I first started developing wire free bras in 2012, 5 years on from finishing treatment for breast cancer. Going through that experience and being unable to find a non-wired bra in a natural fibre and a proper cup size (I'm a small band but a large cup, so the typical Small / Medium / Large that wire-free bras typically come in doesn't work for me!) I felt that as a woman and a consumer, I'd fallen completely off the face of the earth! It made me absolutely determined to create the best wire free bra ever, for women of all sizes, irrespective of whether they were going through breast cancer or not.
As a consumer, rather than someone brought up in lingerie and textiles, I couldn't get my head around why wire free bras weren't made in the same range of sizes as wired options, and I didn't understand why none of the big brands were addressing that. Having experienced the comfort of wire free bras, albeit through a time of extreme ill-health and discomfort, I wasn't keen to go back.
The less you know about something the more likely you are to attempt a solution in my view. Sometimes, having a good insight into how hard things will be means you give up before you start, but I felt strongly that lingerie brands, mostly run by men, had got lazy in terms of understanding what women actually want, and I felt certain I wasn't the only woman finding wires painful. I became obsessed with making the best wire free bra in Australia in as big a size range as wired options, and yes, it wasn't easy!
It turns out it's very easy to make a bra with a wire and a foam cup, that kind of determines the size and shape, all you do then is build some lace around it, and repeat. To make a bra without a wire you need to cut and sew the cup, moving seams millimetre by millimetre until the shape is right. You also need to incorporate ways to support larger cups, through stabilisers - in my case non-synthetic only so organic cotton - and broader band width. It's a very technical process and requires highly skilled bra technicians and fitters, which is why incidentally, we can't make in Australia as those skills and factories largely went offshore years ago.
After around 2 years of development, and with the help of a dedicated team of experts who gave their time tirelessly for free (you know who you are, Maggie, Jess, Felicity!) we had a prototype, and my it felt good, a comfortable bra for big busts also!
Having developed this product based on my frustrations about the lack of it as a consumer, I then needed to test the market for it, to make sure I wasn't alone. We undertook research through Omnipoll and guess what? It told us that 74% of women would prefer to wear a non-wired bra if it offered the same support, and that 62% of women take off their bras the minute they get home! How amazing is that? And what a terrible indictment on the industry?! Why was it continuing to make a product that women couldn't bear wearing?
I lost that first wire-free business, but the lessons I learned building the product really set me up for The Very Good Bra. What felt like the tragedy of losing it, turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. As fate would have it, that week I met my circular economy mentor in Sydney and the idea of creating the world's first zero-waste AND wire free bra was born. Whilst that presented even greater challenges in terms of materials and sourcing, I've never looked back. Waste and wire free, what more could the modern woman want?!
So my top 3 must haves for the ultimate comfy, wire free bra are:
1) A breathable, natural fibre - in our case, tencel or organic cotton.
2) Absolutely no synthetics - spandex is plastic and inhibits breathability. Even our sewing thread and elastic is organic cotton or tencel.
3) A longer band for anchoring and support, with organic cotton stabiliser in all the right places.
We hope you love it as much as we do :-)