By Patricia Stepaniuk
What led to you starting Lanae Lingerie?
I found my calling for designing lingerie in school and I became the “go to person” for my friends Halloween costumes and undergarments. I also had an internship in the Pearl District in downtown Portland. I was with a boutique bridal designer who was looking to get her brand off the ground. I was able to watch her grow from one small shop, to several boutiques around town carrying her gowns. Later down the line I was afforded the opportunity to work for an outdoor clothing company in the Materials Research Division and then asked to cover a maternity leave for a coworker. The company asked me to come on full-time as Technical Designer in the Youth Division. These internships have allowed me to see the business from all sides, and give me momentum to start my own line.
Photos by Amy Liu.
How do you feel about the lingerie being a taboo topic in society?
In school, there were definitely those who wanted to push the craft of lingerie design to the side, people who asked that their work not be displayed next to mine, people who would not acknowledge that my creations were just as valid as their own, but I got through it and found the support that I needed from my family and friends. With my family, it took some time, but they knew that I had found my calling and jumped right on board.
How do people typically react when you tell them about your career in lingerie?
I can’t speak to others’ reactions, but I do think that many people are quick to judge when they first hear about my lingerie work. There is the initial “Oh” with eyebrows raised, followed by uncomfortable shifting in a chair. My lingerie isn’t about sex. It’s about empowerment and feeling great in your body. It’s to be worn under a dress, around the house, anytime someone wants to feel gorgeous or a bit naughty. No partner required.
What is the best advice you can give to a woman?
Have fun. The freedom is in the underwear. If one day you want to be sweet and innocent and then the next day you want to be a sassy vixen, go for it; there are no boundaries. Be who you want to be. I want women to feel empowered in life and in the bedroom.
Which bra style describes you the best? (demi-cup, full coverage, bralette, racerback, push-up, etc)
I would have to say the bra that describes me best is a cup less under bust. I love pushing the limits.
This article was originally printed in June 2014 in Edit Austere Fashion Book.