I am Stephanie Ann Woolven from StephieAnn Designs, founded in 2014. StephieAnn combines my love of textiles with intricate, delicate and feminine lingerie and nightwear design. www.stephieanndesign.com
What inspired you to become a lingerie designer?
After graduating with a Textiles Degree, I soon realised that I wanted to start my own design business. I find that I buy more lingerie than I do clothes, shoes or handbags so it felt perfectly natural to concentrate on this. StephieAnn started with simple knickers but soon expanded, as I began to understand and enjoy the industry.
What makes your designs different from others?
As a surface textile designer, I approach lingerie from a different angle. The surface of the garment comes first and from this I am inspired to create its shape. As an experimental designer, I am always looking for new techniques and ways to create exciting embellishments. My print designs always tell a story, which adds to the significance and individuality.
Are there any celebrities wearing your designs and who are they?
One day soon I am sure there will be! I can envision the Duchess of Cambridge wearing a StephieAnn nightdress or Kiera Knightly in our StephieAnn bralettes.
Do you wear your own products?
Absolutely! StephieAnn created bralettes so that I could wear a beautiful bra without the underwire! I also love walking around the house in a StephieAnn teddy on a lazy morning.
What’s your favourite lingerie brand (not your own!) and why?
I fell in love with Elle McPherson lingerie when I was 14 and used to save up to buy her knickers and bras. I love her attention to detail and one off quirky designs that often featured interesting textiles.
Do you think there’s enough choice for D+ sizes?
I am afraid I have not ventured into D+ sizes although I do get a lot of customers requesting D+ cups in my bralettes. I am sure it is very difficult for ladies with D+ cups to find beautifully designed bras which fit perfectly.
Are you happy with the way lingerie is sized? If not what changes would you like to see?
It is very tricky to size lingerie and very easy to get the wrong size. I do like the current system, however I can see how ladies could get their size confused. Perhaps a better explanation of what each measurement means would make lingerie shopping simpler.
What advice would to give to an aspiring lingerie/swimwear designer?
Find your niche and run with it! Mistakes will make you stronger, learn from these instead of blaming yourself for them – they happen to everyone. Build a small army of loyal supporters who you know will give you honest advice.
How do you get your inspirations for new collections?
StephieAnn is distinctive in the fact that each collection is inspired by British poetry. I either hone in on a poet or flick through an old poetry book until I find lines which grab me and make me want to start drawing. I pick out phrases such as ‘Hammer Through Daisies’ (And Death Shall have no Dominion, Dylan Thomas) which create dramatic and ethereal visual imagery. I enjoy working with metaphors and often the story is unrecognisable in my final designs.
Do you use paper and pencil to design your first draft or is it all done on computer?
My print designs are created first through photography and drawings and then photoshop. However most of the technical garment design is created through rough sketches and draping on the stand, I rarely use the computer and I find this blocks my creativity and energy.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a designer?
If I had not founded StephieAnn Design, I would be working solely on textile design or had found another design path. When I was younger I wanted to be a dancer and loved expressing myself through movement.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, as always, I am multi-tasking! I am developing our Valentines range which will be an exclusive mini collection featuring the same shapes as in our main collection but with different surface design and colours. I am working on establishing StephieAnn in the UK and America, with new wholesale clients and marketing.
What makes a great lingerie model?
A. Someone who is not afraid of the cold! I tend to prefer more natural looks and avoid sexualisation as I believe in natural beauty.
Take a look at some of Stephanie’s designs below and see more on the StephieAnn website.