Cantiq LA: Lingerie for Everyone
Lingerie is among the most beautiful garments anyone can wear, said Chelsea Hughes, founder of the Cantiq LA lingerie label.
She believes everyone should have the opportunity to wear it, including plus-size women and even men. “I’m making lingerie for everybody,” she explained. “The sky is the limit. We actively depict every variation of folk.”
Cantiq is one of a handful of lingerie labels manufactured in Los Angeles. It may be one of the few that actively strives to be widely inclusive. This year, it introduced two major extensions of the line for plus-size people and for the gender fluid. The label’s sizes go up to 3X. For those born with male anatomy, panties have more room in the front.
Hughes stressed that her line is body positive. She said there is a large demand but not enough supply of lingerie for people who may not have perfect bodies and don’t resemble the conventional lingerie fit model.
Market researchers The NPD Group agree that there is an untapped demand for full-figure and plus-size categories.
“The underserved full-figure and plus-size market continues to be one of retail’s major merchandising mistakes,” said Marshal Cohen, The NPD Group’s chief retail analyst. “With retailers focusing on assortment productivity, brands adding new styles become a harder sell, but size extensions are a straightforward way to expand on successful existing assortments.”
To make lingerie for people who don’t fit into standard-sized lingerie, Hughes sought differently sized fit models. She hired three fit models for the plus-size line and 11 fit models for the gender-fluid line. “It’s not just adding more fabric. Unless real folks try on the samples, you don’t know how they’ll fit.”
Cantiq LA lingerie does not use padding or underwire, things that Hughes said give an unnatural lift and can constrict the body. In their place, the label uses straps, which look similar to garter belts. For bras, they are attached around the chest and collar area to provide lift and call attention to curves, and they are placed slightly above and below the panties.
The garter belt–like straps lend an exotic style to the garments, Hughes said. Fabrics used include lace and mesh, and silhouettes range from boy shorts to bodysuits. The label’s most popular silhouettes are the bandage-boy shorts to the triangle-cutout bralette.
The garments come in eight different color ways, including snow white, sage green, dusted rose as well as bright reds and dark blacks.
Eventually, Hughes would like to wholesale the brand. She has exhibited at previous Los Angeles Fashion Markets in Los Angeles as well as at last September’s Capsule in New York City.
Earlier this year, Hughes opened a brand boutique in her studio near the intersection of La Brea Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard.