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The women shaping the future of underwear

The women shaping the future of underwear

Posted by Heist on 7th May 2020


Just like tights, we decided to free ourselves from the underwear rule book and create our own instead.

Alongside 150 unique women, we have created underwear that does not compromise (forget comfy OR sexy). Instead, it looks, feels AND performs, just as we want it to.

Here, 20 of those women share why they believe our most intimate garments needed a serious makeover. From their own relationships with underwear, to the shared belief that it has the power to mould our mood (for better, or for worse), we hear why they felt compelled to get involved with CO.LAB.12 and help shape the future of underwear for us all.

These stories reaffirmed what we already knew to be true: as women we are all unique, and yet, our experience of underwear is universal.

*Pre warning* These underwear truths will resonate, raise a smile and have you rethinking the entire contents of your underwear drawer… (luckily, ours launches next week).


Name: Fani
Age: 27
Hometown: Athens, Greece
Fashion icon: Jane Birkin, and 2000's Olsen Twins.
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: Fun but comfy!

Name: Georgia
Age: 28
Hometown: Geraldton, Western Australia
Fashion icon: Chloë Sevigny
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: Cheeky, colourful and a little bit naughty.


Question 1: How do you choose which underwear you wear each day?

Firstly it starts with the outfit and the VPL/support requirements. Then praying what I need is clean. (Anna)

My daily dress code is business or business casual, and my underwear has to comply with these rules. (Katsiaryna)

...during the week I wear the same underwear pretty much every day! Seamless black thong and black triangle bra. Comfort is generally my priority. At the weekend I usually pick something cuter. (Florence)

As a personal stylist I know that underwear is the foundation of any outfit and makes a huge difference to how you look and feel. So for example, sometimes I need knickers that will hold me in a bit, sometimes I need knickers that have no VPL, sometimes I want something sexy. (Fleur)


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Name: Nikki
Age: 56
Hometown: Fontmell Magna, Dorset
Fashion icon: Fleabag crossed with Helen Mirren rock chic.
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: Flexible, a safe bet, intriguing with a witty trim

Name: Fran
Age: 33
Hometown: East London
Fashion icon: Peggy Gou
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: A little bit sporty


Question 2: Is your underwear for yourself or for others?

Very much for me, I value comfort over most things in life. Ha, ha! (Becky)

I’d say my underwear is 90% for me, 10% for others. I’m all about dressing for myself but there is something about seeing his eyes light up when he catches sight of your new set. (Ella)

ME, always. (Georgia)

The underwear I pick is mostly for me. I know the value of feeling good in what you wear and the confidence this can give you. Underwear is no exception. (Fleur)

I'd say a bit of both. My comfort is always top priority - but if somebody enjoys seeing me in them then that's a bonus. (Alice)


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Name: Shaista
Age: 40
Hometown: Camberley
Fashion icon: Meghan Markle
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: Short enough to keep your attention, long enough to cover the subject.

Name: Caroline
Age: I'm 43
Hometown: I hail from Liverpool
Fashion icon: Vivenne Westwood
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: Large full Burlesque frills briefs.


Question 3: How does your underwear influence the way you feel?

A great pair of underwear really makes or breaks my mood. (Eloise)

If I wear bright underwear it makes me happy! Also if it's flattering then you have that extra oomph to show it off. I guess that's why I don't have any old-holey pairs because well, that's not who I want to be. (Natasha)

Good underwear gives me confidence…it makes me feel special and comfortable and able to take on anything... (Caroline)

It makes such a huge difference to how I feel! When I put on a set that I love, I feel great, I feel sexy and beautiful and like I can do anything! (Florence)

...there’s no denying that a killer set of underwear sends my confidence sky high. (Ella)


Name: Ella
Age: 26
Hometown: Dorset
Fashion icon: Maya Jama
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: Feminine, elegant, sleek.

Name: Anna
Age: 28
Hometown: Originally from a small coastal town in Western Australia but now in London.
Fashion icon: would like to say someone chic and simple like Jane Birkin. In reality it's probably far more chaotic than that.
If I were a pair of knickers I'd be: Classic, understated, and completely reliable


Question 4: Has the role of underwear changed for you over time?

Yes, most definitely! Growing up it was purely practical and fit for purpose. Years on, I've now learnt that it can be functional, sexy, and comfortable all at the same time. (Alexandra)

I do think the role of underwear has changed for me over the years. Abandoning padded bras was the best choice I have ever made and I am no longer hiding my chest or am afraid a nipple might show through. (Paula)

Definitely. I used to care more about how I looked in my underwear but now I don’t care about that at all. The most important thing is that I feel happy and confident. And if you’re happy and confident you look beautiful in whatever you wear anyway. (Florence)

Yes, for sure. I used to buy underwear for men, now I buy them for me. (Georgia)

Definitely. I felt a lot more pressure to wear underwear that was sexy as opposed to comfortable. As my life changed, so did I, and so has my underwear. I think as women we are reclaiming our underwear and it doesn’t need to be a trade off between sexy and comfortable. (Fran)


Name: Florence
Age: 29
Hometown: London
Fashion icon: My friends are all so stylish, they’re my fashion icons!
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: …Comfy but cute!

Name: Alexandra
Age: turning 30 this May!
Hometown: I'm from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Fashion icon: Truthfully, I don't have a fashion icon!
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: ...functional but also cheeky!


Question 5: Your Desert Island underwear set and why?

