Why We Should Support Indie Lingerie Brands (And Accept No Imitators)

Anyone who reads this blog on even a semi-regular basis knows that I have a special place in my heart (and my wallet) for independent lingerie designers. I plan my lingerie buying ahead of time and buy carefully, and my monthly purchases end up being almost 75% made up of pieces from indie and made-to-measure designers.

Image via Ayten Gasson Lingerie

We’re halfway through the “Love Bomb” event put on by a group of indie lingerie brands, and in the midst of all this Mary Portas has announced that she is “turning the light back on for Great British Manufacturing” with her new line of UK produced lingerie. These two events reflect the challenges that indie designers face, and the solutions that they are putting forward to combat them.

Image via Kriss Soonik Loungerie

If you haven’t been following the Love Bomb event, it’s a brilliant marketing event in which a group of indie lingerie brands have gotten together to host two weeks of giveaways and cross promote each other. It includes some of my favorite brands including Kiss Me Deadly, Ayten Gasson, and Kriss Soonik. The full list of participating brands can be found here. I love that all of these brands are working together to further a common cause, and I think this series of giveaways is inspired.

Image via Kiss Me Deadly

Mary Portas represents the other set of market forces working against these designers, all while harnessing one of the very things that makes them stand out: local production and local materials.

The UK indie lingerie brands that use local production and local materials back up their claims. Instead of creating new factories, they are keeping existing local factories in business. Instead of using cheap imported lace, they’re using UK produced lace. Put lightly, they’re taking a large bite out of their bottom line to maintain these standards, and it’s one of the reasons they produce such high quality pieces. Mary Portas’ claim that she is singlehandedly saving the state of British manufacturing is ridiculous and insulting to those indie designers who have been maintaining rigorous standards for years.

As the lingerie market becomes more saturated brands are struggling to find ways to differentiate themselves, and local lingerie is the new fad. As larger brands try and take advantage of this, smaller indie brands will have to fight them for the locally made market share. Events like the Love Bomb are a great way to highlight the principles and practices that these designers are using, as well as show the sheer creativity of the indie lingerie industry. Please support them by entering the Love Bomb giveaway events, and generally doing your research before you buy from a company that claims to produce their pieces locally.


  • Reply Claire Read/Poppy Valentine February 6, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    Excellent post, you raise some really important points here.
    I design and make womenswear in vintage fabrics and what I can’t make myself gets made in a small factory in Nottingham which has been going for years. It makes my blood boil they way Mary Portas puts herself on this pedestal as the saviour of British manufacturing, it’s all a PR stunt for the Mary Portas machine. Us little independents will still be keeping the small British manufacturers going way after the tv show has finished.

    • Reply hollyj February 6, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      I completely agree. It’s popular, and it’s good publicity for her (even if it’s a ridiculous lie). There are loads of designers making higher quality pieces locally in both the UK and the US, and no one acknowledges what they go through to keep production local.

  • Reply Amanda February 7, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Excellent job covering this issue, Holly! I’ve linked this post on Facebook and have asked others to please read and share it to show their support for independent lingerie designers.

    • Reply hollyj February 7, 2012 at 9:39 PM

      Thanks Amanda!

  • Reply Marty February 7, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Thank-you for this informative post Holly!!!

    • Reply hollyj February 7, 2012 at 9:39 PM

      Thanks for commenting, Marty!

  • Reply paula February 9, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    It says on the Channel 4 website that Mary Portas “will recruit eight apprentices, train them, and set up her own production line” to make “100% British knickers”…. forgive me, but isn’t that a good thing? trying to challenge unemployment, admittedly on a small scale, and championing British manufacturing – surely that’s what you stand for too? I don’t understand why she’s the enemy?

  • Reply Sarah Stone March 1, 2012 at 7:17 AM

    I think all advertising about UK manufacturing is a fantastic thing, being one myself, whether claims are correct or not, if it makes people think twice before buying and raises our profile I’m 100% for it 🙂

    I provide work for 5 local ladies, so yes small scale, but 3 years ago it was just me, within another 12 months we should number 10-15, where might we be in another 5? The masses don’t generally change the world, small passionate individuals do 🙂

  • Reply Exclusive Luxury Lingerie Review: The Carla Set by Ayten Gasson | The Full Figured Chest | Lingerie Blogging and Copywriting Services March 22, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    […] for a long time, but I hadn’t really had a chance to get to know her or her work before this Mary Portas Knickers controversy. Ayten has become one of the voices standing up for real British manufacturing, and I respect how […]

  • Reply Sarah March 30, 2012 at 5:51 AM

    Absolutely love this!!! I utterly agree that it’s quite insulting that this one woman claims that her publicity ridden campaign is changing the face of British manufacturing, how dare people overlook those who have indeed been upholding these standards for decades without seeking credit or shouting about it.
    It’s good that Mary is bringing this to the attention of the wider public, but tactless of her not to consider those who have been doing their bit to change the world for along time.

    Thanks for the post!

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