Awhile ago I introduced you to a new brand of lingerie for full-figured women called Curvy Couture. I also promised you and exclusive interview with the woman behind the designs, the vivacious and determined Dora Lau. Well, here it is!
Hi Dora, and thank you for the interview!
Thank you. You have an amazing blog! Seven years? You were an early blogger!
Thank you — I’m blushing. I just write about lingerie; you design it! Can you tell us about how you came to be a designer?
I grew up in Hong Kong. I wanted to get away from where I was called “fattie” and went to school in the states, in Colorado, for computer science — what was called “data analysis” back then. When I graduated and came back to Hong Kong, my mom said “No” to me continuing on in law school and suggested fashion school. My parents had a music label, and so at an early age I was dressing stars for appearances, photo-shoots, etc. And, because I was big while growing up, I had already been making clothes for myself. You know how it is, people thinking that curvy girls don’t need fashion. I remember looking for a nice evening dress for a nice dinner and I couldn’t find anything.
They think you should wear a muumuu or something. Ugh.
Yes! And I wanted to look beautiful. So back in 1990, I was looking for a nice dress and even then I was thinking about starting a lingerie business. You need the right lingerie under that dress! To create something to show off the bosoms because they are very beautiful — one of the most beautiful parts of a full-figured woman. I wanted to give her and myself something worthy of looks.
You already have a well-established career in fashion design and you already design bras for Lane Bryant; what made you want to start this lingerie line? Was it the data analyst in you, convincing you of the numbers? *giggle*
Well, yes, that too. *giggle* There are a lot of us. I have been successful, but for over 20 years I have dreamed of this lingerie line. My staff, most of which are full-figured women, has been with me for at least a decade and it has been their dream too. I am grateful to Lane Bryant, — my goal is not to compete, but to do more!
Lane Bryant and other large companies have price constraints to make their margins, which I appreciate. But with all the beautiful fabrics, yarns, Lycra, laces, out now, it is possible to make better fitting and better looking bras and with my own company I will not have to compromise in materials or in construction. Now my dream can come true and I’ve poured all my savings into this venture.
Well, let’s see if I can help with that and get you some sales!
That would be nice. Here’s a code to give your readers an exclusive discount! Have them use code SOAG20 to save 20%.
We have many sizes available now, and we are still working on the larger sizes yet. Getting the sizes just right is important.
How much more complicated is it to design and make bras for larger busts?
Oh, there is a lot more work! No two 42G bosoms are alike! So we have to find several fitting models who will wear the bras for a period of time. We have fittings in New York, New Orleans… Many places. These fittings assure that the bras we create will properly and comfortably support more than her breast but her life.
Bras must give her physical and emotional comfort to fit her life. For as we are seeing in these fittings, full-figured women have special concerns about bras fitting their lives. Just a few weeks ago, in bra fittings in New Orleans for example, we learned more about why full-figured or BBW women search high and low for bras that really fit. A beautician doesn’t want to fall out of her bra while working at the sink, washing hair. A woman working on Wall Street told us how she needs a bra to “contain her” to avoid problems with male co-workers.
As a bigger busted woman, I know that many larger or plus-sized tops and dresses have necklines which can be troublesome that way.
Even with t-shirts there are problems. There are the moms and others wearing bras where the apex is three inches lower and two inches to side than where it should be and so their tee looks so uncomplimentary. These beautiful women are uncomfortable and do not want to leave the house and go out in public. That’s a shame.
This is what I mean about bras fitting lives. The comfort is more than physical, but emotional as well.
But the physical support of a bra cannot be overlooked.
So many women — women I’ve met and seen — have bras which show physical strain and pain! There are red marks beneath the bust from where the bra has been cutting into them. Indentations and red marks from bra straps. Backs and shoulders are hurting; headaches too. This is not necessary!
A properly fitting bra supports a woman, smooths the back so there is no flesh over the bra back or “wings” over straps. There are no marks left. And it will not hurt. Yes, with a larger bosom there are extra challenges to engineer bras to carry so much weight. But at Curvy Couture we love challenges!
We are a team of ladies who want to address the problems by designing, engineering bras which fit properly, fit in a woman’s life beautifully, and which look beautiful too.
Is all of this extra work why finding larger size bras is so difficult?
There is more work involved, yes; but finding a limited range of sizes is due to the short-sightedness of stores which continue to only serve the demographic they already have. This is primarily due to men, who are still the ones to make the decisions, and who are not sympathetic to non-Victoria Secret sizes.
Ugh. Don’t get me started on Icky Vicky!
As lovely as the bras look and sound, I’m sure you’re aware how difficult shopping for bras is, especially online… Do you have plans to be in stores?
Yes, I do. We have plans with specialty stores and have a rep in New York, but our website also offers an easy return policy so that women can order a few sizes and try bras on in the comfort of their own homes. Those bras which do not fit can be returned for a refund or exchange — and Curvy Couture will even pay for the return shipping charge.
I see Curvy Couture will have corsets… Does that mean we can hope for nighties as well? If you are over a C-cup, you can’t find nightgowns, babydolls, etc. with fitted bodices. *sigh*
Oh, yes, babydolls and more! First we must get the bras sized right and get a return on the investment we’ve made. Having so many sizes is a big investment.
But so exciting! That’s so exciting! Thank you so much for your time, Dora.
Oh, please, consider me a friend!
I will — I do!