Canadian girls, there’s a new lingerie label in town, and it’s coming to you with love.
Toronto-based With Love Lingerie is off to a good start with two very different style ranges: the cheery Bloom line with its bright floral print, and the darkly seductive Femme line of erotic black separates. That’s the distinctive Bloom bustier in the photo above; you can probably guess from the photos below which pieces belong to which line!
With Love founder Carrie Russell also conducts popular make-your-own lingerie sewing classes in Toronto. Check the company’s website to learn more.
But first, Carrie shares with us the story behind her irresistibly romantic new line. Get ready to swoon.
LT: What’s your background? What inspired you to pursue lingerie design?
Carrie: I went to UWO and earned a BA is English and Visual Arts, and from there I went to college for Fashion Design and Construction. Throughout design school I loved playing with the relationship that clothing and personality play a role in our lives. There is no piece of clothing more intimate than lingerie, so I am attracted to creating garments that allow modern women to express themselves, for themselves. We go through our days and seldom does anyone know what is under our outer garments. We hold a tantalizing secret, a secret that lies somewhere between our skin and our silks.
Why “With Love”? What motivated you to start your own line?
I have worked as a successful lingerie designer for other companies in the past and feel it is time to express what my idea of lingerie is. I’ve matured and feel ready to take on the demands that accompany starting your own business. There is a definite challenge in wearing all the hats that are required but it is so rewarding to see my true point of view come to life in the form of lingerie.
What inspires each collection?
Between designing collections I act as a sponge. Initially I don’t directly dedicate my mind to designing the line; I read, watch programs, browse the boutiques and take time to socialize. It is amazing how many ideas come to me while sharing a bottle of wine with the girls! Listening to their stories about life in the city is by far the most inspiring.
Who is your dream customer?
My dream customer is in her early 30s, she has come to love herself, both body and mind, and wants to treat herself to something intimate, delicate and made with care. She loves being a woman and is able to balance the demands of modern urban life with her personal sphere. She has a sense of humor, whimsy and likes a bit of mystery.
The label is super-new. What are your short- and/or long-term goals for With Love?
Short term I want to increase With Love’s exposure and partner with more boutiques without sacrificing the intimate and personal appeal of the company. Long-term, I’d like the company to be embraced by women internationally.
Tell us about your lingerie-making classes. Who is your typical student?
The lessons are a riot! We work our way through panties, bras, bustier and slips. I’ve partnered with Dilys Tong and Lindsey Wise from Sew Be It Studios on Eglinton Ave, so the students just bring an interest and a smile and we provide the space and supplies. The philosophies of S.B.I.S and With Love overlap in the sense that we love promoting healthy female relationships and self-esteem.
I’d love to pin down a typical student but the registrants range from high school students to mothers and even grandmothers! We’ve seen a growing interest in the lessons within groups of girlfriends in their 20’s and 30’s who come to learn together. But more amazing is that I’ve seen many friendships form in the classes between women that probably would never have met but for taking the classes.
Why is the Canadian fashion community so important to you?
The Canadian fashion community is small but mighty. It is surprising how many design studios and specialty manufactures are still running in the country. Since the community is relatively small there are great organizations that have formed to push and expose the talent that resides in the major urban centers. Here in Toronto, I am an active member of Toronto Fashion Incubator and they are a wonderful resource for designers and they are always promoting the Canadian design community.