THE STORY OF A LINGERIE BRAND THAT CHANGED CULTURE
By Eloise Skinner | @eloiseallexia
In a world full of new startups, digital marketing and endless advertising, it’s rare that we see a truly compelling story of a brand’s history. So often, it can feel like companies start to say the same things: the same trends, same slogans, same calls for our attention. So when I came across the lingerie brand Hanky Panky – as a model, and now as a fan(!) – I was fascinated by their history. (This is, after all, a brand that caused even The Wall Street Journal to describe their fabrics as ‘lace butter’ – it’s that good.)
Women-led, women-owned, and created by women since 1977, Hanky Panky welcome their community into, as they describe, a ‘society of friends, mothers, sisters and daughters’. The brand was created by designer Gale Epstein, whose mission was to turn modest Victorian-era fabrics (think: soft lace) into a modern-day, empowering statement. (An original version of her design is kept in The Met(!)
Hanky Panky doesn’t disappoint on values, either: the company’s sustainability statement details the fabrics they’ve committed to never use, as well as the material certifications and supply chain steps taken to protect both people and planet. Since 2017, the company has been employee-owned, too.
Ok, back to the collection itself: as Selfridges states, a Hanky Panky thong is sold every ten seconds globally (Hanky Panky Womens | Selfridges) – and is now trademarked as ‘The World’s Most Comfortable Thong®’. In production since 1986, the company’s goal is for this thong not to be felt – to be barely there, unbelievably soft, and providing an effortlessly seamless silhouette.
And yes – as a model for the brand’s Everyday Essentials range – I can confirm all of this is true. Softest lace (The Wall Street Journal wasn’t wrong about that), beautiful colours, and a women-led, mission-driven company: what more could you ask for? Women making lingerie for women, as Vogue wrote in this piece – or, as Hanky Panky puts it, behind women since 1977 (and staying there).
Photo credits: Hanky Panky website; Hanky Panky Everyday Essentials range