I'm sure I'm not the only one who buys a hundred and one of the same style of undies when I stumble across a pair that scores a hat-trick of being simultaneously flattering, comfortable and cute. For the most part, finding underwear that gets it right is hit and miss.

“All women are different, however their experience of underwear is universal: bad,” agrees Vice President of Innovation at Heist StudiosFiona Fairhurst. However, among brands including Peckham-based Dora Larsen and Warsaw-based Le Petit Trou, Heist Studios is changing perceptions and spreading optimism one innovative design at a time.

Although not undies per se, Fiona is behind a revolutionary shapewear concept, The Outer Body – a shapewear-cum-leotard "giving women back control” – complete with HeroPanels that are enhanced with 20,000 laser perforations to mirror the body's natural support system, the 'fascia'. Launched off the back of asking 1,025 women exactly what they want from their second skin, the garment eschews outdated tubular knit technology that compresses the body to instead pride itself on its breathable nature.

In other words, squirming and sweating to get into shapewear is a thing of the past. "When designing, we're aiming to serve all women by making them feel seen, heard and included with underwear that outperforms," she adds. "We know that women dress for themselves so we're about making them feel good by answering their shapewear demands."

Meanwhile, another woman on a mission to give women what they want out of their intimates is Georgia Larsen behind luxury lingerie label, Dora Larsen. Her unique selling point is rooted in creating bralettes, bodies and knickers of the high and low variation, that, get this, women actually want to buy for themselves, for they still feel special and, unlike others on the market, focus on the art of colour. "I founded the brand after noticing the market was saturated in either overtly sexy pieces or very plain stuff," she tells me. "I took myself as a starting point and went from there... I'm in my thirties, a feminist, and someone who loves colour and experimenting with fashion."

Keeping the designs clean and simple ("never fussy or overtly girly," she says), while showing off the colours and fabrications, the brand's shapes always take into consideration how they flatter a woman's body. "Our high-waist knickers are high enough to nip in at the smallest part of your waist, creating a lovely hourglass silhouette on everyone whatever your size."

And what does she think really constitutes as an 'empowering' design?"I think an empowering design makes up a lot of elements," she explains. "Firstly, it has to be something a designer has put months and months of consideration into – that’s ultimately what makes all wardrobe pieces feel 'special' to the consumer, and standout from the mass-produced. An empowering design considers the way a women feels when she wears it – so there’s a focus on comfort and shape, not just a nice design."

This ethos also rings true for stylist-turned-designer, Zuzanna Kuczyńska. Her brand, Le Petit Trou – which takes its name from a metaphor that nods to the sexy, yet subtly hidden cuts of lingerie and bases its designs around such a trademark  – is all about the fit and feel. "Lingerie is the first thing women put on and we want them to feel amazing all day," she says. "We always consider what our clients like and try to design things that are timeless."

Much like Dora Larsen, Le Petit Trou is too reclaiming lingerie as something women buy for themselves. "The designs are more playful, fun and subtle rather than being overtly sexy," Zuzanna explains. "We design with women in mind who are buying for themselves. Our muse is a woman who is confident and happy in her body." And how does this translate to the designs when it comes to the materials? "We don’t use much lace, " she says. "Developing patterns that are both beautiful and functional can be very challenging and time consuming, but it is so rewarding when the ideas come together." 

As rewarding as it is for the designers themselves, we're the lucky ones with the reward a platter of elegant, sculpting and timeless intimates that just get it.

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