Tag Archives: lingerie designer

Designer Interview: Meet Rochella Lingerie!

4 May

I recently heard about a new D+ lingerie brand when I visited Paris a few months back. I was staying over at Astrid from Les Gros Bonnets and she told me there was a new British brand exhibiting at Salon de la Lingerie – of course, she had left the stand right before I found it on Monday and sadly, we were unable to chat about the collection. Luckily, I got a hold of Karen, the founder of Rochella Lingerie, via email and we started talking about setting up an interview for my readers. Today, I am presenting you this new middle-market full-bust brand which also supports a good cause by donating a percentage of their profits to gynaecology cancer charities.

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Some pieces from Rochella SS16 collection

2COP: This is your first collection with Rochella. How did you become a lingerie designer and decided to take the plunge to start your own brand?

K: I originally did a fashion and textile course as my passion was always to be a designer and I loved the way that textures completely changed things. I literally ‘fell’ into lingerie as my friend who cut the head of designs hair at a global company, slipped and almost fell into the road whilst we were out on a weekend. She was telling the story, to the Head of Design at the next haircut, and the designer asked me to come along for an interview. I was taken on as junior lingerie designer, designing ranges for Marks and Spencers. This is where I really learned everything the about the product.

Over the years I moved jobs and climbed the ladder from junior designer into Head of Design and technical for global brands.

I had huge success with an online retailer creating all their own brand D+ lingerie,  and that success sparked off the idea for me to do my own. Im no skinny minx these days. Im a plus size with a large bust. I just wanted to create something supportive and pretty, without thinking my underwear looks really ugly .. so Rochella began.

 2COP: Where do you draw inspiration for your designs and who do you design for? What is the Rochella woman like?

K: I draw inspiration form many places, a lot is flora, I just adore roses and vintage florals, Im also a bit obsessed with animalesque prints. They have just become a staple basic now.  I love colour too, I just think it brings joy into your life and makes you feel good on the inside , even on the dull rainy days.

The Rochella woman is fun, a little quirky, bohemian almost , with a love for beautiful cloths and trims. She enjoys quality. Shes a magpie drawn to sparkle and shine. She can be anyone from 20 – 90 , there is no age anymore in society we are all living longer and just because we are getting older doesn’t mean  to say that all of a sudden lingerie should be restricted to Bridget Jones beige big pants!  

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Rochella AW16

2COP: Your designs seem to be sporting a more luxurious feel to them. What does luxury mean to you when it comes to lingerie?

K: My brand is premium, Its not that costly so its only available for the top 10%, but its above high street pricing. I look at many brands and they all sell for similar price points, all in similar fabrics.. To me its all just cloned! Almost robotic. I wanted to give the most beautiful fabrics and embroideries, to give the ooh aah factor, to make you feel good. The silky satin I use is just like liquid chocolate, soft sensual to touch and the trims are all gold plated. I think we deserve something special as we all work very hard. Luxury is a feeling, its not about money.

2COP: How did you decide on the size range for Rochella? Was it obvious to go for the full bust market? Also, do you have any plans or dreams to expand the size range, e.g. into smaller band sizes? (For readers, Rochella now makes sizes 32-42 D-J)

K: Globally we are all getting bigger and our frame has totally changed over the years, we are more rounded. I’ve been a designer for 30 years and I also design for new start ups. I get asked all the time to design for this area as there is little on the market. I  consciously looked at clothing sizes and based my size range on this , but I will be bringing in 30 back sizes for AW16.

2COP: You donate a percentage of your sales to gynaecology cancer organizations and are a survivor yourself. How did your experience with cancer affect you as a designer? Did it eg affect your material choices or your decision to start your own brand in the first place?

K: Cancer to everyone is  a huge shock and life changer. I had a very bad experience  with my treatment. I had vulval cancer. Thankfully things have improved and treatment is better, but no one knows these cancers exist, they get no press , yet they are nearly as rife as breast cancer. I didn’t start my own brand because of it, but I line my garments in a lavender colour, so that whoever buys them knows that even when they are putting on the bra that a percentage of profits is going to a good cause.

2COP: What is the best part of desining lingerie? What about the worst?

I’m currently just getting my thoughts together for SS17 and I love getting all the embroideries and prints created. Of course this is always the best thing for a creative person.  The worst thing.. there isn’t one, I sleep and breathe it!

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Rochella AW16

2COP: How do you feel your brand differs from other British full-bust brands?

K: Britain is stuck in a price battle war of all brands on fuller bust. I could have designed something similar, but whats the point,  I’d just be competing with everyone else. Retailers don’t buy after certain price points. There is nothing on the market like mine currently. At the moment it goes from brand to luxury with very little in-between. I’m having a lot more success outside of the UK in sales.

