There are days when the thought of putting clothes on sounds so absolutely restricting and binding, especially in the summer. But society tends to frown upon public nudity (in most places), so we’re all about the barely there trend. If only there was a brand of undergarments that made you feel like you weren’t wearing any underwear at all without actually having to go commando. Cue Marissa Vosper and Lauren Schwab, the co-founders behind new luxury lingerie brand Negative Underwear. Named the best comfortable lingerie by New York Magazine, they’re trying to prove that less is truly more. And doing a pretty damn good job.
Vosper and Schwab met at the University of Pennsylvania as undergrads, bonding over their love of style and design. They went into careers in brand consulting and finance, respectively, but the idea for the perfect undergarments was always in the back of their minds, so they began taking classes at FIT. It was that perfect combination of a passion for fashion and a strong business perspective that helped them make their dream a reality. “We looked at the fashion industry with a different perspective. We saw a very crowded landscape, and the last thing we wanted to do was add more clutter, so we thought in terms of white space and problem solving. Negative came from that mindset — seeking out an opportunity to make something better in a space lacking in good options,” Vosper told Brit + Co.
Of course, every underwear brand touts themself as the miracle cure for all women’s problems. But why is this brand different? Schwab says, “When we looked at the current lingerie market we saw a few poles — on one side the uber-high-end, luxury lines that were beautiful, but often too impractical or delicate (and expensive!) to wear on a daily basis — and not always meant to wear under clothes. On the other side we saw a bifurcated landscape — super pushed-up, blinged-out, embellished pieces that didn’t necessarily reflect a contemporary definition of sexy or cool, and then the really boring basic t-shirt-type lines that were functional under clothes but lacked any sense of fashion or design. Other lingerie always felt like a compromise! We wanted to make something that was as comfortable as it was cool. Something that really worked for everyday wear, but that you’d be equally proud to have on at night and on the weekends. Our customers often tell us they’ve never worn more comfortable bras and underwear.”
The company also sets itself apart because it is direct to consumer (similar to an Everlane or a Warby Parker model). This means they can provide really high quality but still keep their prices budget-friendly. “With that, Negative aims to raise the standard of what everyday underwear could and should be — we’re making luxury garments for daily wear,” Vosper says.
Plus, this business is all about the lady love. Schwab says, “We want to speak to women in a new way. Historically lingerie has been marketed in this hyper-sexy, voyeuristic way that paints a pretty unattainable (and honestly uncomfortable) picture of lingerie. The reality is that we all wear underwear (or most of us!) every day. We want to normalize the conversation — take away the taboo and some of the assumption that underwear is worn for someone else. We believe underwear is something you should wear for yourself first and foremost — something you put on every morning that should make you feel good in your own skin. It’s a really different message — we want to build a brand that women (and men) are proud to be associated with!”
The women say their design process is largely shaped by focusing on what they are not, which is a typical lingerie brand (think French, lacy and itchy). “We’re not french, we’re not frilly, we don’t even know anyone that has a boudoir! When making design decisions we’re inspired by negative space and the concept of ‘less is more’ — no lace, no flowers, no bows, no ribbons, no padding, no tags, no fuss. Just simple, high-quality, high-performance materials that all serve a function and actually feel good on the body. We’re very tactile in our product development process — the feel of our materials matters more than most anything,” says Vosper. Schwab added, “From a style perspective, we look for the unexpected — we want to stand out, not add more of the same.” Just plain, simple and attractive underwear. We’ll take a pair stat!
What is your go-to comfy underwear? Share some recommendations in the comments below!