“I think that six out of seven nights a week a woman is going to reach for Naked.” – Carole Hochman, Naked.
by Michelle Broomes, Lingerie Journal Editor.
How many of us start to undo zippers, unbutton our shirts and hop around at the front door trying to get our hosiery off, all whilst still trying to turn the key in the front door? It’s as if we have an innate need to be naked as soon as opportunity allows. Unfortunately, for many us getting down to bare skin takes a bit more planning than usually estimated and might be more trouble than it’s worth if unappreciated by our present company.
So, the next best thing is to cloth ourselves in something that feels like second skin. This is what New-York based lifestyle brand Naked offers — the chance to feel as close to naked as possible. The brand specializes in intimates, loungewear and sleepwear that are designed to feel so heavenly against the wearer’s flesh that it’s like wearing nothing at all. Comfort fabrics like Micromodal®, cotton/spandex and Pima cotton are employed to bring the best in luxurious necessities.
Launched in 2010 by an ambitious and community-minded sportsman turned entrepreneur, Joel Primus, Naked was initially a small Canadian label developed to provide men with high quality underwear products. But in 2015, the company cleverly introduced a women’s range resulting from a formidable partnership with guru loungewear designer, Carole Hochman, who is known for designing her own lines as well as working on collections with the likes of icons that include Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Oscar De La Renta and Christian Dior. Hochman, now CEO, Creative Director and Chairwoman at Naked, brought a wealth of design and market knowledge of women’s intimates that has transformed the company into a unisex utopia for undies and other daily essentials.
Naked was keen to show off its current offerings of the woman’s range at Curve earlier this year with the vision of making this segment of the business an established contender in the intimates market with its assortment of bralettes, briefs, sleep and lounge pieces designed for the lifestyle of the modern woman.
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“The inspiration for the women’s Naked collection clearly came from the men’s underwear collection,” CEO and designer Carole Hochman told TLJ. “In many ways I found that so exciting because I feel that there’s a lot less separation in how men and women want to dress these days.”
Hochman feels that the key underpinning to any collection, be it for men or women is the element of ease.
“Everybody wants to be comfortable, so that’s a given,” she stated knowingly
The women’s collection is therefore built with similar comfort fabric elements as the men’s: soft and luxurious Micromodal, 91:9 cotton/spandex and 360 degree stretch to secure the perfect fit.
“I think minimalism is very sexy,” – Carole Hochman.
The essence of minimalism is also weaved into the collection to give a sense of effortlessness of wear.
“I think women love simple clothing – uncomplicated – clothing that just feels good next to the skin,” Hochman stated knowingly, as she has had a few decades of experience in the industry.
“Not only did we do the [women’s] underwear but we chose to do some very simple sleepwear pieces – the pyjama everybody loves, but we’ve even cleaned it up more – made it more minimal,” Hochman explained. “We didn’t have the piping like every pyjama has piping. It has a minimal notch colour. It’s all about just putting something on that feels so refreshing at the end of the day.”
And that sensuous, “close to nude” feeling the wearer experiences when they slip into something from the Naked collection comes from the quality of fabrications from which the collection is built. Hochman admitted that these fabrics are an expensive investment but that is what buyers fell in love with at the Curve show, knowing that they would be obtaining a collection that was worth the financial output. The secret is in the combination of the fit, feel and cut.
“The buyers love our fabric,” she informed. “They love that the fabrics are luxurious. They really found the [women’s] collection to be modern.”
One of Naked’s major endeavours is to show that clean cut basics can indeed be on trend and an important layer in modern woman’s wardrobe.
“I think there’s a lot of very sexy product in the market – a lot of lace in the market – and not a lot of minimal product that really speaks to comfort and sexiness at the same time. I think minimalism is very sexy,” Hochman reasoned.
“Built with the feel of indulgence, Naked Women’s collection is prepared from premium textiles that are cut and shaped to perfection.”
She further suggested that retailers who specialize in sexy lingerie need to find a way to help women adequately incorporate both the frilly and the fundamental into their wardrobe so that they enjoy the benefit of both. An unfussed brand like Naked could be, therefore, successfully balanced with more striking boudoir collections.
“I’ve always believed in a lingerie wardrobe,” Hochman explained. “I think that six out of seven nights a week a woman is going to reach for Naked. The very sexy, complicated, more decorated lingerie is special – for special occasions.”
When it came to designing the women’s collection, it appears that this was no mean feat. Although she has worked on many significant projects over the years and with many desirable names, premier designer Carole Hochman revealed that it took time to get the comfort, the fit and the detailing just right across the board as no two women’s bodies are identical.
“I’m not a big believer in one size fits all,” she stated. “So I’ve spent a long time working with [fit] models.” And she believes firmly that she has achieved the right outcome.
