Design your lingerie with Tsimo

Lingerie is meant to make
every woman feel sexy and ready to strike a pose like Marilyn Monroe, right?

Open any fashion catalogue of lingerie and chances are you are bound to see these sexy women of all shapes and sizes feeling good about themselves and exuding confidence in their bodies.

But does every woman feel so great in lingerie?

Well, not really.

Lingerie designer Lebo
Tsimo from Soweto says that this is the mould she is trying to break with her custom-made collection of lingerie, Love Intimates.

The truth, according to
Tsimo, is that not every
woman is comfortable with bearing it all in lingerie.

"My idea for my lingerie line was really a way to find out how women felt about the items currently out on the market.

"The feedback I received was that basically, women love feeling sexy, but that they
seldom get items that meet their own personal needs.

"Sexy meant a lot of different things for different women. For some, sexy meant showing skin but not absolutely everything. The majority of women get very self-conscious, and that's what I hope I've
managed to do by opening myself to making custom orders for women of all shapes and sizes, allowing them to choose their definition of sexy based on what they are comfortable with, instead of what is predetermined for them," she says.

"The thing about retail stores is they mass-produce; they have one up on small guys like me because they can invest heavily into market research [and] surveys to identify trends way before they fit the market, and their garments 'seem' to fulfil a lot of the needs a wearer has like accessibility [multiple stores] and standard sizing, which are easier to sell online without any real need to have one-on-one contact.

"But I feel like I'm giving women the ability to find a comfortable place to discuss their insecurities and fears when it comes to dressing sexy.

"They create their own unique items with me, where we try to put those insecurities to rest by accentuating what they love about themselves physically and camouflaging those areas they may not like to see hanging out, and that's something you can't get at a large retail store."

The trick, Tsimo says, is to have straight talk with the client when they come in for a consultation. "I will usually start asking questions to try to find out what dos and don'ts they have.

"This usually allows them to be a little more honest and
realistic about their desired finished garment. This also gives me an idea of the kind of woman I'm dealing with
because not all women are the same when it comes to choosing undergarments.

"Some want a show while others are more concerned about fit and support. But it is always important for me to get into the head of the consumer and determine what their needs are so that they can feel comfortable in the fact that I did not only create what I thought was best for them, but that they had full input into what went into every stitch.

"My target market is the young working-class woman aged 25 to 35. These women tend to be curious and adventurous and also a little more image-cautious about what they put on.

"Also, some are at the age where they're starting families and they sometimes need a
little spark back to boost their confidence."

Tsimo's lingerie ranges from R200 to R1000.

"My cheapest item being your lace underwear or full mesh briefs, and the pricey item so far has been the chiffon night dress.

"I'd say to women who think that they don't need designer underwear that it's not about the amount of money you spend on the item, it's about the feeling you get from doing something really special for yourself."