Here’s why your next bra should be Berlei
You’ve heard of Berlei. But did you know they’ve been making bras for 100 years? It began in Sydney, with one man – yes, man – and his dream to make perfectly-fitting corsets and brassieres for real body shapes. For Fred Burley, lingerie wasn’t about telling women what shape they should be, it was about figuring out what shape they actually were. Not only did he work with doctors to ensure bras were anatomically correct, he also made sure women were part of Berlei’s core team from the start.
Today, Berlei are famous for making undergarments that support women of every age and size – not to mention for supporting Serena Williams through a bunch of tennis grand slams. Because if you have to wear a bra, your bra should help you feel your absolute best.
To help celebrate 100 years of Berlei, we spoke to the brand’s head designer, Adele Kershaw, on what it’s like to design bras for one of the most iconic names in lingerie.
Why is wearing the right bra so important?
The right bra gives women a confidence boost, knowing you’re being properly supported gives you the self-assurance to do your own thing…whether that’s playing sport, going about your day, or dancing the night away.
How long have you been designing for Berlei?
Over 25 years.
What’s it like working for one of Australia’s most iconic lingerie labels?
Founder Fred Burley was a ‘man of vision’ – dynamic and imaginative – he took the lead with bold innovations. He was passionate about making the most of women’s curves, and producing garments that are of high quality and a perfect fit.
I like to think we’ve continued with his legacy. The journey has been amazing and we have grown together, empowering women.
Describe a day in the life of a lingerie designer?
The designer is the custodian of the bra from concept all the way through to the production of the garment. We collaborate with garment technicians, fabric and raw material developers, costing coordinators and operations to ensure the look, fit and feel of each garment. No two days are the same! Multiple seasons layer over each other and so I work in varying stages of the development process on any given day.
What has Berlei taught you about lingerie?
It’s taught me the importance of knowing your brand’s core values, understanding your heritage and continually investing and building a lasting appeal.
Who is the Berlei woman?
A woman who knows the power of self-care and self-investment. We continually innovate with the latest fabrics and technology to ensure women always feel completely confident and supported. We design for women of every age, shape and size as we know all women are different and that should be celebrated.
Berlei was born in 1917, the first brand to make foundation garments for real women, not ‘idealistic’ body shapes. What does the Berlei workroom look like today?
The team is female dominated – Berlei is a brand for women by women. [Our workroom] is filled with engaging and inspirational images; large project boards that document the brands’ franchises from present projects to future innovations.
Berlei has spent 100 years perfecting their craft and researching what real women need and want. How does the brand stay so attuned to the desires of Australian women?
We talk to them! We continue to stay connected with our customers, find out how their needs are changing, and work to surprise and delight them along the way.
How do you begin a collection of lingerie? Fabric, design, a vision?
As designers we’re constantly on the lookout for ideas. We immerse ourselves in what’s happening… trends in fashion, social media and lifestyle. [Then] we scope a range and build a vision for each collection. With this vision in mind, our focus will be on designing product ranges that compliment a woman’s lifestyle and appeal to her needs, blending solution and style no matter what her life-stage.
What can we expect to see from Berlei for the season ahead?
We are focusing on a fresh new aspirational and modern vision for the next generation of Berlei women. She will choose products that are considered, purposeful and that align to her life and style. Our Berlei products will have a multi-generational appeal; considered and versatile with long lasting style. It’s an exciting start to the next 100 years.
Want a bra that fits you better?
Shop Berlei online now