Finally, Lingerie That Celebrates You "As You Are"

In an era of digital culture — where style is diffused across phone screens and quantified in double-tapped hearts — success can be sparked with a single Tweet.
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Almost 33,000 Retweets piled up, and As You Are Intimates was flooded with orders. 20-year-old Skylar Marshai's completely customized, affordable lingerie label had reached a massive audience. Now, she needed to meet a tsunami of demand.
Photo by Frederic Georges
Lingerie marketing is often rooted in the concept of transformation: Corsets constrain, teddies conceal, and push-up bras fight gravity to hoist breasts skyward. In comparison, the concept of undergarments that leaves the wearer “as [they] are” is unusual. And an intimates company that celebrates women's unfiltered bodies? Now that's just radical.
20-year-old Skylar Marshai has been designing clothing since she was in high school, switching her focus to intimates when she moved to New York to study at Parsons. Her new project would be guided by the criticism raised by her loved ones and customers over the years, as well as her own frustrating experiences shopping for "nude" intimates as a woman of color.
“I’ve always been big on mixing my purpose and passion," she tells Refinery29. "My passion is, of course, business and design, but I feel my purpose and the reason I’m kind of here, amongst many, is to empower women, support women, and give back to women in any sense of the word. What better way to give back to women than through an article of clothing that makes women face themselves and face their bodies, and embrace themselves in that organic way?”
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Lingerie is a part of our national culture: Over 6.65 million people tuned in to watch the Victoria’s Secret fashion show last year. While American malls may be facing extinction, anyone with internet access can select a thong from an overabundance of unmentionables online. Consumers have unparalleled access to lingerie, but they're still primarily stuck with products offered in a constrained (a.k.a. exclusionary) range of sizes and skin tones. And when expanded size ranges are available, they still require women to fit their bodies into pre-proportioned garments that don’t necessarily reflect actual body shape.
This disconnect between company and consumer alienates potential customers. In contrast, As You Are Intimates listens to women and responds with universal sizing and multiple "nude" shades. Marshai hopes to turn her viral momentum into longtime success by continuing to center future designs on customer feedback. "I want women to know, ‘You are being heard, and not just heard, but there are things being put in place to make sure that the problems that you’re dealing with are hopefully being solved, in any way that I can,'" she says. Once again, this discourse is happening online:
The responses were fervent and immediate. Women asked for bras that create support without sacrificing aesthetics. Some asked for thicker bands to “streamline backfat,” while others requested shorter bra straps to provide support for women with short torsos. Plenty stretch in the hems for thick thighs. Plenty bottoms seemed like the right size but squeezed the life from my thighs, one frequently favorited Tweet read.
For a company devoted to creating truly customized intimates, these Tweets are integral. “I would never want to assume the problems of other women, the frustrations of other women because that’s not my place,” Marshai says. Instead, she plans to use this feedback to guide her next quarterly collection, which will specifically focus on creating better plus-size lingerie.
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Marshai doing some last minute tailoring before a shoot.
As You Are Intimates is still being spread across Twitter, and the subsequent increase in orders has prompted Marshai to search for additional seamstresses and enlist the help of the Creative Girl Gang marketing agency. As the company scales up from a one-woman business, it’s easy to imagine a future where women of all shapes, sizes, and shades have underwear drawers stocked with customized intimates. However, As You Are Intimates isn’t angling to become the next Victoria’s Secret. Marshai wants to grow inward, strengthening the ideology and community that form her company’s backbone.
“I think that the designs are only the beginning," she says. "The accommodations and customization is just the start of something that I hope to be something really beautiful one day, where women can come to this brand and say this is a company that is for me, that listens to me, and that provides for my body in ways that other ones can’t."
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