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Journelle’s Emerging Designers Program is back for a second time, and I am incredibly excited to see this boutique continue their mission of supporting and featuring indie designers. It’s easy for any lingerie shop, but especially one with Journelle’s cachet and reputation, to simply stock the same labels as everyone else. But they’ve chosen to go in a different direction, and that’s a wonderful thing.
Journelle’s first cohort for the Emerging Designers Program debuted in 2015. The boutique featured four up-and-coming brands – Le Petit Trou, Paloma Casile, Prae, and Mise en Cage – effectively introducing them to an American audience. That kind of endorsement has power and weight, especially in an increasingly risk-averse intimate apparel industry.
More than lending credibility to these new labels (and making them accessible for stylist pulls and magazine editorials), the Emerging Designers Program also cements Journelle’s reputation as the place to discover what’s new and next, a vital strategy when companies like Amazon are making in-roads into the world of fashion.
Journelle’s 2016 Emerging Designers class is a strong one, with loungewear, accessories, full bust, and core sizes all represented. The four brands they’ve chosen this year are all a perfect fit for the program, and (perhaps unsurprisingly) have all been previously featured on TLA.
To start, I love that they’ve included Marika Vera’s relaunch. The Mexico City-based label first made waves as an ultra high-end loungewear line. While their current collection is simpler, it’s also more accessible, in terms of style and wearability. It’s also refreshing, to be honest, to see a designer from outside the US and Europe within the program.
Adina Reay is here as well with their gorgeously sensual full bust bras. So many full bust brands choose cutesy prints and cheeky frills for the DD+ customer, but there’s room for sleek minimalism within this space as well. I appreciate how Journelle offers something at the luxury level for a fuller bust consumer who wants lingerie comparable to La Perla but in their size. Adina Reay’s refined approach to luxury is both refreshing and necessary.
Violet & Wren represents both loungewear and accessories in this season’s class with their delicate, British garden-inspired take on sleepwear. Many of their pieces work just as well as outerwear. The Night Orchid Camisole in particular belongs in my closet.
Finally, I’m happy to see the US-based Rachel Marus among the lineup. The label’s Woodgrain Lace bra set impressed me so much. It’s a beautiful, unexpected take on lace, and I’m not sure most lingerie designers would have seen its possibilities in a bra. I adore the concept of a somewhat less femme interpretation of lace, and I have serious aspirations to wear this under a red flannel shirt and let just let a bit of that woodgrain pattern peek out.
In the future, I would love to see a plus sized label as part of Journelle’s Emerging Designers Program. While there are admitteddly very few plus sized lingerie specialists, especially in the luxury category, perhaps Journelle could guide an up-and-comer with promise and help them build a capsule collection for the store. I’d also like to see more non-US and non-European designers in future cohorts. Including Marika Vera was an excellent step in that direction this year, and I hope it continues.
It’s wonderful to see Journelle encouraging fresh perspectives and new voices and giving them a place to shine. There’s a nice variety here, but everything feels cohesive and on brand with Journelle’s already well-established aesthetic. Each brand feels like they belong in the store, and also like they’re ready to be exposed to a wider audience.
I hope the Emerging Designers program makes a reapperance next year, but in the meantime, I think there’s a woodgrain bra calling my name.
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