With Valentine’s Day approaching, lingerie is on the minds of many — but often those pondering such pretty pieces find the size selection scarce when seeking out luxurious undergarments. This was the experience of London-based entrepreneur Evangeline Poku, who launched Azaira Intimates in 2017.
“I’ve always had bigger boobs, since I was quite young,” she notes. Poku says that it wasn’t until she was planning for her honeymoon that she decided to splash out on some saucy separates and her options were limited, to say the least.
“My size wasn’t there,” she recalls of her effort to purchase higher-end lingerie, adding that what was available didn’t appeal to her at all, both design and quality-wise. Poku highlights this void as part of the size discrimination issue that has pervaded the fashion industry for decades, from intimates to evening wear with built-in bustlines that have traditionally been woefully inadequate for many.
“The luxury industry doesn’t often consider people with a bigger bust,” she says. And her lacking lingerie experience pushed her to create her own brand — one that mixes old school glamour with contemporary appeal.
Azaira Intimates’ offerings include bra and underwear styles that boast lush embroidery rendering floral and abstract motifs. “I wanted something that was delicate but impactful,” Poku says of how she landed on the scribble-like texture featured in some of the pieces. “Something that hadn’t been done in the lingerie space.”
She says that she’s inspired by the “glitz and glamour” of the ’70s and ’80s — note the playful suspenders offered by the brand as well; yet Poku aims to craft items that also have an enduring nature to them, too.
“We live in a society that has two extremes,” she says. “We have people who are embracing sustainability and doing things correctly. And then we have [others] focusing on trends and different seasons. With our brand, we don’t look at timelines or seasons. When we create pieces, we really think about them. And I hope they stand the test of time.”
But the lavish selection doesn’t resonate with customers simply based on beauty alone. Poku says she receives feedback constantly from her community, who like herself had felt deeply unseen by luxury labels for much of their lives. “I hear from people that [the pieces] are so beautiful,” she says. “But also that we’re a brand that considers them as people.”
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