Finding advice about starting your own lingerie line, or simply becoming a lingerie designer can be time consuming and tiring. With conflicting information, or information that isn’t in depth enough. You can loose hours on the internet trawling through to find what you need.
That was one of the reasons I began to freelance and support start up brands by writing about the technical side of lingerie, something that can be lost and taken over by just the design side.
It’s always lovely to meet fellow freelancer lingerie designers, there’s not many people out there you can talk about volumes of cups or debating how much the apex of a bra can grade by, but Kim from Kimbralisa (and Bra tutor) can talk about lingerie with such passion and knowledge that it’s encouraging to hear another person speak out about the technical side of lingerie without overwhelming you. (Kim usually does a live talk on Facebook and Instagram at 2pm GMT).
I caught up with her an put forward seven question to learn a bit more about what she does and what she can offer start up designers.
1. What year did you start on your own?
I started offering freelance services as 'Kimbralisa' in 2017.
2. What's your most favourite part of working in the industry (technical side, designing, seeing a whole project through etc)?
I really enjoy the technical side of things like the pattern cutting and grading, as it's such an interesting challenge. I like experimenting with things in CAD and testing out the fit on the body to see what works, and what doesn't work. Getting feedback from customers after a product has launched is definitely the most rewarding part of the process.
3. Did you have any formal lingerie design?
I started my career initially as a bra fitter and sewing bra alterations all the way back in 2002, then progressed to learn how to make bras at home before deciding to enroll on the Contour Fashion course at De Montfort University. Always more keen to know how things are made, I focused my studies on pattern cutting and understanding grading and CAD systems, rather than drawing and designing.
4. What three things did you find hard when starting out?
Managing my time as a freelancer, securing new clients and finding my confidence. These three things are still challenges I constantly encounter.
5. What services do you offer people?
With my broad experience, I can offer people anything from quick consulting calls to taking on the entire product development process, from finessing an idea all the way to delivering a finished garment in their hands. My previous retail experience and marketing career also come in very handy for small brands needing help understanding other areas of their businesses.
6. Where do you see yourself in five years time in the industry?
If I could choose anything, it'd be helping brands develop new and exciting products for the G+ market. I think it's a segment of the market with tremendous growth opportunity as regions become more aware of bra size and fit, and it has the technical challenges that I enjoy. I also want to focus on education and training for young designers and startup brands to ensure they're getting the support they need to build better bras for their markets.
7. What words of advice would you give aspiring designers?
My best advice is to learn as much as you can but to keep your focus on a select few areas. You can't master everything, so choose to excel in one to two key areas, and grow from there as you uncover your passions. If you want to be a designer, then understand trends and colour, and how to communicate these through your illustrations. If you want to be a pattern cutter and grader, you need to understand fit and construction and start making garments. These are very generalist statements, but sometimes, just getting started can seem overwhelming, so start with the one area that interests you and let it expand from there.