As the designer/founder of With Love Lingerie, I draw my inspiration from my background in Visual Art and English Literature. After earning my B.A. at the University of Western Ontario, I studied fashion. I then worked with several North American lingerie, evening wear and private label companies.
My design and technical skills were recognized by the Canadian fashion community and in the Fall 2012 issue of Flare magazine I was named an up-and-coming designer.
In 2010, “With Love Lingerie” was born. A line that marries my love of design from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s with my signature modern femininity.
What inspired you to become a lingerie designer?
The fabrics! I enjoy design in general and the more I learned about fabrics I was drawn to soft mesh, lace and silks. It is also a challenge, I have to use my technical fitting skills to make pieces that have fit but also look graceful. I am constantly testing new fabrics, learning new drafting techniques and reading up on upcoming fashion trends.
What makes your designs different from others?
I acknowledge the different sides of a woman. Each collection I create isn’t necessarily for a different woman but for the same woman just the different parts of her sensuality. She is glamorous in her Kimono of black and dusty pink, she’s a goddess in her Greta gown, she’s soft in her cream Beatrice Babydoll and powerful in her Courage bustier.
Do you wear your own products?
I definitely wear my own products. I am often my own guinea pig and test out new ideas by making a mock and wearing it to see if the fit, stretch, comfort all work out. I also really enjoy layering my pieces for outerwear. For example I was photographed for a fashion blog in my black sheer Greta Gown (with underlayers of course) when attending the Canadian Opera Gala this past winter.
What’s your favourite lingerie brand (not your own!) and why?
I really like Bordelle Lingerie as it is both strong but sensual and just delightfully clever. But I also really like Dotties Delights as I know that the designer Stephanie is very hands on and still sews many of her pieces despite her growing stocklist and popularity. Her newest collection has a 1960’s type frothy chiffon full length robe that is to die for! Super frou frou and the pastel glam girl in me melts to look at it!
Do you think there’s enough choice for D+ sizes?
I think there are more and more choices being offered for D+ sizes. Many indie companies offer a great range in bras like Dotties Delights and Dirty Dolls lingerie. But the customer has to be willing to find them and also willing to pay the price. Pieces for D+ cup sizes take more engineering and often a lot more behind the scenes research and development that customers may not understand. Many of my pieces like the Kimono, gown, chemise and waspies are built to avoid excluding both the full busted and smaller busted women.
Are you happy with the way lingerie is sized? If not what changes would you like to see?
I size according to my market. Because I target a sophisticated and lux woman who loves lingerie with a fashion twist I do not size traditionally like 32B, etc. I base my sizing on the piece itself. Some things like my Greta Gown or Kimono span several sizes for example s/m, m/l, l/xl
The industry will only change if customers demand it. Rather than wish the lingerie industry would change I wish women would embrace the pieces rather than focusing on what size is on the labels.
What advice would to give to an aspiring lingerie designer?
Apprentice! Seriously, I learned so much about construction and the ways to manipulate and draft lingerie from apprenticing and from there your design boundaries are non-existent. You can be so much more creative when you understand how things will be put together. You can successfully break rules when you know the rules backwards and forwards.
How do you get your inspirations for new collections?
I really enjoy soaking in movies and music to set my design mind in motion. Also, truly relaxing and enjoying life is a real inspiration for me. Sitting at a bistro with a glass of wine and chatting with friends, horseback riding and reading novels clears my head off all the “business” of fashion that can be cloying and allows the designer in me to get moving.
My fall/winter 2013 collection was designed on a trip to Scotland where I toured the rugged highlands and medieval castles. Taking design cues from manor home portraits and decorative details, the designs encapsulate not only the majesty of the country but represent the prideful and noble women through the country’s tumultuous history.
Do you use paper and pencil to design your first draft or is it all done on computer?
All of my designs are done by hand. Despite being a relatively young designer I enjoy the old fashioned way of doing things. I draft by hand, loving the feeling of the paper, the weight of the rulers, the pencils and even the scissor when cutting out the first draft. I also do a mix of drafting/draping/sewing when I’m designing my collections.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a designer?
Ha, I’d be a lawyer. Designers and lawyers keep similar crazy hours, have to be very creative and yet calculated, organized and meticulous!
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on learning some more fabric manipulation techniques. Techniques that can really build on the special touches I have included in the Courage collection. I recently learned some jewellery making techniques and would love to combine them with some fabric dying or something in the next line.
What makes a great lingerie model?
Confidence. Honestly if the model isn’t confident it may not read loudly on set but when the proofs of the pictures come back it is glaringly obvious when there is a lack of comfortable ease or confidence. I loved working with Alayna on the Courage collection as she’s a ballet dancer, kickboxer, personal trainer and model. She was able to hold difficult poses for long periods of time while maintaining grace due to her flexibility and her strength.
Check out the slideshow below and find out more on the With Love Lingerie website.
Category: Designer Profile