It’s time to “ban the beige.”
Or at least that’s the latest initiative from women’s line, Viva Voluptuous, which made the pronouncement against the backdrop of its own motto, “celebrate your curves.”
Grit Daily caught up with Viva Voluptuous founder, Liz Willis, to find out why she’s taken such a strong stance against the popular flesh colour in lingerie and why, while she’s at it, banning what she calls “granny prints.”
Grit Daily: You’ve had your own interesting entrepreneurial background. Share that.
Liz Willis: I grew up in South Africa and used to spend a lot of time, and too much money at Victoria’s secret. I’m sure I was born with a passion for lingerie.
After University, I worked as an entertainment manager for Sun International hotels and was very involved with the Miss World competition.
In my mid 20s I moved to the UK and fell into finance. Despite building up a strong finance business, I always felt restless to follow my “lingerie passion.”
When I decided to follow this “calling,” I was older and after two children, a bit too curvy for Victoria’s secret. So what’s a girl to do? Start my own company and change the world.
GD: What’s this news with beige?
LW: Once women reach a certain size — that is real plus size — designers seem to think we go color blind and want to hide our curves with “flesh coloured” lingerie. Have you ever been down a plus size aisle?
All you’ll see is row upon row of bland, “sensible,” beige coloured bras and panties. What a cheek to think because we are plus size, we should be happy and content with unattractive lingerie. To add insult to injury, these unattractive creations are often three to four times more expensive than the smaller, far more beautiful lingerie.
At Viva Voluptuous we firmly believe that curves should be celebrated and shown off in vibrant, vivid hues and beautiful designs that makes every day feel a little bit sexier.
GD: Isn’t it a bit overkill to ban a color? And what about “granny prints?”
LW: “Ban the beige” is meant as a mission statement to emphasise our passion. What we really want to ban is the monotone of beige, the lack of colors and designs, and the thought process that goes into only giving plus size ladies one option: beige.
Granny prints can be pretty, especially vintage prints. Sadly a lot of them are one colour (beige) or look like dusty old curtains.
On that note, there are some very glamorous grannies out there, and I can assure you, they don’t want to just have one choice of color.
GD: What’s behind the Viva Voluptuous name?
LW: You would think that with 64% American women being plus size, it should be easy to buy beautiful curvy lingerie and swimwear. Sadly that is not the case.
We believe every women is amazing and unique, and deserves to celebrate her beauty.
We considered many different names, but we knew we did not want the label of “plus size” in the name. With more than half of all women being curvy, we should be the ‘norm’, not the exception. Viva Voluptuous stood out as a celebratory name for our company! After all, our motto is “Celebrate your Curves.”
GD: How do you find your models?
LW: We use a combination of model agencies, real customers and plus size bloggers.
There is nothing that bugs us more than plus size clothing companies using size zero models!
I was amazed recently to see some plus size companies use slim models, and then Photoshop their boobs and bottoms to make them look more curvy.
Why would they do that, when there’s thousands of gorgeous plus size women out there?
We receive a huge amount positive feedback from customers about the fact that we use plus size models. They all say: “I can see myself wearing that.”
Every woman has a right to feel like a Goddess, and we do our best to show them what they would look like our lingerie and swimwear.
That’s a very big reason why we’ve taken America by storm.
GD: What’s an unconventional wisdom about women’s wear that’s just plain wrong?
LW: Designers seem to think plus size women wants to wear clothes that are boring and hangs like a sack. They clearly don’t understand what women want. We want access to the same beautiful fabrics, colors and designs that smaller sizes have, but designed in such a way as to flatter and accentuate curves.
Designers are jumping on a bandwagon of political correctness by claiming they are catering for the plus size market, when in fact they are only slightly upsizing their range. We say use the same fabrics and colors, but spend a bit more time and effort on the design so that it’s flattering for voluptuous ladies.
This is especially important for the younger generation, as 25% of American women are plus size — size twelve and above — by the age of 23. They want to look trendy and fashionable, not frumpy.
Unlike most other plus-size lingerie companies with high prices, we work closely with our very ethical factory, and always aim keep our prices affordable. Women should not be “ripped off” just because they are plus size.
Jordan French is the Executive Editor of Grit Daily. An award-winning journalist, he is on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com and a Fast 50 and Inc. 500-ranked entrepreneur.
He is the founder of Notability Partners and the co-founder of BNB Shield, Lisbon Hill Farms, Status Labs, BeeHex, BlockTelegraph, and Grit Daily. A biomedical engineer and intellectual-property attorney, French is the author of upcoming book, The Gritty Entrepreneur.