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It’s fitting that as 2019 comes to a close, Victoria’s Secret recently announced it would no longer host its annual fashion show.
During the last decade, the longstanding lingerie giant was routinely upstaged by a new crop of forward-thinking, often female-founded underwear brands who sought to redefine what sexiness looks like.
Between better body representation, innovations in fit and fabric and more inclusive messaging, the market for intimate apparel companies has never been more dynamic.
Here is a look at the brands who irrevocably shook up the industry for the better in the past decade:
Savage x Fenty
Leave it to megastar Rihanna to disrupt the lingerie industry. Since Savage x Fenty exploded onto the scene in 2018 with its headline-making New York Fashion Week shows, the singer’s fledgling intimates brand has rocked the category. In her own words, Rih wants to make people “look and feel good.” Savage x Fenty continues to offer what established lingerie brands failed to: An alternative, unashamed version of body confidence.
Shop: Women’s T-Shirt Bra, $36.35
SHOP: Women’s Curvy Microfiber Cheeky, $9.32
Shop: Savage x Bralette, $29
This New York-based brand is undoubtedly one made for women, by women. Since coining their approach as “leisurée” in 2016, Lively has committed to creating comfortable yet chic pieces that are a hybrid of lingerie, activewear and swimwear. The brand’s messaging is first and foremost about being content and confident in your own skin, and its inclusive model casting speaks to this.
Shop: The Palm Lace Busty Bralette, $35
Shop: The Cotton Bikini, $10
Shop: The Lace Strapless, $35
Parade is the brainchild of 22-year-old Cami Tellez; a Gen Z visionary determined to revamp the American lingerie landscape. The startup offers breathable, sport-inspired stretch styles in sizes XS-3X, each made from recycled materials and free from harmful chemicals.
Thanks to eye-catching advertising and social media marketing, by the time the brand launched in October 2019, it already had a waitlist of 70,000 people.
Tellez told Fashionista.com: “Women and femme-identifying people are freewheeling, creative and expressive people. At Parade, we’re focused on telling a new kind of underwear story at the intersection of bold color, dynamic design and sustainable fabric innovation.”
Shop: Thong, $9
Shop: Cheeky, $9
Shop: Boyshort, $9
Founded by a husband and wife, San Francisco-based ThirdLove was the first bra and underwear brand to offer half-cup sizing and a mobile app allowing women to measure themselves at home. The company now offers an impressive 47 sizes, from AA to F, with half sizes in between.
Co-founder Heidi Zak previously told Refinery29: “We’re breaking through traditional norms, and focusing on what really matters to a woman: fit and comfort, as well as style. Having that trio really is allowing us to create a brand that really stands for something that women can relate to.”
Shop: 24/7 Classic T-shirt Bra, $68
Shop: 24/7 Classic Nursing Bra, $72
Shop: 24/7 Classic Strapless Bra, $65
New York City-based Thinx broke boundaries when it launched in 2011 as the world’s first underwear brand specifically designed for menstruation.
The company is known both for its feminine hygiene undergarments — which are anti-microbial, moisture-wicking, absorbent and leak-resistant — as well as its controversial advertising campaigns.
Styles such as “Super Hiphugger” absorb up to four regular tampons’ worth of menstruation, while other offerings are for “lighter” days. The company also offers a range called Speax, designed for incontinence.
Shop: Super Hiphugger, $39
Shop: Sport, $32
Shop: Hi Waist, $38
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