Growing up in Kauai, Hawaii, sisters Shelah Jean and Bonnie Rae couldn’t always find the clothes they wanted—so they made them instead. Their step-mom was a classically trained designer with a small lingerie line of her own, so she taught the girls to sew, giving them the skill—and inspiration—to create their own line, NOE Undergarments, which launches e-commerce today. “As teenagers we talked about creating lingerie and would dabble with the idea, do sketches, and make a few designs for ourselves but it wasn’t until a few years ago that the concept really blossomed,” Jean says.
“We literally grew up in bikinis; from an early age it set a tone of wearing less is more,” says Jean. “Having a lifestyle where you’re wearing very little, you begin to appreciate how something so small, such as a bikini or slip, can make you feel so special and create such a statement.” Their Hawaiian childhood is evident in their premiere collection, from the cute swimwear influence in the silhouettes to the bright hues. “Our color palette was purposefully intended to have a blend of nature versus man-made cityscapes,” says Rae. “Soft soy, nude and ivory found in sand beaches are contradicted with bright mandarin and citron, inspired by bright city lights.” The muse behind the AW13 underwear collection is the juxtaposition of urban sleek and the fluidity found in nature. And every piece is completely designed and made in the U.S.
And there’s no reason to keep the cute pieces to yourself. NOE Undergarments are made to be worn in the bedroom or as outerwear. “All of our bras and bustiers are designed to be seen, layered under tanks, sheer tops, low neckline dresses or even a suit,” says Jean. “Our slips can be worn as a sexy layered night look or even a sophisticated beach cover-up. The lambskin leather pieces are designed to be worn as visible bondage-inspired pieces—every woman needs a few provocative pieces in her closet!”
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