Designer Interview: The Big Reveal

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! Today is a day filled with all things love and lust. A day to get cozy, be intimate, feel pretty, be you.

What better a way to celebrate this day of intimacy and beauty than to talk about bras? The delicate little numbers that hide underneath our clothes… the ones we’re starting to allow to come peek out playfully as spring approaches.

The Big Reveal is a new trend on our site, and it’s all about showing off those sexy, strappy intimates by paring them with tops that are just a tad more revealing than usual. We are ALL about baring a bit more this spring — we can’t stop talking about it here at our home office. I was really curious to find out more about this trend, so I turned to someone who knows bras oh just a wee bit better than most — our incredible in-house bra designer Megan!

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Megan bra designer

Megan! What exactly do you do here at Free People, and how long have you been here? Is there such a thing as a typical day for you?

I design the bras and undies for Intimately FP, and have been here for just shy of two years. I moved to Philadelphia from New York in 2007 to design intimates for Urban Outfitters, and have also designed for Anthropologie, but I’ve been obsessed with all things lacey boudoir and pretty for a lifetime, and studied intimate apparel design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. A typical day for me includes sketching and sewing in the laciest room in the building, with my fellow Intimately FP designers of slips & layering, and loungewear, working with a technical designer and fit model to achieve the perfect fit, choosing trim colors, and meeting with buyers and production to choose new collections, and work on styles already in development. Our days here are always new and exciting! Every season has its own vibe, and it’s fun to get caught up in those feelings and create wearable, functional art.

Lacey strappy bra

Seamless Racerback Crochet Bra

 I’m dying to know about your design process. Where do you begin? How long does it take? How many minds come together to create one magical piece?

These are great questions. I start with an idea — this can come from almost anywhere… from there I sketch or sew up my idea. Sometimes it will look right on paper right away, but other times I sketch it multiple times with small changes until I get it right. It actually takes quite a few minds to create true bra and undie magic! Multiple teams at our home office work together on each style: design, buying, sourcing and production, technical design, color and print, packaging. Then we have our vendors, who actually make and dye the fabric and trims, create the patterns, and sew the garments. It’s definitely a group effort, and we have an amazing team of very passionate and talented people

Bra, tank, window

V Bra

Do you ever just have an unexpected image of a garment suddenly pop into your mind and think, “I must make this come to life!”?

YES!! I always have a little notebook and pencil with me, as many times an idea will come to me out of the blue. Or I might see an image, a scene in a movie, or a great look on the street that inspires me to create as well. For example, the dress form I am usually seen walking down the halls of FP with is nicknamed Penny Lane, after a bra top that was inspired by all of crop tops worn by Kate Hudson’s character in the movie Almost Famous. We also design for specific occasions and girls — like a sparkly, sexy, showstopper bra to wear out or to a party, or a cozy, soft, romantic lace bra to wear under your favorite loungewear on the weekend. I also find bits of fabric, lace, vintage garments, patterns, and photos very inspiring.

Bra sketch 1

(Above: sketch. Below: bra!)

Bra hanging, dried flowers

Essential Lace Bandeau

Tell us about this strappy, provocative trend that were all finding ourselves falling in love with? How did it come about? What was it inspired by?

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment we started to fall in love with the provocative feeling… like fashion in general, intimate apparel also has trends and cycles, though they tend to move a little more slowly than other apparel. It was partially inspired by swimwear — those smooth fabrics and clean lines started feeling right and fresh again. Our FP girl loves truly special pieces that decorate and accentuate her unique personality and style. 

Bra sketch 2

Strappy Back Bra

What are some of the different ways that you’ve incorporated this awesome strappiness into your designs?

Designing into this trend has been an incredible amount of fun. Usually I begin designing a bra from the front… but for some of the strappier styles, I started from the back, or side, working with different elastics, hardware and materials on my dress form, until a new look is born.

Lacey criss-cross Free People bra

V Bra

Would you say this trend is better suited for smaller- or larger-chested girls, or is it something anyone can pull off?

I think it truly depends on the bra, and what style or shape you’re most comfortable in… but if the bra fits, wear it! Everyone can rock this look and feel amazing all day long. We have many new styles out now and coming out in the next few months, in bralettes, soft bras, and underwire bras… we truly have something for every FP girl, whether you want to show off gorgeous backstrap motifs under an open back dress, a great side detail paired with a low armhole tank, or even front strapping and neckline details to peek out of necklines, or under sheer fabrics.

Do you see the trend sticking around for quite some time? Where do you envision it going over the next few seasons?

I feel this look will definitely live on, but in many incarnations. For someone who has been loving bras old and new for a lifetime, it’s been very exciting to see so many visually stunning, almost jewelry-like pieces coming out recently, from an array of designers… I think we embrace this vibe because it makes them feel empowered and gorgeous, and highlights their bodies in new and different ways. This look already seems to be branching into new levels of sheerness, sculptural shapes, and cutouts as well. Both stunning for outfitting… and on their own, of course ;)

Hair flowing, sports bra

Seamless Racerback Crochet Bra

And finally… tell us some fun facts about yourself!

– I have a rescued 3-legged ador-a-bull (pit bull labrador) named Sonoma. :)

– I collect ceramic and metal deer figurines, vinyl, and… shoes, haha!

– I play ping pong and am 5-year champion of my league.

– I have the first piece of lace I was inspired by… mom had it in her sewing box when I was a child. I would often take it out and just look at it, or touch how soft and delicate it was. It was so beautiful I was afraid to cut it and waste it, and today it hangs on my home studio wall.

Sequin bra, wood floor

Thanks so much for talking to us, Megan! Keep doing the beautiful work you do! :)

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marissa l

i absolutely adore every piece of fp intimates i own — thanks for making such great stuff, megan!

Honestly, FP bras are the only ones I like wearing, so kudos for a good product. So many other bras are just plain uncomfortable. I love how the bras are pretty enough to use as an accessory with clothes and comfortable enough that I am not even aware that I am wearing one. Thank you for designing the best.

I absolutely adore the gorgeous feminine FP bras, so it was so wonderfully interesting hear about the design process. It reminds me of developing a story… I find that the best ideas need time to germinate and they tend to come when I’m not actively thinking about it…like when I’m running or commuting to work… Thank you for sharing that wonderfully fascinating look into the creative minds of FP!

Such gorgeous and unique bras!
I love hearing about the creative process of different designers.

Adore, adore, adore…
What a talented, beautiful lady!