Playful Promises Blog

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A Day In The Life: Fl*sh You & Me

You may have noticed the stunning designs of one of our guest brands, Fl*sh You & Me.

Straight from Latvia, the brand is known for it's sensual lingerie and bondage-inspired harnesses at a low to medium price point - we just love their designs!

We asked designer Līva Šteina about what her day comprises of!

07:00 I get woken up by my 11 month old son Leons at about seven. I start my day playing with him for a bit, and while doing that I review the sketches I made the previous evening – if you get until the end of my day, you’ll know why.

08:00 One hour later, I drink my morning coffee and eat something sweet. If I don’t get my morning dose of caffeine and sugar, I can get a bit grumpy! To lift my spirits, I check online for new orders and reviews. I read my emails and look through my Instagram feed – it’s a major source of inspiration for me, and I like to see what lingerie enthusiasts and other designers have put up.

11:00 At about eleven, my baby takes a nap. This is the perfect time to do some sketching. I do it for an hour until Leons wakes up. Then I’m on my way to the Flash You and Me studio – sometimes I take my son with me, but sometimes he stays home with his dad, my husband and the director of our company Raimonds. We are a family business, so there is a crib and some toys in the studio.

12:00 At noon, I arrive at the studio to meet my ginger pack – that’s what I call my seamstresses because the majority of them have dyed red hair just like me. There are five seamstresses and a marketing & sales specialist working for us. We celebrate our birthdays and sometimes have movie nights together. And when we are developing new products, our employees test them – it’s like a part of the job description! ☺

At work, I check the processed orders and work on the custom patterns for our bralettes; we offer them to make sure that every customer gets the best fit for their body. Then I collect my sketches and rearrange them, trying to imagine how they would look on a catwalk. We are applying for the Riga Fashion Week with our SS2016 collection, which will show off lingerie as a centerpiece for an outfit, so I’m sketching, revising and sketching all over again like crazy!

I’m also thinking of new products and directions that the brand could take. Right now we are developing our first underwire bras, which is a very common demand from our customers. And because our newest collection will be based around the lingerie as daywear trend, we are working on transparent beach wear and swimsuits, as well as kimonos.

The prototype of Fl*sh You & Me's first underwired bralette

The prototype of Fl*sh You & Me's first underwired bralette

19:00 I finish everything I had been working on that day and take time to appreciate the results! Then I meet my wonderful husband and we talk about our day, but we have one rule in our household – no more talking about work after 20:00! We eat dinner and have some precious family time.

After the baby goes to sleep, I watch the latest horror movies and TV shows about vampires while making new sketches – I have to check them in the morning to make sure I haven’t been influenced by them too much ☺

Lingerie Secret Santa

Karolina of Karolina Laskowska came up with the brilliant idea of a lingerie Secret Santa between the independent lingerie brands. 

As the person behind Playful Promises, I can say it is a brand born out of the love of lingerie, so I was more than up for sending out a secret gift in return for secret gift back! After working hard all year it seems like such a nice treat to receive a mystery gift.

Last year I received an amazing sheer black and red underbust from Pop Antique with a matching fascinator.  It also touched me when I contacted her to thank her that she’d taken the time to stalk me on Facebook and look at my photos, going to the trouble to choose a set she thought fitted with my personal style. How awesome is that?

The other nice thing about this range is it is an opportunity to introduce some other independent brands working hard and to give us a chance to support each other and encourage our customers to shop independent this Christmas.

There are a number of independents brands taking part this aside from the ones I already mentioned year including:

Kiss Me Deadly – good for golden screen inspired glamour and they support the feminist cause. I like brands with a conscience.  We all have to make a living but no need to sacrifice your principles in the process.

Ayten Gasson – good for silk and UK made. Knowing the designer personally I can also say she is very nice. I like to spend my money with decent and nice people. Don’t you?

Clare Bare – if I had to pick a lingerie brand to represent California dreaming through English eyes this is it! 

Angela Freidman – the designer behind this brand used to run the NY Ballet Costume Department and you can really feel this when you look at the level of craftsmanship in her work. 

Karolina Laskowska - recently graduated Karolina works with beautiful fabrics and lace, including vintage kimono fabrics. I especially love the latter after having lived in Tokyo!

Now this is my Secret Santa  - can you guess who it is for?


