Sophie Thorne and Twisted Lingerie Brand
My background isn’t in lingerie; it isn’t even in fashion – I studied languages at Cambridge and have been a management consultant in London’s financial district for much of my career. About a year and a half ago, I took the plunge and set up my own business. I’ve always been obsessed by lingerie; whilst my friends drooled over designer shoes and handbags, I was fanatical about Bordelle and Nichole de Carle, and would spend my weekends loitering in either Coco de Mer or Agent Provocateur. I figured that if I was going to live and breathe something for the next x years then I needed to be truly passionate about it. I was clear on what I was trying to achieve: build an accessibly-priced brand, without compromising on the designs or the quality of the production. Since I lacked any formal training, it was a steep learning curve and a lot of hard work to get from my initial idea to launch. From ordering every “How to run a fashion business” book Amazon had on offer to competitor research at every lingerie shop within a 100-mile radius of my home, to business plan writing and brand development, to pattern-making and god knows how many sample iterations, to the hunt for a factory that not only met my quality standards but would also accept the tiny order quantities (I eventually settled on a small factory in Latvia), to pricing and distribution decisions, to production, shipping and launch. It’s exhausting just writing that list and it’s only a whistle-stop tour!
WHO AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO DESIGN THIS SPECIFIC STYLE OF LINGERIE?
Madonna’s Rebel Heart album cover served as an early inspiration for the Xenia collection. I felt that the dichotomy of the rebel with her face bound accurately reflected a world where many women still feel conflicted and repressed about communicating their desires. I wanted to peel back the layers of what it means to feel sexually empowered, blurring the lines between underwear and outerwear with a dynamic mix and match collection which makes a statement whether it’s concealed under a suit or worn later that night in the bedroom. This collection is about taking control and not being shy about it, an homage to the women who want a little bit of everything…with a cherry on top.
WHAT IS THIS STYLE OF LINGERIE CALLED (FOR PEOPLE WHO DO NOT KNOW THE DIFFERENT TYPES)?
At Twisted we refer to the Xenia collection as fetish-inspired lingerie because of the bold elasticated strapping and shockingly sheer mesh. This also encompasses the ultra-racy frame / ouvert styles worn in some of the images.
Why this style?
Twisted was created to solve a particular problem: I could pick up a new dress from Zara or Topshop for £30 but I wasn’t able to find well-made and well-priced provocative lingerie – the kind made for after-dark frolicking rather than functionality – to wear underneath it…
…The gap between cheap-and-tacky and super high-end continues to grow; not many of my girlfriends feel comfortable spending £250 on a lingerie set but they don’t necessarily want to buy a bright red push-up bra either.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR PRODUCT DO YOU FIND IS IMPORTANT FOR BUYERS TO KNOW?
The value for money – Twisted’s range has all the style and attitude of luxury designer brands but none of the price tag.
ANY FAMOUS BODIES?
We have a loyal following from the lingerie community – instagrammers like The Wicked Jade and Satin Spectre for example.
WHO BUYS YOUR LINGERIE?
We sell to a wide-range of people – men buying for women, women buying for themselves, with ages ranging from early 20s up to customers in their 50s. I don’t really believe there is an ideal Twisted Lingerie wearer. In my mind it’s about how the lingerie makes women feel when they wear it. However they style it, we want our customers to feel confident and sexy.
PRICE RANGE AND WHERE IS IT AVAILABLE.
Twisted’s range starts at just £17. Our debut collection, Xenia, is exclusively available online and, with next day delivery, you can order on Thursday for a delightfully degenerate weekend. The only limit is your imagination…
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE “SEXUALITY/SENSUALITY”? WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
For me, sexuality / sensuality is all about how people express themselves sexually. And, like our fashion choices, how we choose to behave sexually is incredibly personal, unique and – in many ways – complicated. Its importance, in my mind, relates to feeling able to be sexual / sensual without fear of stigma, abuse, repercussions, etc.
I think for women or non-binary and homosexual individuals, there is still a great deal of conflict about being able to openly communicate their desires or preferences which leads to a great deal of repression and lack of empowerment – both sexually and otherwise.