How’s this for a product launch?
When the new American label Authentic Country Brand debuted its first lingerie collection back in May, they needed five police officers to control the crowd and keep photographers in line.
The setting wasn’t New York or L.A. or even Nashville — which might have been appropriate considering the label’s homespun look and rural appeal — but China, where Authentic Country Brand wowed visitors at the annual Shenzhen international lingerie show with a booth set up like a barn (see below) and a runway show resembling an R-rated episode of Hee Haw.
The (mostly male) Chinese press went gaga over the new label’s blend of stylish garments and old-fashioned American showmanship, and ACB got coverage on five TV shows. Country, it seems, needs no translation.
Authentic Country Brand, which will launch an online store for U.S. customers next month, is a labor of love for industry veteran Kate Liegey and her design partner Lizziee Jerez.
Liegey has helped develop lingerie and shapewear brands for major fashion houses such as Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger (she was the first to add men’s wide waistbands to women’s underwear) and has been the project manager for several celebrity lingerie labels over her 20-year career.
ACB is the culmination of that experience and gives both Liegey (on the left in the photo at right) and Jerez a chance to pay tribute to both their southern roots (North Carolina and Tennessee) and the traditional values associated with rural America.
“Authentic Country Brand encompasses a real girl, a girl who’s wholesome, who loves country music, who values things that are authentic,” Liegey told Lingerie Talk.
“There’s so much adult lingerie out there. We wanted a lingerie line that a mom could wear and feel comfortable having her daughter wear too.”
Authentic Country offers a romantic collection of comfortable bras, panties, sleepwear and loungewear that is more affordably priced than department store offerings — all the bra-panty ensembles are under $30 thanks to ACB’s factory-direct e-commerce model. Based in New York, ACB is manufactured in China, where Liegey spent years overseeing suppliers and factory compliance for other labels.
But it’s those promotional images of cowgirls in their Stetsons and Justins, doing farm chores in their undies, that will really make people take notice of the new label. There’s also a series of videos like the one below that combine down-home narratives with country tunes — talk about a marriage made in heaven.
The company’s marketing hits a lot of notes that resonate deeply in the American psyche — farm life, country music, healthy outdoor lifestyles, hard-working families … and even a dash of red state politics during an election year in which everyone’s waving a flag.
But ACB’s grassroots pitch isn’t just some ad agency bullhooey. The company is committed to supporting farmers and sustainable farming practices in particular, and shot those iconic campaign images at New York’s Glynwood sustainable farm, where ACB team members have ridden for years. And a portion of profits from the new label will go to support the No Farms, No Food campaign of the American Farmland Trust.
“We wanted to give something back,” said Liegey, who brought her horse with her when she moved to New York from Nashville 20 years ago. “The farming industry is in dire need.”
In fact, Authentic Country Brand has one strategic goal that undoubtedly sets it apart from every other lingerie label.
“One of our goals is to leave New York and go back to North Carolina or Nashville and set up a sustainable farm,” Liegey said. “Eventually you have to get out of the rat race.”
Below are some more images from Authentic Country‘s memorable first campaign. You probably won’t find yourself mucking out the stalls or riding a tractor in your ACB undies, but a cowboy can dream, can’t he?