It’s easy to get your panties in a bunch when shopping for underwear - not only is it time-consuming, and hard to locate the right size but it often requires extended stays in changing rooms with over-enthusiastic salespeople. Today we are hosting our third Underthings Meetup in New York, showcasing a range of startups that are disrupting this space. Some have tried to solve the age-old problem of finding the right bra size, while others use innovative materials. Ahead of tonight’s event, we give you the lowdown on what’s out there:
At True & Co, customers get’ fitted’ by taking a short quiz consisting of 16 questions. The answers are used to recommend the right size, based on an algorithm that was created using data from 500’000 women. The data allowed True & Co to identify 6’000 body shapes, and through answering the questionnaire, it helps determine where on the spectrum a customer lies. A home try-on box can then be ordered, where the customer can select five bras to try on - returns are free. Future product recommendations will then be personalised based on what customers decide to keep (or return).
Third Love, which launched in November 2013, also offers a sizing solution that doesn’t involve measuring tape. They have created an app that lets customers measure their cup size at home by taking two pictures of themselves. They also manufacture their own bras, which come in half-cup sizes - an estimated 80% of women wear the wrong bra size, partially because they are between cup sizes. The Third Love app calculates measurements using image recognition and an algorithm (read more about it here). The co-founder, Heidi Zak, will be speaking at Underthings III tonight.
Joyfit: This startup offers an app that lets women take a video of their chest to build their personal profile. Based on thid profile, a bespoke bra is manufactured using 3D-printed silicone (read more about it here).
Australian brand Silent Assembly uses so-called 3D Curvesscence technology instead of the traditional bra underwire. This is supposed to guarantee a perfect fit and stay true to its shape after many washes. The brand’s US Ambassador, Willy Mrasek, will also be speaking at Underthings III.
Mark Weldon creates ‘smart underwear’ for men - it’s made out of material that keeps its wearer cool and prevents odor. To streamline order fulfillment, the brand uses robots in their warehouse, and if customers don’t like the fit, they can opt for an exchange or a refund. Founder Brian Berger will also be presenting in New York tonight.
Adore Me: Fast-fashion lingerie: customers can either become members and pay a monthly fee (but they can opt out of months), or they can shop on a pay-as-you-go basis. The focus here is on the price point and sexy design. This concept is pretty much the opposite of the startup Negative, founded this February, which offers only ‘simple’ underwear that is comfortable and made using fine materials; no polyester, no ‘frills’ and no push-ups.
MeUndies: Here, customers can subscribe to receive new underwear regularly - once a month, once every two months or once every three months.
Underwearsociety: A men-only underwear subscription service. Based on a questionnaire that needs to be filled out upon subscription, customers receive a box of underwear on a monthly basis.
So it’s fairly clear - both men and women alike are spoilt for choice when it comes to underwear startups.
Other speakers include Lauren Sherman, Editor-at-Large of Fashionista.com; Lawrence Lenihan, the Founder and Managing Director of FirstMark Capital; Antonia Dunbar, Co-Founder of Thinx; and Jennifer Zuccarini, the founder of Fleur du Mal.
Reported by Anna Abrell