“In a society that profits from your self-doubt liking yourself is a rebellious act,” I read, as I scrolled through Negative Underwear’s Instagram feed.
The insight felt fitting to the brand; A first of its kind, honest and edgy approach to lingerie.
I first learned about Negative shopping on Spring, where I fell in love with the designs fit for a woman who rocks Rag & Bone jeans with a cut out t-shirt and boots.
“It’s renegade, bold, and willing to push the boundaries,” Marissa Vosper, Negative’s co-founder, explained on Beyond the Headline.
Based in New York City, Negative was brought to life by Marissa and her co-founder Lauren Schwab.
After taking night classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the longtime friends identified room for disruption in the highly fragmented lingerie market.
Despite being a $15 billion industry, lingerie brands place women in a dichotomy of choosing between undergarments that look dangerous to wear (Is that a death trap, you ask?) and ones that remind them of their white-on-white training bras from seventh grade.
Negative was created to fill the space in between.
Negative is defining sexy as confidence in your own skin. It’s just you with a little bit of fabric.
Only a year and a half in, the response has been incredible. Vogue’s identified Negative as a brand on the rise. PureWow coined the brand as “The Bra for Those Who Hate Wearing a Bra.” And, Miley Cyrus posted a photo rocking their bodysuit on Instagram (#CantStopWontStop).
Negative’s demographic ranges from teenagers to moms and even grandmothers. This is one of Marissa and Lauren’s favorite customer emails:
“Yesterday, as I lay here with the flu my package from Negative arrived in this nice simple envelope. I had been looking forward to receiving my new Sieve Demi bra.
This is one order that filled my expectations. I love it and am ready to order another. This is the bra I have been wanting. You should have great success. And by the way, I am almost 71 and a size 32DD, which probably pushes your demographics.”
The less is more mentality shapes every chapter of Negative’s story. Self funding the business requires Marissa and Lauren to obsess over the details that matter.
From their style to the brand’s voice, and ultimately their products, the founders core focus is building a company that questions the way things have always been done.
You needed to look like an angel in order to look good in your under garments. In our minds, women are really beautiful as they are. We wanted to make a line that highlighted a woman’s figure as opposed to molding it into something it wasn’t.
One way they’ve achieved that is using their friends to showcase their lingerie, tees, and bodysuits instead of professional models.
The women you see on Negative’s site are founders, accountants, and marketers “who are proud of the bodies they’ve worked for and are willing to show them off,” Marissa explained.
Aside from color touch-ups, the women aren’t photoshopped. No body manipulation, padding, bows, or harnesses here. Just you and your Negative.
The company’s photo shoot was similarly orchestrated by friends, who helped with staging and photography.
You can tune into the video here:
“It’s honestly one of the best days of my life. It was such a special coming together of so many friends to make something really beautiful,” Marissa said.
What Marissa and Lauren started as a fashion brand has quickly become a movement.
Negative’s mission is to empower women as they are, and part of that is removing the stigma of talking about bras.
In fact, one of the company’s goals is to create a product you’re not racing home to take off.
“We wear these things every day, and we’ve been so dissatisfied. It’s the first thing you put on in the morning and the last thing you take off at night. These are core products,” Marissa shared.
I’m incredibly excited to watch Negative grow and expand their product line; And, while I’m a huge fan of their designs, I’m even more proud to support a brand that encourages women to own who they are, how they look and feel.
Negative “shows a different picture of what you could look like in your underwear,” and if you’re courageous enough you can post a #underwearselfie to prove it.
To gain deeper insight into Marissa and Lauren’s founding story and the conversation they’re starting to empower women, tune into Marissa’s episode of Beyond the Headline, and follow them on Instagram here.
Here’s a glimpse of what we discuss:
- Disrupting the $15 billion industry
- Celebrating women as they are
- Why optimism is essential for founders
- Questioning the way it’s always been done
- How to rely on your network
- How Marissa feels Negative represents her