The full list of brands taking part are:

Previously Chicago, Alexandrea Anissa, Betty Blue’s Loungerie, Dottie’s Delights, Evgenia, Kiss Me Deadly, Playful Promises, Angela Friedman, Harlow and Fox, Clare Bare, Karolina Laskowska, Made By Niki, Nearer The Moon, La Lilouche, Ayten Gasson, Pop Antique, Britta Uschkamp, FRKS

Follow the lingerie secret santa on instagram with tags #lingeriesecretsanta, #lingerieinsidertips, #lingeriegifts & #shopindependent

Shop independent this Xmas – be inspired by our secret santa!

Guest Brand: eLai

You may remember back in 2012, we held a design competition for budding lingerie designers to have their design make it into our collection. We had such an amazing response that we ended up choosing three winners and making the pieces into a mini-collection - one of those winners was Eva Lai. Since graduating, Eva has been working on a beautiful new luxury lingerie brand, eLai. We love her work so much that we've started to stock some accessories and bodysuits on the guest brand section of our website.

We had a chat with Eva to find out a little bit more about her brand!

What sparked your interest in fashion design? 

I have always loved drawing and anything crafty even as a child. Like most girls, I was really into clothing and fashion. The satisfaction of creating something beautiful from scratch is what drew me into design.

Is there anything in particular that lead you to study fashion?

Being a fashion designer was an ambition at a young age, and the skills required seem to be what I am good at, so I worked towards the goal, and fashion school was the natural path to get there.

 What is it about lingerie that you found the most interesting?  

I love all areas in fashion. But I think lingerie is the most personal and intimate item a woman can buy. It is such a specialist subject, having to think about the fit and how the garment could support and enhance the female body, and whether it'd be comfortable against the skin etc. Details are key in lingerie because the garments are so small. I enjoy the challenge of what I can do with a tiny little bra & knickers. It's amazing how every stitch is so visible and it is all about details and accuracy.

You're a recent graduate and your brand has developed so fast. What's your secret?

I wish it could develop faster! Haha. I haven’t got the funding to invest in advertising and the only way to bring brand awareness is though social media (so thank god for internet!) I just try to stay true to my creative vision, and do things my way, instead of the traditional way of what a lingerie brand “should” be. I want eLai to grow organically, so customers would appreciate the products for its design and quality, rather than because I just spent a lot of money on celebrity endorsement.

 Being a one woman team must be a hell of a challenge! Do you think about getting some extra hands on board? 

It is so hard to do it all myself, but at the same time it means everything is done to the way I like. I do however have a lovely team of models/MUA/stylists that helps me massively when it comes to imagery… my darling photographer Polly Hanrahan has been brilliant at bringing my work to life in all my lookbooks. I would love to have more young talents to make eLai bigger and better in the near future.

How has your work evolved since you began your own label?

The first few collections were so different from each other, I tried dark boudoir, cute & colourful, to glam sportlux. As I was still trying to find my style as a brand and figuring out who my customers are. But I have learnt so much since I started and now I have a much better idea of what works. I think it is important to constantly evaluate the business and change your direction based on current social and economical factors. It is good to show a different side as long as it stays true to your brand ethos.

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it influence your work?

I am obsessed with sleek lines, so I’m really into the sportlux style at the moment, which shows in my Constellation collection. I’m also fascinated by Olivier Rousteing’s use of chains, embellishments, and the craftsmanship to create textures in his Balmain collections, which I find really inspiring!

What's eLai's ultimate aspiration?

To have my own atelier & showroom in London. I would love for customers to be able to just come in and have their pieces made-to-order.

hat's the main source of inspiration for your projects?

Usually something with a narrative- a film or a character. Fabrics/ materials. Certain fetishes. What I want to wear…

Who's eLai's customer?

Someone who values designs and craftsmanship in a made-to order product; who appreciates unusual pieces with a sense on humour; who thinks comfort is key; who wants to be effortlessly seductive; they would wear eLai for themselves because it feels good and empowering (and bonus that it happens to have a hint of naughtiness) 

What's the most challenging part about what you do?

The business side that involves lots of numbers.

And what's most rewarding?

When I receive emails from customers telling me how much they love wearing my designs…that’s when all the hard work feels so worth it!

What is the biggest lesson you've learned since starting your own company?

Don’t give up just yet…patience is key!

