Jasmine Stacey Collection, a new brand for Spring/Summer 2016, popped up on my Twitter feed around Christmas time and instantly caught my eye as something totally different for the lingerie industry.
Jasmine’s debut collection is designed with women with ostomies in mind, but is a far cry from the ‘ostomy lingerie’ currently on the market. A quick Google search brings up lots of bland, high-waisted white, black and beige knickers, and not much else. There’s Vanilla Blush, who sell cute knickers with some lace detailing, but there’s nothing out there that’s truly luxurious. In particular, there’s next to nothing that focusses on providing a full, matching set rather than just the bit that covers the ostomy pouch – until now that is.
Jasmine Stacey Collection launched with a small but thoughtfully-designed collection that features sumptuous gold and printed silks, chantilly lace and knickers with suspender straps. It doesn’t look like ostomy lingerie (or at least what ostomy lingerie has looked like up until now).
As a first collection, I love it, but it’s Jasmine’s Autumn/Winter collection that I’m really excited about. It really pushes the boundaries of what lingerie for women with ostomies can look like, with decidedly sexier and more adventurous designs than even these. I not allowed to share the full lookbook with you just yet, but there’s an exclusive sneak preview at the end of this post.
Although first and foremost an ostomy lingerie brand, Jasmine also describes her lingerie as ideal for women with abdominal scarring or stretch marks they want to cover – and of course, there’s nothing stopping anyone else buying this lingerie simply because they like the design!
See something you like? Jasmine Stacey is offering Esty Lingerie readers 20% off in her online shop until the 5th of March 2016 with code ESTYINTERVIEW.
I got in touch with founder and designer Jasmine to chat about what inspired her to launch her own lingerie brand…
Can you start by telling my readers what the Jasmine Stacey Collection is all about?
Jasmine Stacey Collection is all about evoking confidence in women who do not meet the ‘social norm’ from having to deal with a little too much in life. Yes, we might have scars, bags or stretch marks but we should all appreciate our bodies and celebrate that our battle wounds just show that we are stronger because of them!
However, sometimes we do need a little more confidence in our underwear. I have designed the collection with women with ostomies like myself in mind, who crave sexy, functional, high-waisted underwear with matching bras, light support and enough coverage to support the bag but not compromise on style, so it appeals to every woman without singling us out.
On your website you say you are a Crohn’s disease sufferer yourself – how did that influence you launching this brand?
I have Crohn’s but have been very fortunate to have stayed in remission since my surgery. For some of my friends Crohn’s is a constant battle and I know all to well how it makes you feel.
It has influenced my brand, it makes you appreciate the smaller things in life; just mustering enough energy and effort to put your make-up on, maybe get your nails done if you can bear to be away from the toilet long enough, even straightening your hair without it breaking and falling out due to treatment. You take these things for granted, they make you feel so much better when you do them – so I feel that after surgery there should be that little bit of luxury out there to make you feel confident in yourself again.
It’s all about the little details, such as the added support, functional aspects and fabric choices. I try to get the struggle and strength in all my images – reflecting the women behind the disease unchanged, everlastingly beautiful and whole. All of the models have suffered from Crohn’s or Colitis and have scars or bags.
What does the lingerie landscape currently look like for other women with Crohn’s disease? How much choice is there, or is it often a case of ‘making do’ with things like high-waisted knickers from regular brands?
It isn’t essential for women with scars, stretch marks or bags to have to wear high-waisted underwear, but for me personally I prefer the security of having the bag close to my skin so I can feel the support and other women agree! There are other brands who do ‘ostomy underwear’ but the problem for me was that I didn’t want to labelled as an ‘ostomate’. There was no market out there which provided a little bit of luxury for women in the same situation as me, it seemed to only be shapewear which had a little too much support.
At the end of the day I’m a normal woman, just with different needs from my underwear. Initially after having my operation I turned to M&S straight away and felt awful. The full brief section was horrid, the shapewear section was better but I found it far too restricting. I knew then that I needed to make something sexy with coverage and light support. I started to research lingerie and it opened up a whole new world of underwear I didn’t know existed. I love other brands and appreciate all other designers’ work, trust me I buy enough of it.
What special considerations do women with ostomies need to think about when choosing lingerie, and how do your designs meet these needs?
So when talking to other women with ostomies we all just want something to feel normal and sexy in! Intimacy can be difficult after having surgery. Having to deal with changes to your body image is tough. I’ve tried to cater for this by including ‘envelope crutches’ in the briefs to help with intimacy.
There is added support by choosing fabrics which have enough stretch to allow the bag to expand but keep it firmly in place without causing too much pressure. My new designs all have intimacy in mind; I am bringing out an ouvert brief, bodysuit with poppers and a deep suspender belt but these will all be revealed soon and I am excited to see the reactions.
Aesthetically speaking, what inspired your debut collection?
My inspiration for my debut collection came from animals. Nearly all of my inspiration stems from animals when I am designing. The Vixen and Foxy (although named after foxes) were inspired by snakes, the initial design ideas developed and with the sourcing of local fabrics began to emerge.
I always had the functional aspects at the forefront of my mind. I also take inspiration from a number of my favourite brands. My lastest designs draw on inspiration from nature; namely spiders. Spiders evoke fear yet create such beauty. I liken this to my brand in a way. The journey behind our scars, stretch marks or stoma bags is a mystery and can be portrayed negatively in our society. What is not a mystery is knowing the women behind the scars are beautiful, strong and powerful, and this raw beauty should be appreciated.
As well as using local fabrics, your collection is made in the UK. How important was it to you to have the garments made locally?
I am passionate about independent UK based brands! I buy when I can from independent English brands and honestly knowing that someone has designed, crafted and put all their hard work into a garment makes it so much more of an experience.
I have always felt a something was missing when paying for something made in China – you don’t know whether a machine or person even made it! The person behind a brand and the way it is lovingly curated is a selling point for me always. I try to buy all locally-sourced foods so why be different with my underwear? I prefer to save and splurge on quality.
Finally, tell me more about how Jasmine Stacey Collection works with the Purple Wings charity?
Well I don’t even know where to start with the charity; owner Lauren Henderson is an incredible woman who works so hard. I am so proud to say that she is now a close friend. We met via social media and she was following my brand for a long time (when I previously launched in 2013). We connected and really hit it off. We met up and discussed both our business ideas as they were both budding at the time and decided how we could work together.
We both want to help women with ostomies (men as well) in their journey to recover, adapt and overcome after life-changing surgery. I did a lingerie catwalk show at one of Purple Wings Charity’s balls and have recently done a charity calendar photo shoot to help raise funds and awareness. I try to help the charity in all ways possible, I donate money, try to help out Lauren when she needs me and give merchandise help. We are currently working on the best way for the brand to donate a percentage of every purchase to the cause.
And as promised, here a little sneak peek of what is to come from Jasmine Stacey Collection later this year!
The Raven bodysuit – coming soon!
What do you think of Jasmine Stacey’s debut collection? Which piece is your favourite?