Since 1893 women have been using metal to try and shape, hold, and support the chest. Unfortunately wearing metal on your body on a daily basis causes discomfort and prevents your lymph nodes from flushing out toxins. This was a cause I was personally passionate about and I worked with two partners and took on a project to redesign the metal underwire in bras while interning at MAS holdings the largest apparel manufacturing company for big brands like Victoria Secret, Marks & Spencer and Nike.
We conducted research on the health effects of metal on the body. We found that underwire bras prevented our lymph nodes from flushing out toxins that were harmful to our body, could create long term health problems on the liver and the gall bladder due to metal acupressure and had been linked to breast cancer.
We also learned that bras could be recycled because of the metal underwire and this caused a large amount of waste that needed to be burned every year. From our studies we also learned that young women in the market were consciously looking for more sustainable, healthier alternatives so we had a large target audience for our new product.
Advantages of Bamboo
We conducted many experiments with different plastic, wood and fiber materials until we settled on Bamboo.
1) Bamboo was as strong and flexible as metal and provide the support needed in a bra.
2) It was recyclable and did not contribute to any waste.
3) It was a healthy material for the body.
It was difficult to keep the bamboo wire in shape. We tried coating it with a silicon gel, which worked but we worried it would not pass the required wear and tear tests. Replacing metal also meant changing bra production processes that would require buy in from clients. It would take some time for the industry to change their processes for a new material.
We prototyped the wire and pitched the product to the founders of the company. It was received very positively and was handed over to the research and innovation department to continue our work. We also got valuable feedback from their clients (Victoria Secret) that it was a desired and viable product. They continue to research and test the product on our behalf. Below is the final design and pitch for the product.