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It used to be that lingerie just meant one thing. Going to the mall, and beholding store windows postered with women with one kind of look—slim, white, blonde, busty—and feeling some kind of way when itchy synthetic lace didn't transform you into just that. Today, thanks primarily to an intrepid group of Black designers and founders (opens in new tab), the ethos of lingerie has changed. Lingerie isn't for your man or your woman—lingerie is for you, and whatever skin and body you're in. Ahead, Black-owned lingerie brands that are changing the world, one cami, bralette, and thong at a time.
Nude Barre was founded by a diverse group of women who sought to eliminate the idea of beige being the "standard" skin tone. On Nude Barre's site, you can take a brief yet thorough shade-finder quiz so that you can find the best hue for you.
This British brand makes all of their luxury pieces using ethical practices and is led by an all-female team. So you can trust that every piece in their collections is thoughtfully made by women, for women.
London-based brand Blue Reign is a super sultry, high-end lingerie option that offers everything from matching sets to nightgowns to harnesses. Committed to slow fashion and sustainability, all of their pieces are made-to-order using ethical practices in their small studio in Southwest London.
Underargument celebrates femininity by encouraging women to tell their stories, embrace their bodies and feelings, and go against the grain. In addition to making pieces that suit women of all sizes, the brand highlights everyday women on their Instagram by telling their personal stories around body positivity.
Any woman with a D-cup or bigger knows the struggle of only being able to find plain-colored bras and bralettes while all the pretty, lacy items line the smaller-size sides of the shopping rack, and Sablier is here to change that. Based in Lagos, Nigeria, Sablier (pronounced sab-lee-ay) is a brand committed to providing a wide array of sexy options for women with fuller busts. They also provide thoughtful guides on how to clean and take care of their pieces on their Instagram, which serves as an educational resource for all things bra.
Savage X Fenty
Initially launched in 2019, Rihanna's lingerie range—which has, from the jump, carried sizes 32A to 44DD, and XS to 3XL—has been a celebration of inclusivity. And what could have been a flash in the pan has evolved to be one of the most important lingerie brands on the market today. And for good reason: The prices are accessible and there's legit something for everyone, from vanilla basics to triple X freaks.
After growing frustrated with the lack of skin-tone undergarments in the market, founder Ade Hassan set out with a goal of empowering women of color and redefining the color "nude." Nubian Skin launched in 2014 (opens in new tab)with a collection of bras, panties and other essentials in four tones: Berry, Cinnamon, Caramel and Café au Lait. And while those core colors have remained the same, Nubian Skin has since expanded to shapewear, swim, and menswear. We've long been huge fans, and we know you will be, too.
If you're looking for an insane array of luxe and globally sourced lingerie, look no further than Anya Lust, which was founded in 2015 by Krystle Kotara—who has also penned a book of erotic poems (opens in new tab) and prose. The idea is truly one-of-a-kind pieces alongside its own in-house brand, making lingerie special and bespoke, not chintzy and disposable.
After 15 years of curating African art, Beautifully Undressed founder and owner Annabelle Mu’azu decided to pivot to panties, quite literally, applying her finely tuned aesthetic to an artful range of boudoir non-basics. Stop in for one-of-a-kind pieces designed to provoke all the senses.
Amber Tolliver founded Liberté when, after 17-years as a standard and plus-size model, she still found herself frustrated with the options for her own size, 32E. So, in 2019, the brand began offering a well-edited selection of a few bras in cup sizes A-H, band sizes 32-38, and just three colors: black, blush, and navy. What's nice is the high-low mix. Often, the most delicate Italian lace is paired alongside high-performance modern fabrics, like micro jersey.
At last! Lingerie that's not just meant for sexy times. In 2017, designer and founder Shiara Robinson brought her vision for all day lingerie to life with LaSette, with the idea that you might still want great bras and panties at work, when you're lounging, or at the farmer's market. Its specialty is a range of see-through basics constructed from the softest nylon spandex that are equally at-home on their own, or layered under tees and jeans
Suzy Black NYC
When Suzy Black NYC founder and designer Diondra Julian was in her last semester of college, her mother gifted her what all near-grads covet: A box of hand-selected lingerie. And while Julian loved the gift, she didn't see herself—feminine, soft, delicate, cool—represented in the lingerie market. And so came Suzy Black, lingerie that's luxe and lacy, but also youthful. Think cut-out harem pants, one-shoulder bralettes, and silk boxers.
Real life couple Vera Moore and Nate Johnson created Love, Vera in 2018 to foster opportunity for Black women in fashion (and to design seriously cute lingerie). There is no singular vision of sexiness in the Love, Vera universe. Instead, representation and individualism is uplifted. Love, Vera customers are encouraged to channel their conservative side alongside their raciest fantasies.
Hannah Morrill is a writer and editor based in Portland, Maine. She’s an avid reader, an indifferent face-washer and a sunscreen/retinol evangelist.
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