Are you a woman? Yes. Have you ever found it difficult to seek out lingerie that fits you like a glove? Yes. Do you buy bras in the same size every time because you can’t be bothered to get remeasured? Yes. Have you answered yes to all of the above questions? Yes. Ladies, I’ve got some fabulous news for as a new and inclusive brand has been welcomed to the market to answer all of your lingerie prayers.
Founded by sisters Aphra and Freya, CHiLLi offers bespoke lingerie, making each order specific to your measurements. From glittered snake prints to sheer black and gold leopard prints to exotic green jungle prints, CHiLLi offers handmade underwear sets to women to make them feel sexy with affordable prices that don’t break the bank.
Spread your body positivity, engage your self-love and accept your body for what it is, all of which CHiLLi holds at the centre of its values. Enjoy getting to know this inclusive brand and who knows maybe a bespoke, handmade bralette is all you need to feel sexy and liberated during this time of uncertainty. Isabella Sophie Style, take it away…
1. How many years has CHiLLi been around for?
My sister and I officially launched CHiLLi on Etsy in February (2020) and then moved over to our own website in March, so we’re pretty new! Before this official launch, however, we spent so much time – most of 2019 – planning and developing; really getting to know what CHiLLi was about, who it was for and how we could, as a brand, help women to make their lives better through both our products and our message.
2. Where did the inspiration come from to start a handmade lingerie brand?
CHiLLi is entirely female run, so everyone involved with the brand has a first hand experience of the struggle to find underwear that fits right, feels good and/or they can actually afford. In our experience, traditional lingerie sizing relies on an outdated and limited system that just doesn’t work for so many women’s bodies, so, we decided to fix this problem by offering beautiful, handmade lingerie that incorporates the specific measurements of each customer into its design. We’ve seen so many big brands recently jumping on the inclusivity “trend”, some with more genuineness than others, but we wanted to create a brand that had inclusivity as it’s absolute core value. We’ve worked really hard to make our lingerie and our brand as inclusive and accessible as possible, from our bespoke model, to our price & size range, and the people we hire and choose to collaborate with.
3. I absolutely adore how all your products are ethically made, what was the motive behind this choice?
We just don’t believe that great fashion has to come at human cost. We know that we can deliver great products at affordable prices through our own efforts as an in-house team, without relying on the systems of oppression and/or exploitation (both human and environmental) which fuel the fast fashion phenomenon. The slow fashion movement is definitely gaining momentum, as women are becoming more conscious of the origins and the impact of their wardrobe, and we’re really proud to help facilitate this shift and play a small part in that change.
4. What would you say has been your proudest achievement as a brand so far?
We really do try to celebrate every single achievement and appreciate every little moment of growth, because it’s so easy for these to get lost or overlooked in the hustle & bustle of the everyday! But I would say the stand out moments from the past few months have been our feature at number 9 in Elle’s 100 Independent Fashion Brands to Support During the Covid-19 Pandemic; as a new brand, to be featured in such a huge publication like Elle, which we’ve been reading since before we were teenagers, was a great feeling! Secondly, we’re extremely proud of launching our very own lovely website, which we completely built and developed ourselves, after deciding to step away from the Etsy cocoon and really create something on our own terms.
5. Due to the current situation with the UK in lockdown because of the coronavirus, has this impacted CHiLLi as an independent brand?
For us, the main impact has been on the launch of our new range. Just before the pandemic really took hold here in the UK, we’d been developing our new summer range and had planned a big photoshoot to showcase it. As the situation developed however, we had to postpone the shoot indefinitely, and with it, the launch of the range. But on the bright side, it’s given us extra time to improve on and expand our new range to suit the changing needs of women in these strange & uncertain times. Whereas before, our summer collection was geared towards holiday & festival-wear, we’ve redirected our efforts towards designing a super-comfy, super-cute loungewear range, because people just need comfort right now! We’re really proud of this lounge range and we’re so excited to share it with everyone, hopefully in the next few weeks.
6. How did you feel when the UK first announced it was going into lockdown? Did you have any initial thoughts?
I think, like everyone else, we were initially pretty shocked at the idea of everything being closed and being confined to your houses. I’m really lucky to be able to call my sister my best friend, and we spend a lot of time together working on the brand, so the thought of not seeing her and other family members/friends for the foreseeable future was pretty difficult. But we’ve made it through so far with a lot of phone calls and A LOT of Zoom meetings, and we’re just hanging on to the thought that nothing lasts forever.
7. Have you relied more on social media channels to generate business? If so, which social media platform works best for CHiLLi?
We LOVE social media, it’s such a powerful tool to generate business, but also to generate change. Unlike mainstream media which only shows us a very narrow, very controlled image of what is beautiful and what is acceptable, social media is controlled by us and we can use it to challenge these ideas. Instagram, in particular, has been an essential part of CHiLLi from day one for realising our dream of not just creating a brand, but also a female-focused, body positive and self-love-centred community. We use Instagram to show people who we are and what we’re about, whilst also providing a space where women can see themselves represented and appreciated through images of women who look like them, feeling confident and looking great in their CHiLLi underwear.
8. Momentarily, what is the best way a customer can support your business throughout this pandemic?
Come and have a little nosey at our website, and if you can’t afford to buy (we understand these are scary and financially uncertain times!), give us a follow @chillihaus and come and hang out with us on Insta… we’d love for you to be a part of our little online community!
“We wanted to create a brand that had inclusivity as it’s absolute core value. We’ve worked really hard to make our lingerie and our brand as inclusive and accessible as possible.”
9. What advice would you be able to give other independent fashion brands during the crisis?
Obviously, every business is in a different situation, but for those like us, who are able to keep trading, we would say: consider this extra time as an opportunity to really develop your brand identity, get creative with designing new products and start planning for, what will hopefully be, an even brighter future!
10. Once the coronavirus hopefully starts to trickle away, have you got any exciting plans or projects for us to see in the future?
First and foremost, we will be getting the whole CHiLLi team together for the big launch party that we never got the chance to have! We have so many ideas that we just can’t wait to get started on, particularly expanding the shop and the products we have to offer our customers. Above all, we just can’t wait to get together again to celebrate what we’ve achieved during this time and get back to working on what we love!
Join in the CHiLLi community and spread body positivity through all forms. Surprise a friend with a uniquely fitting bar or even better prance around the bedroom yourself in a sexy leopard set. Make sure to follow @chillihaus on Instagram not only to support this independent brand but also to feel empowered and body confident each day as it comes.
Images: Courtesy of CHiLLi HAUS