In this new era of #metoo, we’re now seeing a female-led approach to lingerie design with a definite move away from the push up, padded and extreme enhancement of old towards lighter and more natural profiles with an emphasis on comfort and ease of wear. As a sign of these changing times, the trend within the lingerie industry over the past few years has gone from lingerie made for the “male-gaze” to more women-focused designs with more body positivity than we’ve ever seen before.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

The 90s trend for minimalism and clean lines and effortless appeal is certainly trickling through to lingerie with more androgynous designs that blur the lines between men’s and women’s wear. This clean, contemporary styling feels more modern and appeals to a new generation of customers with sheer textures, geometrics and less traditional floral patterning becoming more dominant, as established lace and old-fashioned embroidery components are being left behind.

The US market has seen huge success with exciting challenger brands taking on the cultural migration away from the noughties image of “sexy” to a more honest and body-positive movement. The UK underwear market is currently fairly polarized, with established High Street names dominating with body basics and tired, traditional throwaway fashion. At the other end are expensive designer brands that are more focused on provocatively styled occasion lingerie or niche solutions. Yet the UK marketplace is fast catching up with more and more new brands embracing a female-led approach to lingerie, focussing on androgynous fashion looks to attract younger shoppers.

The movement away from overtly provocative styling is showing no sign of slowing down, particularly as women are reluctant to go back to uncomfortable, restrictive bras that force conformity to a certain body type. Women are savvier and more in tune with their unique needs, and are looking for simple, modern looks with minimal details and a wear it and forget about it attitude. With advances in technology, brands are responding to the reality that women come in all shapes and sizes and that traditional approach to designing, construction and fitting products does not work with the complex variety of body shapes of consumers. The popularity of sportswear coupled with advances in fabric and component technology, such as bonding and seamless techniques and engineered knitting, means the industry is now able to offer products that can morph, move and complement each individual’s shape and needs. What’s more, these technologies offer wicking, cooling, support and invisibility for everyday lingerie and shape-wear.

In terms of inclusivity, it’s ever clear that the idea of offering a main range and then a separate plus size range is fast becoming out-dated. Customers are expecting to have the same level of choice across all sizes and fits and there’s demand for brands to create styles that support and flatter all bust sizes. Given that the average UK bra size has increased from 34B to 36D, fashion-led brands that focus purely on aesthetic are struggling, especially in the youth space as they continue to ignore the real needs of women when it comes to support, shape and comfort.

Priya Downes, CEO of Nudea,, a new fit-centric lingerie brand explains: “Nudea was born out of our personal frustration when shopping for intimates which were either boring basics or extravagant pieces for special occasions, usually designed for the “male gaze”. As modern women we just didn’t feel inspired by the product or the shopping experience that currently exists.”

“We’ve been building Nudea to fill this gap in the market: expertly crafted, comfortable lingerie in contemporary, feminine designs embracing a more modern, body-positive attitude. With no overhyped technology, no simplifying design and no shortcuts, our aim is to bring together the best of moulding, bonding and quality fabrics to engineer better underwear.” Follow us @nudealingerie. Nudea is currently offering its bespoke tape measure for just £1 including P&P 

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