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Sunday, Nov 17, 2019

Underwear Day 2019: Indian women are ready to challenge the status quo and talk about intimate wear: Amisha Jain, CEO, Zivame

In an exclusive interview, we speak to Amisha Jain, CEO, Zivame, one of India’s premier lingerie brands on how the brand is helping women rediscover themselves, create a dialogue around intimate wear and why the female consumer is not afraid of asking the right questions.

fashion-and-trends Updated: Aug 05, 2019 11:09 IST
Srishti Jha
Srishti Jha
Hindustan Times, Delhi
The lingerie market has undergone a tremendous makeover as Indian women experiment with colours, designs and cuts and the online exposure has been an essential tool in all of this.
The lingerie market has undergone a tremendous makeover as Indian women experiment with colours, designs and cuts and the online exposure has been an essential tool in all of this.(Zivame Instagram)
         

Body positivity is one of the most talked-about subjects right now. Many experts, influential figures, fashion labels, celebrities and commoners are participating in the conversation across gender, age, class and community. As the idea of body and beauty is changing and people are becoming more acceptable and open to how they look at these traits, awareness is also an important issue to discuss. The lingerie market has undergone a tremendous makeover as Indian women experiment with colours, designs and cuts and the online exposure has been an essential tool in all of this. In this age when we are talking openly about body and mind positivity, sexuality and how Indian women identify with themselves, there are certain brands and faces who are working towards blurring the limitations and inhibitions on the subject and the product.

In an exclusive interview, we speak to Amisha Jain, CEO, Zivame, one of India’s premier lingerie brands on how the brand is helping women rediscover themselves, create a dialogue around intimate wear and why the female consumer is not afraid of asking the right questions.

Zivame was founded in 2011 with the vision of helping women uninhibitedly shop for intimate wear; helping women break norms. How are you looking at taking this vision forward? Did you face any roadblock when you were taking up this project?

I joined Zivame over a year ago. Initially, I felt was that it will be tough for me to hire people for this project. I came from a footwear background and it is a male-dominated space. When I initially reached out to people, I faced this odd silence and it took a couple of discussions and lot we were planning to do to change lives in the context of how women understand their body and what’s best for them in terms of choosing underwear. We began with a couple of initiatives. For instance, a lot of women in tier 3 and tier 4 brackets don’t have bras to wear. They can’t afford it and it is an essential thing to have from a health point of view. We started this initiative, “Bring your old bra”, where we collect these old bras and work on sanitising them in association with a trust in Chennai and distribute it in villages.

When we started talking about these initiatives with people, we came across a lot of like-minded people especially men, who were extremely passionate about the issue. As we progressed, we put together a very strong team together dedicated towards the initiative and its long-term impact on lives. The way people have looked at underwear over decades is changing slowly. It is the first thing you wear and it is an essential part of your body and how your body looks. As a society, I must say, we have come a long way. The inhibitions are blurring. For instance, my biggest support system was my family. They didn’t flinch at all when they discovered my new venture. That made my journey a lot easier. I have to give credit to the men in my team. It’s a 50:50 ratio staff and they have shown immense support in driving this idea. There is a lot of respect for the garment at the workplace.

What are the key trends that you have seen this year?

- Women as consumers are evolving by the day. They are not only looking for a product but they also want to be educated on the subject further. They want to understand their body better; their needs better and accordingly make choices. They care about basics. They are challenging the status quo. They aren’t shying away from having conversations around lingerie and what’s best for them. All they are looking for is a safer community which is what we provided. There was a time when the brand was talking but now we have a community of micro-influencers at Zivame and these are the real customers of the brand and they have helped in creative a dialogue around intimate wear. 70% of our products have customer reviews on it. Why would she do it? To create awareness and a conversation around it.

How women across age groups have reacted to it?

We got really interesting feedback and stories as to how the female consumers felt and how it changed their outlook towards the idea and importance of owning the right underwear. Daughters have written to us on how they made their mothers discover the right bra for themselves. She is exploring a range of options without any doubts for a variety of dresses and silhouettes. She is becoming confident in terms of how she looks at herself. She has questions and she is not ashamed to seek answers. Women are trying more frames now. They are accepting the way their body is. Interestingly, these are not only who belong to the prime metros. The queries come from cities across tier 1-3 categories across age brackets. They are willing to have a conversation. The consumers are evolving through their life stages.

Women across age have understood the different kinds of requirements, for instance, pre-marriage, bridal, pre-maternity, post-maternity etc. Their bodies change and there is evident awareness around the same. Now women are openly exploring different products at different stages of their lives. We are not only focusing on lingerie wear, but we are also looking at an overall picture of the intimate wear bracket. Women now don’t want to look one size smaller. They want to make sure that they don’t have bulges. They want to look confident and in control of their body and mind. We are also looking at the concept of the true curve and how we can make women comfortable across body types.

We have also seen male consumers coming on the site and shop. We also initiated in-home personalised sessions that helped women figure out what is best for them. We ended up discovering that 9 out of 10 educated, savvy women were wearing the wrong bra. Some shared that they weren’t aware as to how to adjust their bra straps. So as we progress and engage with more and more voices, we will work towards making their lives better, confident and safe.

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