The UK has become a bit of a throw away society, we wear things a few times and then bin it. This is not good for the environment. We need to produce items that people care about. If you look after a bra well, it becomes a favourite.

2COP: What is in store for Rochella in the future? Have you got any specific dreams regarding your brand?

K: My dream of course is to become a global brand and I would then support cancer charities all over the world. Having had cancer myself, you have to pay the ferryman. Im lucky to be here enjoying life. Many have only a few hours left. If I can change this by just making a few bras , then I have succeeded in my mission.

Thank you Karen for introducing your brand to me and my readers! If you are interested to see how Rochella bras fit, I have a review coming up soon so stay tuned for that 😉

Lingerie adventures in London part I: Fraulein Annie Lingerie

4 May

Hiya lovelies and thank God it’s Sunday! I have started with a new job this week which is super fun, lingerie-related but also requires a lot of hours in a bus and standing on my feet. So no wonder I slept almost 12 hours last night. I have started to miss blogging more frequently so this month I’ll be having a goal of writing at least two posts a week. Literally, I have to since my review pile is getting pretty big and I don’t wanna be all late with them! Also I still have so many awesome things planned for you guys and I hope to have them black and white this month. So fingers crossed!

Today I wanna tell you about a little trip I made to London about couple of months ago where I met two amazing ladies – Eva from All Undone Lingerie and Frauke from Fraulein Annie. They were both so lovely and I learned a lot about making bras, indie brand marketing and also the difficulties of producing and selling bras. This was all very interesting and today I want to share the best bits with you.

First I met up with Frauke at a lovely small restaurant called The Secret Tea Room. The place was like from my dreams – charming old furniture with a delicious menu and amazingly pretty waitresses. We decided to go for a tomato and mozzarella pie which turned out to be great. The whole place is completely vegetarian which scared me a bit as a devoted meat-eater but the food was so good I actually started thinking I could try out some more veggies in my own diet.

In addition to the food I absolutely adored Frauke. As a Finn my journey with English and American people hadn’t been too uncomplicated which meant me being very at ease with a fellow Europian (Frauke is originally from Germany but now lives in London and travels a lot to China as well). I have a general feeling that us Finns and German people do get along really well so the afternoon was definitely a blast, a laid back moment of excellent lunch and fun company. 

When it comes to lingerie Frauke definitely knows her stuff and is very passionate about the industry. She talked a lot about the quality and the accessibility of her lingerie and also the question of supply and demand. Lingerie industry is not the most easiest to break into, to say the least. 

Fraulein Annie Lingerie seems like something pretty special – the kind of thing you put on a special date or even your wedding day. It’s classic and beautiful and speaks to a variety of age groups and tastes. Also the tag luxury has been attached to Fraulein Annie in so many cases. But what does the designer herself think about this? She would respectfully like to disagree.

Fraulein Annie is first foremost designed for every woman. Beautiful lingerie should be a necessity – not a luxury. Frauke and I talked a lot about the luxury tag and the price point of quality lingerie which raised a lot of problems when it comes to smaller indie brands. FA’s price point is a little higher than your average Panache but many of us have no idea what is put behind it. There are years of working with the patterns, re-doing the models and trying to find the right fit. The fit does not come out of thin air; it’s lovingly crafted over years (full-bust bra can take up to two years to get ready for the market!) to make the best bra for all women out there. This is the philosophy behind Fraulein Annie – quality lingerie should be something for everyone to enjoy without compromising the fit or comfort.

I cannot bear to tell you that I don’t have anything new to show you from FA’s collection but I do have something to tell you! Fraulein Annie is a brand that doesn’t follow the traditional industry seasons but tries to put together a timeless collection which is now and then revised with new equally classic pieces. I was eager to ask Frauke to tell me about the new lines she has come up with and boy there is some pretty exciting things on our way.

First of all there is a new line called “Sei Lieb Zu Mir” which features amazing embroidery and also a new bridal range up F-cup. I have seen pictures of both and promise to post them here when I have my hands on them! At this point you just need to trust me on them being absolutely breathtaking. There is also other winds of change blowing when it comes to Fraulein Annie – there is a very possible chance of their size range getting bigger sometime in the future. This however happens most likely first to the smaller end of the size spectrum including AA-cups. The first smaller sized unpadded cups are in a design process now but also the other end of size spectrum is taken into consideration – as growing bigger Frauke has planned to possibly include HH-cups someday which is great news for us full-busted gals. 

This was it for today but as I told you also met up with the lovely Eva from All Undone and will share my discussions with her some day soon! Have a lovely weekend and hope life is giving sunshine to you all 🙂 xx

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