In the previous three decades, there has been a significant shift in the manner that we think about panties. Once headed by blond bombshells in push-up bras with angel wings strapped to their backs, the area of bridal lingerie has been completely disrupted. Possibly the most significant turning point came after Rihanna found her Savage x Fenty label in 2018, a size- along with skin-tone-inclusive lingerie collection that turned into the idea of the male gaze inside out. And today there’s a brand new generation of emerging lingerie brands on the scene, one of them LaSette, a body-positive lineup by designer Shiara LaSette Robinson.
Born in Florida and raised in Ohio, Robinson moved to New York in 2013 to pursue her dream of becoming a designer after graduating from the University of Kentucky. She enrolled at Parsons at 2015 and conceived of LaSette, a lingerie tag especially designed to empower the wearer. “I wanted girls to see themselves in my brand,” she says. “A lot of times Wedding Lingerie is spoken at us rather than spoke about with us. I think that is the fashion business in general, especially in regards to the female form”
For Robinson, who describes herself as a lifelong athlete, fit and comfort had been high on the agenda. “Clothes didn’t fit a lot because I had thick thighs and a little waist,” she recalls of her time as a cheerleader and track runner in high school. “It was traumatizing for me as a teen, so this was something I thought about while designing and working on the fit of every outfit.” She created her debut collection of minimal, sheer underwear in 2017 with that in mind, before formally starting in 2019. Each piece is made to skim instead of constrict the body; glossy slip dresses, ruffled wrap shirts, and thongs in colors of blush and leopard print are inserted with nylon and spandex to allow for movement. With everything ranging from $45 to $150, the price line is available too.
Each LaSette collection is made in L.A., while Robinson is located in Brooklyn. For the past month or so, though, she has been sheltering in place at her family’s house in Ohio. Having always been committed to equity and inclusion in how she approaches her new, Robinson is thinking about how she can impact change beyond style. This month she’s donating a part of her profits to Colin Kaepernick’s community-led instruction program, Know Your Rights Camp. “I always utilized to watch soccer on Sundays, and when Colin started kneeling, it was really simple for me to know,” she says. “I decided to protest the NFL, which altered my Sundays a lot. Not only is he an unbelievable athlete, but he’s sacrificed his career for advocacy.” Her and her sister are also in the process of starting an online directory of Black-owned businesses.
Robinson’s private beliefs and certainty have held her in good stead during a particularly trying second. Despite setbacks from the pandemic, Robinson is moving full speed ahead with plans for her Sexy lingerie autumn collection and an occasion for Fashion Week in New York this September centered around discussions between girls on intimacy. “I feel this will be an opportunity for people in the industry to actually build relationships,” she says. “What I hope to see is that, as a Dark designer appearing from the exterior, factories, painters, designers, photographers, each the people in the business will really build those relationships with brands as individuals. It means a good deal to have the ability to state that you have been with somebody to see their growth and you’ve supported them from the start, not just because they are a Black designer but because they are a designer.”