by MIKE CHAIKEN
The typical image of lingerie is pretty, frilly, feminine, and, at times, kind of frivolous.
White Rabbit New York has the pretty, frilly, and feminine down.
Not by any means.
The driving forces behind White Rabbit, wife and husband Mariana Hernandez and Cristian Rios have created a lingerie line that is eco-friendly – using bamboo rayon for the fabric—and socially conscious, contracting Fabrica Social—which is firm that helps empower women in rural Mexico.
We caught up with Hernandez via email to talk about White Rabbit New York.
CTFashionMag: The first thing that struck me about White Rabbit is the ethical dimension of the brand. Let let’s talk about why it was important that your lingerie take an ethical approach to production? What is it in your background and your husband’s that helped establish this sense of making the world a better place than you found it?
Hernandez: When we first had the idea to start White Rabbit, we wanted to create a brand that first of all, made women feel comfortable and good about themselves. We also wanted a brand that had a positive impact in the community. I have always been interested in the well-being of others, and pursued this in different ways, including serving as a volunteer for the Mexican Red Cross.
At White Rabbit, we wanted to ensure that people we partner and work with are treated fairly. We are also very passionate about empowering women – first by helping them be more comfortable in their intimates, and also by helping the advancement of female artisans through our partnership with Fabrica Social.
We didn’t want White Rabbit to be just another online underwear brand, we wanted our products to be truly different. In our opinion, this difference stems from the materials we use and the construction.
We partnered with a family-owned manufacturer with over 100 years of experience in crafting lingerie. During our multiple prototype iterations, their attention to detail just blew us away. They would show us products from the leading “luxury” brands and explain why they were really not that well crafted: an elevated, bulky seam here, a poorly trimmed end there –it was eye opening. We also loved that they employ only women.
CTFashionMag: Let’s talk about your fabric choice. How did you learn about bamboo as a source to create fabric and what are its advantages from, first, an environmental perspective, and then from the practical perspective of creating a line of lingerie?
Hernandez: We first learned about bamboo fabric when designing our introductory collection. I was looking through fabric samples and touched a piece of fabric that was so soft and smooth. I fell in love. Bamboo is more sustainable to grow than cotton- it grows faster and with less water consumption. We love using it in our products because its softness is unparalleled and it is also breathable and moisture-wicking.
CTFashionMag: Why would the customer care about your choices of fabric and workforce?
Hernandez: In a world where people care so much about what we consume, where it comes from and the impact that it has on the environment, we thought why is it that no one pays attention to how underwear is made?
We wanted our products and our customers to have the same purposeful experience that they have when buying other products: feel good, do good. Furthermore, using high-quality materials makes a clear difference in how comfortable your underwear feels. We’ve heard this feedback repeatedly from our customers.
CTFashionMag: Getting into fashion is one thing. But why lingerie? What was it about this kind of garment that you saw an opportunity for your vision?
Hernandez: As I became older and a young professional, I wanted to upgrade my underwear collection and “graduate” from the brands of my teens. I realized there were not many options for me to get cute, comfortable everyday underwear: it was either the upper-end brands, which were too expensive for day to day use, or mainstream brands like Victoria’s Secret, which no longer spoke to me. I created White Rabbit to fill the gap for high-quality, affordable, everyday intimates.
CTFashionMag: Lingerie can take many approaches. There’s your practical Fruit of the Looms. There’s the “naughty” stuff you buy at a corner shop with blinds on the windows. There’s the high end, artfully crafted pieces by designers. And there is the mass produced, high profile lines like a Victoria’s Secret. What is the design aesthetic of White Rabbit and where do you see it fitting in a woman’s wardrobe?
Hernandez: White Rabbit is a line of elevated everyday basics that are functional, comfortable, and elegant.
CTFashionMag: Speaking of women, who do you see as the woman who wears White Rabbit?
Hernandez: I created White Rabbit as both a quality and affordable under-solution for today’s modern woman. The busy girl on-the-go who wants underwear that makes her feel comfortable and empowered for everyday life – whether she’s a student, a consultant, a teacher, mother, yogi, entrepreneur, or otherwise. Each piece in our collection was carefully designed to provide beautiful, comfortable options for all of life’s instances – from a contour cup bra when you want more coverage to an unlined bralette for those free-to-be days.
CTFashionMag: What do you see as the long-term goals for the line?
Hernandez: Future collections will continue to offer functional, comfortable and elegant everyday underthings – or as we like to call it, “basic underwear for not so basic people.” Specifically, we’re envisioning a future collection that incorporates mesh inserts and potentially prints, and possibly some new silhouettes for Spring/Summer 2017.
CTFashionMag: What are the price points and where can the line be bought?
Hernandez: We carry five different styles of bottoms ranging from $14 to $16 per pair, and three bra styles ranging from $38 to $55. The line can be bought through our online store: www.whiterabbitny.com.