When Emma Butler’s mother was diagnosed with a chronic illness 10 years ago, she couldn’t find functional, fashionable clothing that preserved her sense of independence. The problem was particularly acute when it came to lingerie. Color and style options were extremely limited, and the merchandise was largely marketed on medical websites to elderly consumers.
A few years later, when Butler was an undergraduate at Brown University, she launched a line of sexy, accessible, and comfortable undergarments for women like her mom. Called Intimately, the brand fills a badly underserved niche in the clothing market for people with disabilities.
“Lingerie shopping is an intimate experience that defines a woman’s femininity, personal identity, and self-assurance,” says the 23-year-old Butler. “Everyone, including disabled women, deserves to have an empowering shopping experience. Intimately takes a wholesome approach bringing confidence to disabled women. It’s more than just a sexy bra and underwear; it’s also the unique support from a community of women who understand what you’re going through.”
Last week, the UK-based brand scored a major round of investment in the form of $1 million in seed capital, including the first-ever investment by the British Fashion Council. Designed with input from women with disabilities from all over the world, Intimately’s product line utilizes the latest adaptive fashion technology to ensure the garments are easy to put on and comfortable to wear.
More important, Intimately’s apparel challenges the stereotype that people with disabilities are unattractive and sexless. The accessibly priced collection features two styles of bras, two styles of underwear, and a sleep set to meet a spectrum of needs. The bras are priced in the mid-$50 range, the underwear costs $25, and sleepwear pieces between $25 and $30. Shop online at www.intimately.co.