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Lucy of Lucy's Corsetry is well known for her reviews of corsets and many educational videos as well as being a well-established voice in the corsetry community. After working with her last summer to develop the hourglass silhouette corsets we wanted to take the opportunity to learn more about her deep interest in corsetry and chat about some of her current and future projects, including another corset design with Timeless Trends! Lucy's latest design with Timeless Trends, the Gemini corsets, will be in stock and available to purchase exclusively through Timeless Trends' and Lucy's Corsetry's websites beginning mid to late summer of 2016.
Q: You've obviously been interested in corsets for a long time and have been involved in the online corsetry community for years, was there anything in particular that led you to want to work with OTR companies in designing corsets rather than pursuing exclusively custom work?
A: I began my business in custom corsetry probably in the same way that so many other corset makers started their business - I made some samples for myself, and suddenly friends and family members started asking me if I could make garments (bridesmaid dresses and corsets) for them too. I took commissions at a heavy discount for a long time, and it was a lose-lose-lose situation all around. The demands of the wedding industry scared the daylights out of me, I felt like my time and efforts weren't being properly compensated, and I wasn't able to help people who had a physiological need for back support yet a smaller budget.
I don't see anything wrong with OTR corsets as long as they were well-constructed and correctly-fitted. For awhile (until the time constraints became too much) I ran my custom service and OTR shop at the same time, and sometimes an OTR client would return for a custom commission later on. The bespoke and OTR corset industries can and do feed into one another, and can co-exist quite well. I would say OTR corsets are a "gateway" into bespoke.
Q: Along those same lines, was there anything that drew you towards working with Timeless Trends in particular or aspects of working with us that you found particularly appealing?
A: My first true OTR corset from 2009 or 2010 was a Timeless Trends piece, and I went on to purchase another 5 pieces in different styles and designs after that, so there is a sentimental aspect. But I looked around for nearly a year before opening an online store selling OTR, and it was the drop-shipping service and reasonable minimum orders from Timeless Trends that enabled me to enter the world of OTR distribution, especially as a retailer based outside of the US. The 45-day return window and the Lifetime Guarantee were also something I felt comfortable putting my name to.
As the years passed and I came to learn more about the corset industry, I became more impressed with the fact that Timeless Trends owns their own small factory, pays a reasonable living wage to their workers, inspects every stage of corset manufacturing to see where they can improve the quality of materials or streamline production, and believe in their own product so highly that they open up their factory and show they have nothing to hide. And because they've cut out the middle man and I can communicate directly with the factory, suggestions for improvement and development of products becomes that much faster and easier.
Q: I was lucky enough to get to work with you on the hourglass silhouette corset patterns when we were over at Timeless Trends' factory in Bangkok, Thailand last summer and was thrilled to see the first stages of the Gemini corsets' design and development; however, I don't know that we ever talked about your motivation behind creating a curvier line of OTR corsets. Would you care to share your inspiration?
A: It's a bit of a long story, but as I've been distributing for Timeless Trends for 3.5 years now, I noticed that over time my sizing recommendations weren't fitting customers as expected and that the corsets were becoming less and less curvy over time. As the waist training craze began to take off in 2014 and 2015, I saw that the corsets weren't keeping up with the demands of customers. I ended up sending half of my customers away to curvier brands because I simply had nothing to fit them. In early 2015 when the opportunity came up to design some new, curvier corsets in Thailand, I was of course happy to help! We set forth a plan to make the new hourglass silhouette which would meet the industry standards of proportion / hip spring these days, and then made plans for another curvier style - which was based off the new hourglass pattern, except a few inches curvier as an option for those who would "graduate" out of the hourglass corsets and into the new cut.
As for deciding to make the Gemini in two silhouettes, and to make it (slightly) longline: In 2014 I was working on expanding my "Guided Galleries" on my site, wherein I feature corsets of a specific style or corsets that would cater to a specific body type in each gallery. From my personal consultation work, I knew that there was a high demand for longline corsets that covered the lower tummy, but unfortunately many longline corsets out there were too tall for a petite person to sit down in comfortably - and this included many clients who bought the Timeless Trends longline corsets. I made a tutorial on how to modify and cut down a corset that was too long, but not many people are that skilled to trim down metal bones, etc. And while I was making the gallery, I noticed that a longline corset that was less than 11 inches in height was relatively difficult to find in the industry.
By the end of 2014, more brands were getting into the game of making shorter longline corsets to cater to this previously neglected demographic, and of course it's good to get in the game, but whatever TT had to offer had to be unique. I suggested making the corset in two silhouettes - one with a rounded rib, and one with a conical rib - but otherwise they would have the same measurements and proportions at the underbust, waist and hips. This way, advanced corset wearers could choose the silhouette they aesthetically like best or find most comfortable - or even try both if they were curious. In this sense, the Gemini line is a set of "twins" - similar, but different. I don't believe in horoscopes, but the name fit really well.
And in this way, the Gemini hits 3 birds with one stone: offering a curvier style than the current hourglass line, providing a longline corset for people with shorter torso lengths, and offering different silhouette options for selective customers.
Q: Getting the Gemini corsets from concept to production is clearly the next stage in this particular journey, but are there any projects you're especially excited about for the future that you'd like to talk about?
A: The Gemini patterns have been graded in both silhouettes and sizes 18 through 42, and throughout March and April we tested them in different sizes and on different body types. As of now they're currently in production and hope to release them by mid-July! I would have loved to have launched by May or June, if only to say that the corsets were released during the "month" of Gemini, but it was more important that we tested them thoroughly to ensure that they were up to the quality we wanted before making them available.
If all goes well with the Gemini line, I have plans for some other corset designs in the coming year or two, which will be tentatively named Virgo, Sagittarius, Taurus, and Libra, following the same theme of naming.
However, just this past week I released my long-awaited ebook, Solaced (some may be able to get the double-entendre)! It's an anthology of true stories from roughly 101 people, focused around the therapeutic and medical applications of corsets. My hope for this book is to encourage open communication between corset makers (especially those with training in orthopedic technology), corset wearers, and their doctors.
Solaced is currently available exclusively on Amazon here:
Lucy, we look forward to working with you more in the future on new projects! If you'd like to read more of Lucy's excellent posts on corsetry you can head over to her website, check out her YouTube channel, or follow her on facebook, instagram, tumblr, or twitter!