When she was a child growing up in Los Angeles, Jenette Coduto‘s favorite Saturday morning activity was to visit fabric shops and spend her meagre allowance on cloth that she would sew into dresses for her and her sisters.
Flash forward to 2015 and she’s still at it, although this time Coduto is bringing her appreciation for fabric to women everywhere with the launch of Standard Drawers, a line of high-tech underwear ‘basics’ that is, well, anything but standard.
Standard Drawers debuted back in January with a single item, a sleek pull-on teddy that retails for £180. What distinguishes the piece, and the brand, though is the material used in its construction.
Standard Drawers is the first lingerie label to bring to market a light new microfiber from Spanish fabric brand Meryl that is made with the finest filaments ever produced. The result (called the Meryl ‘Sublime’) is a fabric with a silky, ultra-soft touch that is also breathable, moisture wicking and non-pilling.
For her teddy, Coduto paired the Meryl microfiber with three metres of Italian stretch lace to create a figure-hugging high-cut silhouette with the performance qualities of light shapewear — but with no elastic to bind or pinch. The teddy will ultimately be part of a 24-piece range that includes bras, briefs, thongs, robes and a chemise in four colourways.
(Note: If you are traveling to the Interfilière lingerie expo in Paris next month, Standard Drawers will be presenting its line, including new pieces and colours, in a show at the Meryl Lounge on July 4 at 3:30 p.m.)
Coduto, 31, is an anomaly among young lingerie designers in that she didn’t attend fashion school. Instead, she studied architecture and urban design and worked for several years in San Francisco before relocating to London in 2009.
Her love of fabric and trained eye for construction allowed Coduto to look at the lingerie market with a unique perspective.
“Being trained as an architect and urban designer taught me how to design and create environments where people would thrive. I take this same approach when building a brand and creating products,” she told Lingerie Talk. “I think products should serve a purpose and be beautifully designed just like a beautiful building or well-designed Italian piazza. I believe a good brand creates an environment where you want to sit, stay awhile and keep coming back.”
Standard Drawers is part of the new minimalism movement in the lingerie industry, a group of mostly young brands that are redefining the concept of ‘basics’ or ‘essentials’ by employing new materials and construction techniques and avoiding overly sexualized marketing.
“I’m just obsessed with comfort and effortless clothing,” Coduto said. “I didn’t find any other lingerie brand on the market that just stripped back to the basics and used technologically advanced materials to create simple but beautiful garments, so I decided I needed to create one.”
Her brand’s name immediately sounds like a retro throwback to simpler times, but it’s got a subtle (and very modern) double meaning.
“The ultimate goal of Standard Drawers is to do something different in the lingerie world,” she said. “We’re doing away with overtly sexy stereotypes and themed personas. We want to encourage women to carry their own standard and provide them with the foundations to do so.
“I wanted a name that stood for quality and that would set a new standard for women’s lingerie,” she added. “I remember my grandmother used to say ‘put your drawers on’ when she got me dressed as a child. I thought that was the perfect word — it was classic and unpretentious.”
The target market for Standard Drawers is women in their 30s “who are looking for versatile classic pieces that complement their lifestyles and last long-term,” Coduto said.
“I think your 30s are an interesting time — it’s when your personal style really starts to develop and you become more confident in your personal ethos and purpose.”
Although her label is based in Britain, Coduto hopes it will appeal to women on both sides of the pond with its mix of west coast casual style and refined English elegance.
To get that image across, Standard Drawers shot its first marketing campaign in New York, with model Nola Palmer exploring the city dressed in nothing but the SD teddy and heels.
“New York City just seemed like the right place to get this frame of mind across,” Coduto said. “Like Alicia Keys sang, New York is where dreams are made.”
The campaign, shot by William Cooper Mitchell, includes some highly memorable images that will help this label stand out. Who else has the nerve to show a lingerie model in the presence of, gulp, donuts?