Photography by Chloe Mallet
Fashion Direction and interview by Ursula Lake
Make Magazine meets up with Cindy and Faith, the duo behind their sustainable and size inclusive underwear brand, Lara Intimates to find out more about the label.
Cindy and Faith met at the London College of Fashion, boldly launching their label in 2017 following a successful kick starter campaign which gave them the capital and the customers base that they needed to start trading, only a year after they had left university.
The pair did an internship year as part of their course, which had a very direct impact on them and helped them both to feel that they had learned what they needed to start their own brand. They would have long distance phone calls (while Faith was working on startup swimwear brand in Australia) and the concept of Lara Intimates was created during these late night and early morning telephone calls.
Cleverly, the pair used their final year at LCF to form the basis of the brand as their final project. Faith explains: ‘Cindy and I have very different skill sets which is why our collaboration both at LCF and Lara Intimates, really works. During the internship, we discovered that I felt really comfortable in the design, pattern cutting and manufacturing side of the business whereas Cindy found her niche in the role of marketing and PR’.
The sustainability credentials of the brand are impressive. They manufacture in London with the additional components of the garments also coming from the UK. They use ‘dead stock’ fabric that otherwise would have ended up in landfill and only manufacture in small batches based on demand and every last scrap of fabric is in the production of another garment. Interestingly, because they offer a huge, inclusive and democratic variety of sizes (in bras they manufacture from a 26A to a 36I) they find that the customers are happy and prepared to wait sometimes a couple of weeks for their order, particularly when they understand the environmental meaning behind that ‘delay’. This means that sometimes the underwear is often more or less ‘made to order’ which obviously makes a huge impact on both stock and textile waste.
The use of ‘dead stock’ fabric means that the new colours arrive naturally and organically when old colours run out, however, their core styles stay the same. This means that a customer can buy a new coloured bra in a style and size that they already know and feel comfortable in, a reassuring fact in the often, traumatic arena of underwear shopping where thoughts about environmental concerns are often sidelined just to find something that fits.
‘We don’t do seasons and we don’t do trends, we try to think about what women want to wear. I don’t see myself as a fashion designer but a product designer because, after all, a bra has a functional use. In terms of sizing, we manufacturer things with a detail of 0.1mm so it’s actually quite precise and scientific. For me it’s also far more interesting to work in this way rather than to just create designs based on trend’ says Faith.
Unwittingly the pair admit that they have stumbled upon a niche area of producing bras for women who are slight and slender but with a very large bust. ‘We have a friend who begged us to just make something, anything to support her 32 I frame. She confided to us that the deciding factor in her bra purchases was to choose the one that hurt the least. When I heard that, I thought, enough! We have to do something to help these women, and it’s also interesting to challenge our design and pattern cutting to make sure that we are really answering their needs’, says Faith.
Cindy says ‘We also love that we are able to hire and train women and pay them well for their work. We are really proud of the collaborative community of workers that has been put together created from our idea. That feels really great and it’s so great to see the business grow. We get a lot of emails from customers telling them how the underwear has helped to change their perception of their body for the better. We are very proud too that we are able to produce beautiful products in an ethical way and that those same products have positively impacted on (and sometimes even changed) someone life feels incredible’.
We couldn’t agree more!
Shop the collection at www.laraintimates.com
Hair by Craig Taylor at One Represents and Hari’s hair.
Makeup by www.soniadeveney.com using Caudalie
Model: Charlie Rump at Storm Models