“A great fit has always been a given and now more than ever, there is fashion like you wouldn’t believe,” says Bare Necessities buyer Heather Viskovic, who cited Elomi as her fastest-growing brand.
For Elomi’s tenth anniversary, we got to talk with Liesl Goodman, head designer, about why the label is on the up and up, year after year, and what it does for the women who wear it.
Q: Who is Elomi designed for? Ten years in, how do you keep innovating?
A: Elomi is designed for a fuller-figured woman who wants bras that make her look and feel great and that work hard so she’s free to focus on her life. Elomi is unique in that it’s developed specially for fuller sizes, rather than graded up from smaller sizes. Our designers pay attention to the details that make a difference, like using powerful back fabrics and placing straps central to the shoulders because we understand that shoulders don’t get broader as size increases.
“We’re always looking to develop styles that have not been done in larger sizes before”
We’re unique in that we don’t have separate creative and technical design teams. Each designer is responsible for the fit and styling of a product from concept to production, including making patterns and grading to the required sizes. This means that the designer can adjust the styling, fabrication or structure of a garment to ensure that it works. Innovation at Elomi is constant. We look for exciting new fabrics as well as technologies such as new sewing techniques. We’re always looking to develop styles that have not been done in larger sizes before.
Q: How did you get to where you are today, Elomi’s head designer?
A: My creativity and drive come from my mum. My first job was in her dancewear shop designing and making leotards. This sparked an interest in swimwear, so I studied fashion design in Durban, South Africa, which is where I was born and grew up. I went to work for Playtex South Africa and was surprised to discover that I relished the engineering aspect of lingerie design.
I immigrated to the UK in 1994 and took a position with Panache, where I was given free rein to venture into larger cup sizes. After six years, I left to relocate closer to family. In 2002, I took on the role of overseeing design for the Goddess brand, a well-known full-figure brand in the American market. As the collection grew, we realized there was potential for a new sister brand aimed at the global market with a more youthful aesthetic and a less structured, lighter appearance, so we launched Elomi lingerie in 2008. Elomi swim was added in 2012. Elomi has grown rapidly and has achieved phenomenal growth in its tenth year.
“My passion for designing fuller-figured lingerie comes from personal experience”
Q: What drives and inspires you?
A: My passion for designing fuller-figure lingerie comes from personal experience. I was fuller-busted when younger, and am now fuller-figured, so I have always been able to wear the products that I design. I’m surrounded by a very talented team but still love to be hands-on, and designing garments is the highlight of my day. I love that even after 25 years in this industry, there is always something new to learn. Inspiration is all around me, often sparked by conversations with our customers and sales teams.
Q: What does the “Live Limitless” campaign mean to you?
A: For me, “Live Limitless” means being creative in every part of my life, and making time to be with family and friends. I want to encourage all women to take time out to think about what they have achieved and overcome, and how they “Live Limitless.”
Q: What do women want from a bra? Do American women and British women want the same things?
A: Women want their bras to give them a rounded, forward and lifted shape, and they want them to be comfortable and to stay put. American and British women want the same from their bras, but they differ in color preferences. American women want their bras to disappear under their clothing, so flat seams and skin-tone shades are important. British women don’t mind a white bra under a white shirt, especially if that bra is lacy and beautiful.
We’ve found that the secret to giving women what they want is to listen. Our network of fit specialists and salespeople feed fit, style and trend info to our design team, enabling us to be very responsive. We get out into stores to see firsthand the fit challenges our customers face.
Q: Who are all of your bras named for?
A: We compile lists and pick names that we think suit the personality of the bra. We need to choose names that work across all markets. We scan lists of baby names and take note when we meet someone with a name we haven’t considered.
Q: What’s your favorite bra right now?
A: My favorite bra is always the one I’m working on, and right now it’s Eugenie, which launches in October. Eugenie doesn’t care if she shows under clothing. She says, “Look at me! I’m gorgeous.”
Q: What else is new and exciting coming up?
A: Fall/winter 2019 promises delicious hints of metallic, shimmer and shine and dark tropical prints. Look out for Matilda Unicorn with rainbow sparkles, exquisite gilded Eugenie and luscious Roxanne. We also have a fabulous new strapless bra launching in time for the holiday season.
Q: What’s the #1 thing you wish you could tell women out there looking for their perfect fit?
A: My message is to love yourself. Get fitted by a professional who understands your body. Elomi has a host of different bras to suit different body types, and your bra fit expert will help you find the bra that is right for you. A good-fitting bra will build your confidence and can be life-changing.
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