Meet Marissa and Lauren, the female duo behind Negative Underwear
When you find a great pair of underwear or a bra its kind of like you have found this thing that has been missing you from your life in some way. It completes you. Well, meet the women that are going to help you do that: Marissa Vosper and Lauren Schwab are the co-founders behind new luxury lingerie brand, Negative Underwear. Named the best comfortable lingerie by New York Magazine this is the undergarment brand you have been looking for.
Vosper and Schwab started the company after meeting at the University of Pennsylvania as undergrads and bonding over their love of design and fashion. After pursuing separate careers in New York City – Schwab in finance, Vosper in brand consulting – they started taking classes together at the Fashion Institute of Technology as the idea for the brand started to come to fruition. With briefs starting at $28 and the bras at $70 it is also budget friendly. The duo just recently launched their first ‘Nude v1’ collection, which they celebrated with a popup store in SoHo and Miley Cyrus wore one of their body suits for three days straight! YCB sat down with these smart ladies to talk about starting their own company, their beauty routines and of course, Miley.
Why is Negative Underwear different from other brands?
We’re different in a variety of ways, the first of which is our approach. When we looked at the current lingerie market we saw two sides of the spectrum – on one side was the high end lines that were beautiful, but impractical to wear on a daily basis. On the other side we saw a confused and often cluttered design – super pushed up, blinged out, embellished pieces. These sides always felt like a compromise! We wanted to make something that was as comfortable as it was cool. Something that worked for everyday wear, but that you’d be equally proud to have on a night and on the weekends.
Additionally, we are different in our business model. We’re a direct-to-consumer company which means we can source from the same fabric + elastic mills as our luxury peers, but keep prices in a way more accessible because we cut out the typical wholesale mark-ups. With that, Negative aims to raise the standard of what everyday underwear could and should be. We’re making luxury garments for daily wear.
Last, we’re different in our approach. We’re a business run by women for women. We want to speak to women in a new way. Historically lingerie has been marketed in this hyper-sexy, voyeuristic way that paints a pretty unattainable picture of the lingerie use case. The reality is that we all wear underwear (or most of us!) every day. We want to normalize the conversation, take away the taboo and some of the assumption that underwear is worn for someone else. We believe underwear is something you should wear for yourself first and foremost – something you put on every morning that should make you feel good in your own skin. It’s a really different message. We want to build a brand that women (and men) are proud to be associated with.
What did you think about Miley Cyrus wearing your bodysuit all over Instagram?
We were totally freaking out! It’s a pretty crazy feeling to see such a big celeb choosing to wear something we made (and posting it on Insta!) Definitely a big first and hopefully a sign of more to come.
Who are some of your dream celeb clients?
In terms of dream celebs… there are so many women we admire and would love to count as client and fans. A few names that come to mind today… Beyonce, Sophia Amoruso, Olivia Palermo, Carine Roitfeld, Jenna Lyons, Lena Dunham, Kate Moss – all strong women with an independent point of view and an entrepreneurial spirit… the list could clearly go on.
How does your design process work?
Our design process is largely shaped by focusing on what we’re not – we’re not French, we’re not frilly, we don’t even know anyone that has a boudoir! When making design decisions we’re inspired by negative space and the concept of ‘less is more’ – no lace, no flowers, no bows, no ribbons, no padding, no tags, no fuss – just simple, high quality, high performance materials that all serve a function and actually feel good on the body. We are very tactile in our product development process – the feel of our materials matters more than most anything.
What are your favourite beauty products?
MV: Sleep has to be #1 – the most underrated beauty product out there! Second would be my dry brush and Kiehl’s Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish – healthy skin is more beautiful than any product you can buy. Third would be RMS – this amazing line of organic coconut oil-based makeup. I’m obsessed with their bronzer and mascara. Last would be Onomie (they make two products, a concealer and an illuminator, both of which are awesome)
LS: When it comes to beauty products, I have a few staples, but I also love discovering new things. My old favourites are La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Ultra Light Sunscreen (an everyday must!), Ouidad Climate Control Heat and Humidity Gel (I’d never wear my hair curly without it) and Chanel Red Lipstick (just a classic). For new purchases, I recently visited CAP Beauty in the West Village here in New York and their facialist recommended Tata Harper’s Oil Celanser and Regenerating Cleanser – both smell amazing and feel so luxurious.
What is your go-to power outfit?
MV: I generally stick with a monochrome palette (all black or all white, shades within a colour family) so I don’t have to overthink things – these days time is so precious. My go-to brands lately are Zara, Isabel Marant, Rag & Bone, Maje and Negative (naturally/always!)
I think there’s something super powerful about wearing all white. It’s a sign of confidence for sure. I’m not one for fashion rules, so I wear white all year round.
LS: I spent so many years wearing pencil skirts and blazers while working in finance, I’ve really relished the freedom to wear whatever I want. I finally get to put my entire “fun” wardrobe to use. I love finding creative, yet tasteful ways to show off my bra – whether it’s through a slightly sheer shirt, a loosely opened button down or an open back dress. When I want to feel powerful, I love putting on a strong heel. It makes me stand a little taller and power posing easier.
Where do you hope to see your brand in a few years?
World domination via our underwear empire? Kidding aside – we have big ambitions and aim to provide as many women as we can with a legitimate, better alternative to the status quo. The lingerie category (at least in the U.S.) has felt so limited for so long, we’re looking to provide a fresh/refreshing point of view and make a real mark.
Would you ever expand into other clothing categories?
Negative as a brand is not just about underwear. Our core concept of removing the unnecessary and focusing on fewer, better things – looking to the negative space for a white space – can certainly be applied to other categories in need of disruption. We’re starting close to the body and working from there!