For all of you girls out there, you can probably understand that sometimes finding a bra that fits perfectly is a nearly impossible task. But maybe you get lucky - you find it. Or you find two that kind of fit alright. Then you wear them until they become worn out, or maybe your boobs grow, and then it's goodbye over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder. Now, think about how many bras get thrown out each year. The aftermath of puberty: the wire and fabric, maybe even some little plastic buttons, being tossed into the incinerator, each and everyday, bringing a toxicity to our planet that we really don't need. It goes without saying that lingerie (an essential part of one's wardrobe) is a massive contributor to the environmental crisis coming from the fashion industry, and perhaps this is one area in which we can make a change.
This is a problem that the team at Lara Intimates seems to understand and value, and a challenge that they've accepted in the process of creating their brand, Lara Intimates. Co-founders Faith Leeves and Cindy Liberman met four years ago studying lingerie and swimwear design at the London College of Fashion and have developed a partnership into the creation of the brand at the start of 2016.
Sharing the common interest of maintaining a conscious way of living and having been exposed to the dirty truth of the fashion industry, it was only natural for the motives of Faith and Cindy to be that of sustainability - producing beautiful, comfortable garments for varying body shapes and sizes, while keeping the ecological impact as low as can be.
I've been lucky enough to be corresponding with the lovely Cindy Liberman for a little while now. Here Cindy tells me:
"Lara Intimates is on a mission to elevate the standard of the underwear industry with impeccable fit, style and eco-conscious practices. Faith Leeves and myself met four years ago, studying lingerie and swimwear design at London College of Fashion. We quickly bonded over an aspiration to live a sustainable lifestyle and a love of shopping with responsible brands."
Both Faith and Cindy have a background in the fashion industry and are creative individuals with an affinity for design. I learn a little more about their backgrounds:
"Faith grew up in Brighton, England with a passion for art, design, photography and all things creative. From a young age, she collected retro and vintage clothing. She loves bright colours, flattering garments and eccentric silhouettes. Once Faith discovered lingerie design, she knew it was her calling. She even has ‘Boobs Baby’ tattooed on her elbows."
"I moved from Boston, USA to London for university at 18. I have been sewing since age 8, when my grandmother taught me about garment construction. I've always favoured flattering garment shapes that accentuate the waist and decided lingerie design would be an exciting and challenging next step in my career. When I moved to London, I started to learn about sustainable fashion for the first time and rapidly made the switch from high street to second-hand shopping."
"We worked everyday, discussing the future of the idea. Who was Lara? Where did she live? Where did her style inspiration come from? Lara grew into a character that embodied the lifestyle that we aimed to live, considering the environment and ethics with every purchase."
With the environmental impact being a primary focus, Faith and Cindy had a lot to consider in the fabrication of their products. They aim to create new garments but not augment to the amount of waste already being thrown into the world. They use local materials within Europe, the recycling of fabrics, otherwise having gone to waste, and maintain complete honesty with the consumer.
All the facts are on the table - there is nothing to hide in their practice. Lara considers ethics as part of their line, taking extra care for the environment, the profit, and the people involved in the process.
"Sourcing fabric was the first step. We were determined not to generate any new waste in making the Lara collections. We chose to use offcut textiles that would otherwise be left in the closet of a factory or thrown into a landfill. Components that were not available in a reclaimed form were sourced from local suppliers in England and France.
The first day in the design studio, Faith and I created a soft triangle bra that fit perfectly. It was flattering with beautiful bindings to add a luxurious touch. Nailing that first garment was an encouraging sign for us and, from then on, the product range grew organically."
Personally, I'm obsessed with a beautiful bralette, but also am the type of person that feels at home in a comfy sports bra. At Lara, they value the opinions of people and regard the way each woman has a unique taste of lingerie and swimwear. Naturally, because we are all built differently.
As they come closer to their launch, a collection underway and a large following of girls, Cindy concludes:
"Today Lara’s launch is anticipated by women around the world. Dozens of girls have expressed their excitement for a sustainable choice in intimate apparel, and everyone of these interactions is a motivating force for us as Lara’s founders. Their ultimate dream is to create the complete lingerie and swimwear wardrobe for women with transparent and responsible practices. Lara Intimates sees the future of the underwear industry as one without compromise. Women will soon be able to shop for intimate apparel that flatters their body, reflect their style and treat the planet with kindness."
When I first reached out to Cindy, the whole concept of sustainable fashion was fresh to me, but having been exposed to the unconscious way I had been consuming in, and learning of the effects it had, I decided it was a change that I wanted to make in my lifestyle. I love shopping - I always have. I love trends and styles and colours and things that are beautiful, but I now question if I'm willing to buy many nice things at a lesser cost, while the environment and humanity in third world countries suffer. Now, there is a lot more that I consider when shopping. Even if something is more expensive, it's an investment. It should be something to take care of and cherish so that you can keep it for longer and not throw away at the end of the season. This is a small step that everyone can make.
I, for one amongst many, am tremendously thrilled for the upcoming release of Lara's products. It's incredible to see a brand so committed to upholding sustainability. It's also a wonderful thing to see a brand celebrating all body types and with an openness to the opinions of everyone. This makes them a model company, in my eyes, with all the right morals driving them. So, stay tuned for the very exciting launch of Lara Intimates first collection ☺
** Thank you to Cindy Liberman for her words and images on behalf of Lara Intimates!