The Female-Founded Brand To Have On Your Radar

When Priya Downes spotted a gap in the market for lingerie that was both comfortable and beautiful – not to mention giving women the chance to buy bras which fit well from the comfort of their own home – it didn’t take long for Nudea to be born. The female-founded British label puts comfort and quality first, so you can enjoy wearing lingerie that actually fits and makes you feel good. Here, founder Priya tells us more about why she started the business and how it plans to disrupt the industry for good. Plus, there's also an exclusive 20% OFF for SL readers with the code LUXE20.

 

CREATED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH NUDEA
 

Can you give us the Nudea elevator pitch?

“We wanted to modernise bra shopping and make it a positive and supporting experience. I’ve never met a woman who enjoys it – in fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. Getting fitted in a changing room isn’t always convenient and it’s often intimidating – in fact, it’s estimated more than three quarters of us last had a fitting more than three years ago.

“We also saw a gap in the market – specifically between wearing a comfortable bra and owning a beautiful piece of lingerie. We want to make women fall in love with underwear and shopping for it. It’s something we wear every day, so we shouldn’t feel torn between being comfortable and looking good – plus, something so essential shouldn’t cost the earth.”

“Unlike the US, the UK market isn’t interested in helping women feel comfortable in their underwear, whatever their size. The industry still feels hyper-sexualised and targeted to a male gaze. Underwear shopping should give you confidence and make you feel like the best version of yourself. That’s what Nudea’s trying to do – empower women to be able to fit themselves and buy underwear that makes them feel great.”

What makes a Nudea bra different?

“It’s designed with bra-wearers in mind – to support and serve their needs first. Simple features such as three-way adjustable strap is standard, so you don’t need a whole different bra when you need a specific strap style. We have four hook-and-eyes rather than the standard three, so you can tighten up over time and your bra lasts longer, and there aren’t itchy labels. Finally, all the fabrics are smooth, so they don’t show through your clothes.”

What are your three bestsellers?

“The Easy Does it Bralette for ultimate non wired comfort and support, The Lift for a flattering fit under any outfit and our new high-leg brief which is rapidly becoming a bestseller.”

What product did you start with and what did it teach you? 

“We started by prototyping a simple bra. Despite being the first time we’d seen our own product come to life – and it did look good – it fitted terribly. It taught me that a good product takes time to create – so patience is key. During my previous jobs in fashion, I wasn’t all that close to the supply chain and often my first experience with product was when it was in the showroom sample stage – i.e. almost perfect. Seeing how much work went into the process to get a protype to the final product was an eye-opening experience – in the end it took six prototypes to get the perfect fit.”

Talk us through the tape…

“We didn’t set out to create our own Fit Tape® but after seeing women trying to fit themselves with a conventional tape measure as part of our market research, we knew we had to so something to change it. It doesn’t have to be complicated; we created the Fit Tape® to allow anyone to measure up in two simple steps. 

“We’ve managed to transform a traditional tape method with 10% accuracy to an easy-to-use device with a 98% accuracy when it comes to fit. Around 80% of women wear the wrong size because almost three quarters of them don’t get fitted regularly – our tape is there to empower women to measure themselves as often as they need to.”

What did you do before Nudea?

“I spent eight years working in luxury fashion at Chanel and Burberry. Prior to that, I spent five years at the World Bank Group working on different sustainability projects. My experience in luxury fashion has instilled a huge appreciation for quality, design and craftmanship, things I now look for in my all of my own purchases. It’s why Nudea has a such a focus on product and delivering on quality fit and comfort first – along with a responsibility for the planet and our impact on it. 

What should everyone look for in a well-fitting bra?

“We have lots of tips and tutorials on our website but it’s ultimately about ensuring it closely covers your entire breast – there’s no gaping or over spill. Most of the support should come from the under band – not the strap – and a good fitting bra should never leave skin indents or marks. It should feel invisible under clothing.”

Is it different for women with bigger busts?

“No – the only difference is that bigger boobs need more support, but the principles are the same. Our bras don’t just grade up in larger sizes, we engineer them differently to support and flatter, for example with smoothing wings with higher levels of power mesh, so you get that extra level of support.”

Should we all be wearing underwires?

“No – the latest technologies in bra manufacturing mean wires aren’t the only means of support. We have non-wired bras that support up to G cups – whether you choose to wear wire or not comes down to personal preference. It’s true there aren’t many non-wire options out there, especially for bigger cup sizes, but Nudea offers both options across all sizes.”

Should you sleep in your bra?

“A good fitting bra should feel like you aren’t wearing one, so technically there’s no reason why you shouldn’t sleep in it. It comes down to personal preference and non-wired bras such as our Easy Does It bralette are great options.”

How many bras should a woman own?

“As many as she wants – as long as they are all worn and looked after. The average woman owns 16 but only wears three or four because the rest don’t fit or are uncomfortable. Like your wardrobe staples, it’s good to buy less but buy better.”

At what point does a bra reach the end of its shelf-life?

“When you first fit your bra, it should be done up on the loosest hook. As the bra is worn over time, you slowly work down the hooks until it no longer feels supportive. Signs that it’s time to replace a bra are when your straps are slipping or digging in or when you’re gaping or spilling out of your cups. Typical high-street bras last two to three months on average.”

Finally, in your eyes, how is the lingerie industry changing for the better?

“Even in the short time since we launched, there’s been so much change in embracing diversity. Brands such as SKIMS and Fenty are taking on a strong female-led message in their marketing – a bold move when the industry has been dominated by the male gaze for so long. More recently, Victoria’s Secret also announced it would be scrapping its Fashion Show, which no longer feels relevant in 2021. It’s clear we’re seeing some steps towards change and I am proud that Nudea is part of this positive movement. 

Shop Nudea's latest colourway below...

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