Lingerie for women: 6 best female-founded brands for all budgets

“I’m a fashion writer and these are the lingerie labels I buy from time and time again”

Lingerie sales have boomed during the pandemic and getting undressed has never been quite so exciting – meet the female-founded brands making real underwear for every body.

What do we want? Real women. When do we want them? Now. This should be the battle cry of lingerie lovers the world over.

After years of wading through the trenches trying to find lingerie that is designed not only to fit but also to flatter our real – and beautiful – bodies, there is finally a stable of brands crafting sumptuously flattering undies. It’ll come as little surprise to anybody that they’re all female-founded, meaning women have finally taken the reins and designed the underwear we’ve always wanted to exist.

One such purveyor of the new lingerie vanguard is Womanhood, which was founded in 2019, and noted a 178% spike in sales of its lingerie during lockdown and a 267% increase in revenue. Net-a-Porter also noted an increased demand of customers spending more on lingerie during lockdown, with a specific heightened demand for luxury bras and briefs.  

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Lingerie for women: 6 best female-founded brands for all budgets
Womanhood is a purveyor in the female-founded lingerie space.

The increased demand shows no signs of abating now that a diluted version of real life is beginning to appear once again. According to Lyst, searches for lingerie have spiked since the start of the month, with colourful lingerie sets enjoying a specific 43% increase.

The appetite is clear, and finally, our rallying cries have been answered. Lingerie has never looked nor felt so good. These are the female-founded lingerie brands that I have bought from, and will continue to buy from, time and time again.


Best female-founded lingerie brands: Underdays launches
Underdays is set to become one of the lingerie world's most exciting players

Founded by ex-FarFetch employees, Oria Mackenzie and Amelie Salas, Underdays is the Glossier of underwear. Its sizing runs the gamut from XS to XXL and has been designed specifically to be the reprise that women need from their current underwear. 

In the pair’s research, they scoured through countless competitor reviews, conducted surveys of their target audience and had over 50 rounds of user-testing before they signed off on their designs. Think comfy undies done oh-so right.


The Underargument

Lingerie for women: 6 best female-founded brands for all budgets
The Underargument is the lingerie label that casts its models based on the stories they submit of themselves.

The Underargument, whose name derives from the combination of the words undergarment and argument, is a premium London-based lingerie brand which casts its models based on the stories they submit about themselves, and was founded by Normandy native Maïna Cissé in 2016.

It’s lingerie with heart, with pieces designed in London and crafted in Madagascar in a factory revered for its local social engagement.


Fruity Booty 

Lingerie for women: 6 best female-founded brands for all budgets
Fruity Booty is the east London label crafting fashion-forward undies.

After Kendall Jenner posed in one of its matching sets of lingerie and promptly posted the image to her 218 million Instagram followers, east London label Fruity Booty felt the full force of the model’s endorsement.

The Jenner-approved set promptly sold out and Fruity Booty, which was founded by Minna Bunting and Hattie Tennant in 2017, was cemented as one of fashion’s brands to watch.

The label’s USP is simple: fetching, limited-edition undies made by women for women, which are crafted from 50% repurposed fabrics that would otherwise have gone to waste. 



Lingerie for women: 6 best female-founded brands for all budgets
Womanhood stocks exclusively female-founded lingerie brands that celebrate and fit real bodies.

Founded by Tanya Roberson in 2019, Womanhood’s aim is to “empower womxn through body confidence, by carrying quality underwear in many sizes and styles, and showcasing models who are real womxn.”

The London brand aims to simplify the process of shopping for comfortable underwear by exclusively stocking the brands that serve the individual needs of women – including bras that go up to a double H cup, bras with a 28 to 40 back, and post-surgery bras.

Proving that comfort really is king, a survey carried out by the brand recently found that over 60% of 427 womxn said that lockdown changed the way they buy lingerie, citing comfort as the most important factor. 



Lingerie for women: 6 best female-founded brands for all budgets
Skims' sizing ranges from XXS to XXXXL and every size inbetween.

Kim Kardashian-West’s lingerie juggernaut has proven itself to be a serious gamechanger in the underwear realm. With sizes ranging from XXS to XXXXL, the three-year-old company, which initially started by crafting shapewear, was recently valued at just north of £2 billion. Its recent collaboration with Fendi sold out in less than 60 seconds.

Where hyperbole goes, doubts are sure to follow, but with Skims: believe every inch of the form-fitting hype, for this is elevated everyday lingerie like it’s never been done before. Pillowy soft and available in nude shades that span the gamut from light to dark, Skims lingerie is an invisible investment you won’t regret making.


Nubian Skin

Lingerie for women: 6 best female-founded brands for all budgets
Nubian Skin is responsible for crafting sumptuous underwear for darker skin tones.

Founded by Ade Hassan, Nubian Skin is a lingerie brand which offers “a different kind of nude.” Hassan, who was awarded an MBE in 2017 for her impact on the fashion industry, conceived of the brand to create a more inclusive lingerie brand.

Currently, its collections feature four skin tones in a range of 16 sizes, from B-G cups. Don’t sleep on the brand that Lizzo and Jourdan Dunn can’t get enough of; its jersey pieces are buttery soft and a dream to wear. 


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Images: courtesy of brands.