It was after trying on countless bras in a lingerie fitting room in 2011 that Michelle Lam decided the traditional fitting process was too miserable and unsophisticated for the nuances of each woman's body shape. So she decided to solve the problem herself. First, she bought 500 different bras and hosted bra fittings in her living room. Amid sushi and Champagne, friends would zero in on their favorites, then fill out a questionnaire that would later form the database that has fueled Lam's intelligent bra matchmaking service — known as True&Co. Over 200,000 women have already contributed to this growing data set since its beta launch in January of 2012, and it's become dynamic: With every answer about your ideal bra, like a good friend, its algorithm tells you not only what looks best on your body type, but what you'll find most comfortable after a long day. Then it stores your answer to better aid the search for others.
Inventory runs the gamut of casual to high-end lingerie brands. And, today, True&Co. is releasing its first collection, designed exclusively from the sprawling, sexy data set. Designed by Nikki Dekker — one of the designers of lingerie cult favorite The Lake & Stars — the collection is inspired by intergalactic travel and powerful super heroines. The Cut sat down with Lam and Dekker, both bra whisperers of sorts, to discuss the creative process behind the collection.
Can you describe the moment where you realized that ill-fitting bras were a real problem that needed to be solved?
ML: I got my first bra fitting in years at a local department store — maybe it was my first real fitting ever. I was measured with the measuring tape, and then I was stuck in the fitting room for two and a half hours at the mercy of the saleswoman, trying on bra after bra that was "my size" but didn't work for my body. Frustrated and tired, I realized that many women had the same pain point, and that's what made bra shopping a chore versus an enjoyable fashion experience.
So how did you first go about fixing that problem?
ML: I had this idea that if we handed the power back to women, they could self-report their fit issues and diagnose their own sizing. For the first time ever, they could understand which bras really worked for their unique body shape, just like they do when shopping for any other piece of clothing. So I bought 500 bras on my credit card and put them in my living room, much to my husband's chagrin. I then bribed whomever I could find with sushi and Champagne to come over, try an early pen-and-paper version of the quiz and try on the bras. When my friends and their friends started finding three, four, or five bras that they liked in their box, I knew we had the beginnings of a new way to shop for lingerie.
So at this point, how many women are using/have contributed to True&Co.'s database?
ML: More than 200,000 women designed True&Co.'s first collection, and more women are taking the quiz everyday! And when women try our home try-on service and give us feedback on the pieces they liked or didn't like, we refine their shop selections for a truly personal shopping experience.
How long have you been collaborating on this project, Nikki?
ND: I started talking to Michelle last October about the project, so ideas have been ruminating for the past year, but we really started working closely on the collection in January.
Are there any interesting elements from the information collected that have informed your design decisions?
ND: I was initially very intrigued by True&Co.'s process of fit — this scientific algorithm they've formulated and applied to such an intimate and wildly varied process such as bra fit. Each style has been informed by these needs from different body shapes, so you should be able to find a style that works for you. We're also working on ways to improve the line based on the way women use their lingerie, whether it's easier ways to take care of it or making it more versatile, with which we'll continue updating the line.
What are some inspirations behind the collection?
ND: I'm a big sci-fi fan and have been reading a lot of it recently. I liked the idea of an adventurous woman who can travel through the space-time continuum like in The Sirens of Titan, marrying elements of style from art deco design to futurism. The curvaceous lines and graphic elements of these combine well to complement the female form and assist her in any adventure she might encounter! Or so my thought process went ...
So, what were some of the fun parts in your collaboration together?
ND: Honestly, geeking out together when we were talking about the inspirations behind the collection. I wasn't sure how she'd react when I showed her my initial mood board, but she got just as excited as I was, and the silly ideas we had when talking about the references made me feel not so dorky!
ML: When we were planning the [launch] event, we had another geek moment when we both thought of models playing space video games while wearing our lingerie. I think we both have a secret love of galaxies far away and a version of Star Trek where Star Fleet Command are all amazing, accomplished women.BEGIN SLIDESHOW
Most Viewed Stories
The Big Secret of Every Dating App: Tech Doesn’t Matter
How to Get Out of Any Party Conversation
‘Weed Dick’ Is the New Way for Men to Sexually Disappoint You
Cindy Crawford on Bagels, Instagirls, and Bringing the Supermodel Era to TV
American Apparel Files for Bankruptcy
Astrology GIFs for the Week of October 5, 2015
It’s Harder to Be Thin Than It Was in the ’80s
All the Ceilings Women Keep Hitting Their Heads On
‘Truly Ugly Guy With Glasses’ Is Europe’s Most Virile Man
From Our Partners
Working Families Party Calls for Congress to Shoot Down Obama Trade Deal
The Day I Told The Ugly Truth About My Marriage
5 Best Sex Positions to Practically Guarantee an Orgasm
11 Struggles Every Girl With Glasses Will Understand
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Fashion Features5 Things I Want to Wear From Paris: Part 3
Stripes, embroidered separates, and Céline studded boots.Cindy Crawford on Bagels, Instagirls, and Bringing the Supermodel Era to TV
And how she's helping her daughter navigate the pressures of the modeling industry.Zendaya Floated Around Paris Like a Cloud
Dreamy.See Our Exclusive Portfolio From Paris Fashion Week
Another fashion month dispatch from photographer Tomasz Lazar.Coddington, Kawakubo Star in Interview Portfolio
They were photographed for a sweeping 60-page section by Fabien Baron.American Apparel Files for Bankruptcy
Current shareholders, including Dov Charney, will no longer control the company.The Retired Modeling Agent Who Loves Empire
“I started my own agency — we represented Twiggy — but went off to be assistant to the actor Yul Brynner, who was dating my roommate at the time.”Bright Coats for Cold Days
New York women in winter's least-boring outerwear, from bright-green alpaca fur to leopard-print mohair.Céline’s Woman-Friendly Triumph
Phoebe Philo remains in touch with what women want to wear.Watch the Alexander McQueen Livestream
Enjoy!From Up Close, Raf Simons’s Vision for Dior Is Clear
And don't count John Galliano out at Margiela yet.5 Things I Want to Wear From Paris: Part 2
Cropped sweaters, a spangled skirt, and more.Jaden Smith and Kesha Partied This Week
Along with Cindy Crawford, Anjelica Huston, Rita Ora, and Lena Dunham.Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid Partied in Balmain
Plus: more highlights from Paris Fashion Week's parties, including Jared Leto.See All the Street Style From Paris Fashion Week
Featuring wooden platforms, velvet robes, and floor-length ponchos.Who Won Best-Dressed at Milan Fashion Week?
Another city, another people's choice Peacock.Style Smackdown: Olivia Pope vs. Cookie Lyon
Judging the best looks from this week's episodes.Never Mind the Feminist Sound-Bites, Rick Owens Just Showed His Best Clothes Yet
Gymnast models symbolizing "women supporting women" wore mature yet spontaneous looks.Grace Jones Is Having the Wildest Book Tour Ever [NSFW]
She flashed crowds at her signing in New York.