A seamless bra and cotton knickers. My skin is very sensitive, so I always prefer natural fabrics. Don't really think I would wear a bra on a Desert Island to be completely honest, but might be helpful for some DIY survival. (Katsiaryna)

Well if we are talking Desert Island then I want my comfiest knickers and most supportive bra because you’re going to be fending for yourself. (Pom)

Sports bra top that could convert into a swim top and glute hugging bottoms. This would be about convenience and comfort mixed with style. (Nikki)


Name: Alice
Age: 28
Hometown: Newcastle Upon Tyne
Fashion icon: Alexa Chung forever - always so effortlessly cool
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: Comfy, colourful and something you could count on.

Name: Natasha
Age: 33
Hometown: Leamington Spa
Fashion icon: = Lily Singh + Priyanka Chopra + Summer Bishil
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: ...a lacy pair of Brazilians. Fun but also practical.


Question 6: Why did you decide to innovate underwear with us and 150 other women?

As a plus size woman, we’re rarely involved in the development of our clothes and underwear, our bodies move differently to those of thinner women and I thought it was important to represent women of my size. (Becky)

The best products for women are made with women and by women. I value brands that love the idea of making products designed according to the feedback of the customers, and it is a great opportunity to be a part of. (Katsiaryna)

I like the idea that the prototype has been tested by real women of all shapes and sizes as you’ll get a truer reflection of what women want from underwear. (Rosie)

When I saw the request for testers for underwear, I was straight in to nab a spot. If Heist tights have been my hosiery saviour, then I could only expect great things from their underwear. (Caroline)

I’m hugely passionate about making other women feel good about themselves and liking what they see in the mirror. (Sophie)


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Name: Fleur
Age: 43
Hometown: Sevenoaks, Kent
Fashion icon: Victoria Beckham… LOVE her style
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: Stylish and comfortable

Name: Sophie
Age: 26
Hometown: West Sussex
Fashion icon: There are too many!
If you were a pair of knickers I’d be: Big, reliable and fun!


Question 7: Tell us about your CO.LAB.12 experience… What did you get out of it? Would you do it again?

I really enjoyed how valued we were made to feel during the CO.LAB process - best part! I loved being part of it and I would love to do it again. (Natasha)

I loved being able to trial the product and seeing the feedback from others on the social channels too. We were like an underwear testing team of Charlie's Angels! I would 100% do it again. (Alice)

It was fun! Loved knowing that my opinion was making a difference in creating wearable, comfy knickers that women love. Would I do it again? 100%. (Georgia)

I felt like my opinion counted and that I belonged to a group of women that understood the importance of good underwear. (Shaista)

Absolutely everything about the experience from the pristine parcel, to the test drive right through to the progress updates; everything was flawless. (Ella)


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Name: Rosie
Age: 28
Hometown: Worthing
Fashion icon: N/A
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: Bikini

Name: Katsiaryna
Age: 24
Hometown: Minsk
Fashion icon: My mother
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: Stylish, comfortable, seamless.


Question 8: How important is it that brands collaborate with customers to innovate products?

It is such an innovative idea to get feedback from real women on what makes a good pair of knickers, and I think this is SO important if you want to create something that really ticks all the boxes for people. More brands should follow suit. (Fleur)

I think it’s vital as one size never fits all. (Shaista)

So important. I actually can't understand why it doesn't happen more, why wouldn't you use your customers to create something that they truly want. (Anna)


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Name: Paula
Age: I’m 26
Hometown: I am German living in Manchester
Fashion icon: Coco Chanel and Blair Waldorf are my fashion icons.
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: A comfortable everyday lacy pair of pants.

Name: Pom
Age: 25
Hometown: Technically I am from West Sussex, but I have lived in South London for years now!
Fashion icon: My granny 100%...
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: Hmm… probably that trusty pair that you just keep going back to as they won’t let you down.


Question 9: How do you feel about women across the world wearing knickers that you have co-created?

I feel pretty great about it! I just hope they feel confident, comfortable and happy in them! (Pom)

I think it's super cool! Definitely a first. (Fani)

It feels pretty epic. (Rosie)

Absolutely brilliant. Being a part of designing a product has been a dream come true for me!! Hope I can be part of more. (Natasha)

GREAT. It's nice to know that I've been a part of making women's lives and day-to-day that bit better (and more comfortable!) (Georgia)

The most important thing for me is that women feel comfortable and sexy in the underwear they’re wearing and I’m proud to be even a very small part of that. (Ella)


Name: Eloise
Age: I’m 24
Hometown: I’m from Hertfordshire
Fashion icon: ...would have to be Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, she’s so effortlessly chic.
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: ...a high-rise thong, it's comfortable on my stomach but no wedgies!

Name: Becky
Age: 40
Hometown: Grimsby, Lincolnshire
Fashion icon: Every woman! I love scrolling Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration!
If I were a pair of knickers I’d be: Soft, pretty, a little bit holey but still cute!


Question 10: And finally, underwear related: never-have-I-ever…

Worn Victoria’s Secret! (Katsiaryna)

Gone commando in public!! (Fleur)

Worn a thong!!! (Becky)

Got on with g-strings, to me they are the test sent by the devil. (Caroline)

Co-created knickers with such an amazing brand! And now I have! (Alexandra)


Thank you to all of these women who tried, tested and perfected our knickers before anyone else. Our debut underwear collection drops next week, be the first to know by signing up to our newsletter and keeping an eye out on social media ( @heiststudios).