Lara Intimates fabrics are deadstock, meaning instead of creating their own textiles, they recycle and reuse factories’ excess for their garments.
But don’t think their efforts have put them a step behind. Lara’s founders are setting out to prove that existing as a fully sustainable brand doesn’t spell out doom for being competitive and effective. When asked whether there have been any unanticipated difficulties in their manufacturing process, the response was a resounding no. “We make and source everything locally, so our logistics are extremely simple,” Liberman explains. “People always ask if it’s cost effective to manufacture in England, but we’re proof that it’s possible! The hardest part about starting your own brand is creating a distinct personality and value set. I think local and sustainable practices really set us apart and make our customers loyal.”
Echoing its mission, Lara Intimates extends beyond responsible practices into offering revolutionary bra sizing for the millions of women wearing the incorrect bra size (hi, yes, most of us). Liberman tells us: “We heard women constantly complaining they can’t find bras that fit properly or comfortably. The majority of our customers are actually women with larger busts (D+) that want wireless bras with support.” Sharing a story about a young female who recently came into their studio on the hunt for a 28F bra that wouldn’t be equivalent to the uncomfortable, poky wire bras she’s worn her entire life, Liberman shared that one fitting with Lara’s Coral Bra was love at first sight for the woman, who ended up buying three. “After the fitting, she messaged us on Instagram saying she was seriously considering breast reduction surgery, but ‘now that I have found your bras, I love my boobs again.’ That’s how I want every woman to feel in our pieces — like they love their boobs!” While the brand’s current size range runs from 28A to 36E, the founders are working to expand the offering from 26A to a 36J.
Ahead, get to know some of our favorite pieces from Lara Intimates. And if you’re looking for a more IRL experience, U.K. readers should stay on the lookout: Liberman and Leeves recently converted a retro mini bus into a mobile shop to road trip around in next season. “It’s bright pink with boobs painted on the outside and has two fitting rooms. This summer we’re road tripping across the United Kingdom, offering bra fittings to as many women as we can!”
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