“My underwear is luxury underwear [and] is the best fitting underwear I’ve ever worn.”
Her design philosophy is simple and forthright and Hochman has premised her Naked designs on this: “I think you need to design with limitations. You can’t just design anything that comes into your mind.”
Naked collections are, therefore, targeted to specific gaps and niches in the market.
“Our [design] process is really based on what we feel the market needs and what we feel Naked should be accountable for,” Hochman explained. “We have defined what we think is the right space in the market. It’s first of all [about] affordable luxury for [the] price points [and] it’s minimalist, in terms of [being] uncomplicated. We’re very much into covering the basics of a wardrobe.”
Built with the feel of indulgence, Naked Women’s collection is prepared from premium textiles that are cut and shaped to perfection. The design team is particularly proud of the outcome using their chosen Micromodal which is designed to drape the body in all the right places, without being unpleasantly clingy.
“Our [women’s] Micromodal was definitely a derivative of our men’s Micromodal. Ours is at the high end,” Hochman revealed. “It feels like luxury when you wear it. It’s one of the best fabrics I’ve ever worked with.”
Using a high cotton to spandex ratio (91:9) has also proven ideal in shaping the women’s range, creating a body-loving material that’s obedient to a woman’s curvature.
“Naked specializes in intimates, loungewear and sleepwear that are designed to feel so heavenly against the wearer’s flesh that it’s like wearing nothing at all.”
“You don’t feel it when it’s on,” Hochman assures. “It’s very lightweight. It works with you.”
And despite the traditional view that pure cotton is always ideal for underwear, Hochman has a slightly more adjusted view.
“Spandex makes the fabric awesome,” she assured.
Although colour palettes are not as highly prioritized as the fit of the collections, the women’s collection benefits from the soft touch of heather and taupe and a pop of colour in the form of a punchy red. But the collections rest on the foundation of classic colourways of black, beige and white. Spring will see the addition of a girly pale pink and a feminine ceramic blue. Overall though, Hochman is determined that fit of the garments should be more calming than the colourways as comfort is the main pillar of Naked collections.
The re-engineering of the Naked brand has seen a revamp of the company logo to reflect the unisex characteristic of the brand. Hochman found the original logo quite solid and masculine, of course being originally a man’s brand, but it has now been transformed to appear more appealing to both sexes and is now what she calls “more architecturally modern”. The disappearing or “naked e” in the logo speaks simply towards what the brand stands for – peeled back layers and the freedom to be uninhibited.
By extension, the product packaging is also intended to be user friendly. Its visual is subtle and unintimidating – not overtly sexy and provocative as one might expect from a brand with a name like “Naked”. For the brand, it’s not about conjuring up the seductiveness of nakedness but really tapping into the emotional side of it – the freedom to feel comfortable with yourself in your own skin, so the brand images are not intended to be inherently sensual.
So far, the success of the women’s collection is speaking for itself. The cotton collection is proving quite popular along with the pyjamas in the luxury Micromodal being a front runner. The brand has already seen reorders for its Pima cotton and Micromodal underwear although being fairly new additions to the collection. CEO and designer Hochman informed that Naked now has plans to extend the Pima collection for both sexes as part of brand expansion.
But it doesn’t stop there when you are on a mission to make a brand a household name. Plans are already in the pipeline to update the women’s range with touches of lace and to introduce a whole new line called Naked Sheer Mesh Intimate group made up of mesh garments with the right balance of opacity. If previous collections are anything to go by, these additions are sure to be a hit with brand fans.
But no matter what’s added to the listing women can take pleasure in knowing that they are getting quality products with high performance and within their reach.
“There’s not a lot of people going after, what I call, affordable luxury today,” reasoned CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Naked, Carole Hochman. “People are either going after very low end, fast fashion or [the] very expensive. I think that we have found the right product at the right price that women are responding to.”
Naked’s long-term mission is to extend it reaches as far into the intimates market as possible and having a dual sex collection is the vehicle which the team believes will do this.
“There’s not a lot of [intimates] brands that cover both men and women together,” Hochman pointed out and this puts Naked in pole position to dominate this field.
Hochman reckons that this lack of dual branding is possibly a result of retailers not having the intuition as to how to merchandize them both together. Women’s lingerie can be an avenue through which men can be introduced to the world of quality underwear and retailers and brands, especially in brick and mortar shops, need to know how to merge the two so that they maximize their market potential. Her conviction in this concept is so strong that Hochman visualizes Naked offering support in the form of donating or consigning samples to retailers to who want to attempt the cohabitation of Naked’s men’s and women’s underwear under one roof with the possibility of replenishment if successful.
For now though the Naked team is happy to be a trendsetter in bringing both men and women as close to blissful, unencumbered nakedness as possible, persuading them to experience intimates like they never have before.
Questions about Naked?
Naked Women’s Collection Gallery