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“It’s really a natural progression for the We Wore What brand and it’s a category that I’ve always been excited to create,” Bernstein, founder and lead designer of the e-commerce site, told WWD. “It’s always been hard for me personally to find high-quality lingerie at an affordable price point, especially [pieces] that focus on a comfortable fit and that are also flattering. So that’s exactly what you’ll see in this new category.”
The 12-piece intimates collection, which launches Feb. 1, includes bras, bralettes, underwear, lace rompers, T-shirts and a selection of sleepwear. Consumers can shop the collection at We Wore What’s e-commerce, as well as select retailers, including Revolve, LuisaViaRoma and a handful of independent boutiques. Prices range from $15 to $98 for each piece and come in sizes XS to XL.
In addition, the brand is launching an eight-piece assortment of silk lingerie — think silk bralettes, rompers, robes, camis, sleepwear and sleep accessories — available exclusively on the brand’s e-commerce. The washable silk collection also comes in sizes XS to XL and is all priced under $300.
Bernstein added that the collection’s selection of underwire bras are distinctive in that they won’t come in traditional cup-band bra sizes, instead relying on XS to XL measurements. “Because of the fabric stretch and the adjustability of the pieces,” she explained. “It’s adjustable in the back and in the straps and with that we’re actually able to reach a better range of sizing, which simplifies the buying process for our customers. You know, not everybody is just a 32B [for example]. So you can really have a range of sizing that works for you.
“And our first collection of intimates has these beautiful subdued colors and neutrals and all of the beautiful colors that it comes in really look good on all bodies and skin types,” Bernstein continued. “It’s an incredibly soft fabric; it’s buttery soft. That was a top priority with this new category.”
The need for innerwear and sleepwear has been a hot button in the fashion world throughout the pandemic, even as in-person events and return-to-office orders continue to shift on the daily. In fact, Bernstein said she wasn’t phased at all about the possibility that the demand for lingerie might begin to dwindle as the pandemic (hopefully) winds down.
“People are just shopping again; it’s kind of across the board,” she said. “We’ve seen swimwear remain a top-seller [on Weworewhat.com] as people begin to travel a lot, again, as well as anything occasional. Our feather dress, which was part of the holiday collection, sold out within minutes of our previous launch. But even though we’ve seen an increase in occasion dressing, we’re still seeing our loungewear sell through. And activewear has been great.”
Bernstein, a native New Yorker, began her career more than a decade ago as a fashion influencer, raking up 2.8 million followers on Instagram in the process. Several successful collaborations — with names like Joe’s Jeans and Onia swimwear — propelled her to create the We Wore What brand. In February 2020, the designer launched a ready-to-wear capsule collection sold exclusively at Macy’s. Bernstein ended the partnership with Macy’s amicably in March 2021, bringing her rtw apparel to the We Wore What platform.
Today, the We Wore What brand includes rtw, swimwear, activewear and accessories, in addition to the new innerwear assortment, all of which can be found at weworewhat.com, as well third-party retailers like Anthropologie, Shopbop, Bandier, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Carbon38, Kith, Intermix and more.
Bernstein wouldn’t specify We Wore What’s total revenues, which includes the e-commerce and wholesale businesses, but did say they shot up almost 200 percent over the last year. That’s on top of sales in the e-commerce shop growing approximately 300 percent between 2019 and 2020.
“So we’ve been really fortunate to be able to expand,” she said.
In addition, the We Wore What rtw collection at Macy’s topped more than $13 million in revenues during its year at the department store. Nowadays, each new collection earns an average of $1 million per launch day, often selling out within hours, thanks in part to Bernstein’s social media savvy.
“With introducing any new category, what really makes our brand stand out is that we focus on customer feedback first and foremost,” the designer said. “And I have such a direct line of communication with our customers that we’re able to react to their requests and feedback with each collection.”
One request from her fanbase has been for We Wore What brick-and-mortar stores, something Bernstein said she’s open to — one day.
“We don’t really feel like it’s necessary yet to make that jump [yet],” she said. “But it’s definitely something that’s in the future for us.”
As a successful entrepreneur, Bernstein has been able to help emerging designers and donate money to charity by way of We Gave What, the charitable arm of We Wore What, and a partnership with Showfields, the retail space in New York City. She is also an active investor. Most recently, Bernstein became an investor for Grin, a creator management platform. In October, Grin closed a series B funding round for $110 million.
“Just being able to use my expertise and knowledge to help tech companies and a hair supplement company called Wellbel and a CBD company called Highline Wellness, helping them with everything from their strategic marketing and digital strategy and making strategic instructions for them and really being able to lend a hand wherever I can has been really fun for the next step in my career,” she said.
Despite her success, Bernstein has been embroiled in controversy in the last year-and-a-half after a handful of independent designers accused her of copying designs, including face masks and swimsuits. Bernstein denied all allegations.
“These sorts of things come with the territory of my job and as long as I know what the truth is and my team and my followers stand behind that, I think that that’s all that really matters,” Bernstein said.
“There hasn’t really been anything new that’s come about in a long time,” she added. “There’s been many false accusations. And I’ve shared the truth and that’s really all I can say about it.”