Catalina Girald burst onto the North American lingerie scene just over a year ago determined to do things differently and empower women in a way that truly matters.
Her startup label, Naja Lingerie, has produced several small collections since then and earned tremendous goodwill for its commitment to fair-labour manufacturing and worker training in Catalina’s native Colombia. No wonder Naja has amassed nearly 70,000 Facebook friends already.
Based in San Francisco, Naja is also a nimble brand that pivots quickly to bring new ideas to market, and as a result doesn’t have a single “signature” style. Last fall’s colorful Mexican-inspired Talavera print range was followed by a limited edition for Valentine’s Day that included bright mesh and lace separates suitable for the occasion.
But Catalina’s latest brainstorm will probably generate more buzz than anything Naja has done so far.
It’s a big assortment called Cheeky Knickers that features graphic imagery of food, animals and more, all printed on high-quality Peruvian pima cotton and affordable at $18 a pair.
Generally speaking, novelty underwear has short-lived appeal, but this assortment might beat the odds thanks to its clever packaging.
There’s an ‘All-American’ line with images of burgers, fries and shakes, but you can get a three-pack called the ‘Happy Meal’ for $50. Likewise, the Asian assortment of sushi pieces, fortune cookie and sake barrels is available as an ‘After Take-Out’ set packaged in a Chinese food container.
Some of the items in the collection are more than just a little, um, cheeky — like the Miss Galore kitty face, the Bush forest scenery and the Down Under koala bear, all of which will inspire countless puns.
There will be a temptation among some Naja fans to question why Catalina, who has proven design skills, would go down the rather pedestrian path of novelty undies. But Naja is a label determined to succeed. And that means selling. And these pieces will fly off the shelves like fast food.
It’s also worth noting that Naja, whose slogan is “Radically Different Lingerie”, recently expanded its charitable activities by creating the Naja Children’s Education Fund. It sells discounted ‘seconds’ and donates 100% of the proceeds to buy school supplies for children of the women that Naja employs through its Medellin skills training program.
That alone should be reason enough to support this unusual, amusing and altogether admirable brand.