 If you could give some advice for a lingerie designer-to-be, what would that be? 

Love what you do, learn from every opportunity, make good relationships (it’s a very small industry) & work really, really, really….. hard!!!

Guest Brand: Hopeless Lingerie

We have recently begun to stock various other lingerie & swimwear brands on our website, because we just love having a choice!  We picked our favourite indie brands from all over the world, including Kiss Me Deadly (UK), Maison Close (France), Love Haus (US) and Hopeless Lingerie (AUS).

But why not find out a little bit more about the designers behind these brands? We had a chat with Gabrielle, the director of Hopeless Lingerie!

Q. What were you doing before launching Hopeless and what attracted you to lingerie?

I completed a diploma in Fashion and nearly finished a degree in the Arts majoring in Art History, Film, and Architecture. I love lingerie because its small and detailed, and also because at the time no one else was really doing handmade lingerie. 

Q. What was the original idea behind the brand? Where did the name come from?

My sister thought of the name when we were brainstorming. It just seemed right. The original idea for the brand was to create pieces that are sexy and fun but not trashy. We wanted to be modern but with nods to vintage, and with a focus on quality and beautiful materials.

Q. The collections have a really cool, edgy vibe. Who do you imagine as the Hopeless customer?

Young (at heart) and confident. Thanks to social media I get to interact with and see Hopeless customers nearly everyday! So I know very well who they are and what they like. 

Q. What is your go-to destination for inspiration on previous and up-and-coming collections?

Film is a huge part of my life. I always look to film for inspiration for the pieces themselves and for design inspiration. I don't look at outfits literally though, its much more about a films mood, cinematography, and landscape being the inspiration than directly copying looks. 

Q. What is one of your favourite pieces/sets and why?

Its not exciting at all but the Veronica Knickers in Bamboo are the BEST everyday knickers! So soft and comfortable and stay put all day long!

Q. How does an idea transform into a finished product?

I have a pretty big collection of patterns I've developed over the years so it will often start with altering one of those patterns, sewing a sample, maybe cutting out shapes or adding straps, then changing the pattern again and another sample. Sometimes I only need to do it once but more complicated styles sometimes take 5 to 6 samples to get right.

Q. Describe an average day for you.

I go to the gym at 6am most days, and I'm at my work desk by 8am. Im lucky enough to work from home so no dealing with traffic! In the morning I answer emails and do general computer work, social media, scheduling, and other admin things. I usually start sewing orders around 11am and break for lunch around 1pm. I then sew from about 2pm until dinner time 6 or 7pm. I try not to work after dinner but do sometimes do social media and emailing if it needs to be done. 

Q. What sets Hopeless lingerie apart from other brands?

We are a small independent brand built from scratch, and a lot of trial and error. When I started I had no business experience and have built everything organically, which I think has really helped Hopeless evolve into something unique. My focus is on the brand as a creative expression, and I put that creativity into everything I do - from designs, photoshoots, Instagram, Facebook, packaging and everything in between. My focus has never been making sales, or making things that I think will sell. Im not interested in being a department store brand, or growing into something enormous. I will never follow trends, or buy trend forecasting information - everything is very much from the heart. All our pieces are handmade in Melbourne too, up until a year ago it was nearly all sewn by me! Now I have 4 girls who help me with the sewing part time, my sister helping with admin and emails, another helping with the cutting, and my Mum does all the accounts. I think thats what makes Hopeless special and different. 

Q. How has the brand developed between launching in 2008 and now?

In 2008 it was just me, doing everything, as well as working 3 other jobs at the same time. Now (as I mentioned above) I have an amazing team supporting me. I have learned a lot in terms of fit and functionality, Ive expanded our size range, and it is very much my full time job. 

Q. What three words would you use to sum up the brand?

Dark, strong, feminine. 

Q. If you could pick any style icon as a muse/ambassador/face of Hopeless, who would you pick?



Q. A lot of your styles involve creative use of straps and lines. How do you balance style with function? 

Function is debatable - different women want different things from their underwear, and while I know things like the 'ouvert' styles aren't for everyone and aren't for everyday wear, they do have a place. Some woman want things exclusively for the bedroom and a lot of my pieces are more suited to that. 

Q. What lingerie do you think every woman ought to own?

Bamboo knickers. They changed my life.