All photographs courtesy of Naja Lingerie.
Lingerie has long been used to boost sex appeal and add oomph to the physical.
But Catalina Girald, CEO of Naja Lingerie, is more concerned about attention to detail than attracting attention.
With designs inspired by travel and the sponsoring of a charity for single mothers, Naja wanders outside the status quo to empower women, not their sexuality.
“Every collection is inspired by something different. I tend to look at world inspiration,” Girald says of her building brand. “Everything has a little bit of meaning behind it.”
Girald’s vision stemmed from dissatisfaction with popular lingerie brands, such as Victoria’s Secret, which emphasizes sexuality rather than comfort. As a businesswoman, she felt that such undergarments contradicted her professional lifestyle. She also realized that affordable, quality lingerie was limited. Determined to introduce an alternative to an already booming industry, she left her position as an attorney at a top law firm. She pursued an MBA at Stanford University in California and founded MOXSIE, an online store for independent designers to share their collections, which she later sold.
In May 2013, Naja Lingerie was born. Headquartered in Medellín, Colombia, with offices in San Francisco and New York City, Naja offers affordable products while employing single mothers. Naja’s panties have motivational quotes stitched inside, while the bra cups veil interior artwork. The products contain inspiration for the wearer, not for the passerby.
As the website states, “We did away with fake wind blowing into models’ hair and created a brand that could connect with smart, courageous and sexy women.”
Girald’s designs were first inspired from 18 months of backpacking through Asia, from Mongolia to Indonesia to Vietnam. Everything, from the colors used to the prints and design techniques, is symbolic of her traveling experiences.
“Once I come up with a theme, I start looking into it and researching the history behind everything,” she says.
Naja Lingerie offers swimwear and six undergarment collections, with plans for future growth. The collections include “Talavera Blue” and “Talavera Red,” inspired by Mexican folklore and 17th century Spain; “Andalusia,” inspired by mantillas; “Noir de Noirs,” inspired by French lingerie and retro styles; “One Night in Cashmere,” complete with peacocks, symbolic of beauty; and “Secret Life of Sparrows,” inspired by tattoo themes of sparrows and roses, symbolizing freedom and beauty.
All Naja products are constructed with attention to detail. The bras are made with memory foam cups, which do not crack when washed and mold to fit the individual, regardless of shape; and ultrasonic straps, which don’t unravel. The panties use Peruvian Pima cotton, recognized for its luxuriousness, and lace constructed from nylon for comfort purposes.
The products are affordable, with bras ranging from $45 to $70, panties from $12 to $22 and bathing suits from $20 to $28 for bottoms and $56 to $72 for tops.
But Girald’s efforts don’t end with a consumer-manufacturer relationship. She uses her company to help disadvantaged Colombian women by offering them an education and providing them with jobs. Naja’s Underwear for Hope program donates a percentage of each purchase to the Golondrinas Foundation in Medellín, where Girald was born. The foundation uses these funds for its sewing program for single mothers and Girald in turn hires them for Naja. Each time a Naja bra is purchased, the consumer receives a complimentary wash-bag. The wash-bags are handmade at home by the women employed by Naja through Underwear for Hope.
“For me, it was always important to give back with my company,” Girald says.
With Naja’s expansion, Girald is looking to increase her charitable efforts and diversify her existing product line.
“As we grow and as we have more resources, we plan to put in a variety – more models that are maybe different shapes and sizes that represent real women of today. For us, it’s the ongoing central theme – women empowerment.”
For more, visit naja.co.