Savage x Fenty by Rihanna, for example, is catering for broad consumer groups with its diverse size ranges, lingerie styles and models. According to Forbes, the brand was worth £224m ($270m, €264m) as of March 2022, with a possible IPO valued at a £2.5bn ($3bn, €2.9bn). This additional growth, combined with plans to open physical stores in the US, could soon propel it to the top of the global lingerie market. While brands such as Victoria’s Secret have promoted perfect models and strict diet eating, Savage x Fenty has taken the opposite approach – as demonstrated in its playful, powerful yet relatable Amazon Prime show.
Others are forging the future of lingerie as community-focused brands that value purpose and authenticity. Beyond marketing campaigns, the most successful brands in this space are also investing heavily in their internal culture. Lingerie brand The Underargument is one example, with its anti-casting concept that focuses on raw, human storytelling over tokenistic campaigns. ‘You are more than a body, and your story is valuable,’ states Maïna Cissé, founder of The Underargument.
Elsewhere, Parade, a socially responsible and sustainable underwear brand, is responding to Gen Z’s desire to reframe and subvert outdated societal tropes – as well as promote sustainable behaviours. Parade has established the Parade Friends network that champions self-expression and sustainability in the underwear sector. Having launched in 2019, the brand already boasts a value of £116m ($140m, €137m).
With youth-led lingerie brands setting a high standard for the sector, traditional players must invest in their internal culture – and develop their hiring and marketing – to attract new audiences and rebuild loyalties. As a group that largely defines itself by values, Gen Z is shifting the dial on inclusivity and placing pressure on brands to expose their inner workings.
Toyosi Badejo-Okusanya is working with The Future Laboratory as part of the 10,000 Black Interns programme.
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