“I’ve always been really inspired by lingerie—it’s this personal, hidden layer that has played such an important role in shaping women throughout history,” says Christina Remenyi, founder and creative director of Toronto-based lingerie company Fortnight. Since launching in 2010, Fortnight has developed an identity as an anti–mass market undergarment company, creating comfortable, hand-stitched, modern yet feminine designs far removed from the haphazardly heaped three-for-$15 frill-clusters sold by lingerie behemoths. (The line’s collaborative #BustOut campaign captured the attitude of the Fortnight woman with a series of mini-videos, posted to their Instagram page, featuring deadpan women in longline underwear setting fire to fusty-looking padded push-up bras amid jungle plants). “The intimacy that a woman has with her lingerie is quite inspiring. It’s a very personal purchase that to me is quite intriguing,” says Remenyi. “That connection keeps us motivated to create pieces that can improve the way women feel about themselves and their everyday routines of getting dressed in the morning.” Here, Remenyi shares her experiences launching Fortnight, finding her niche, and how she’s observed women’s attitude towards lingerie shift in recent years.
Explain your background and how you got started in the lingerie business.
I am a Toronto native and learned how to sew from my grandmother who gave me a deep appreciation for garment construction and careful handwork. I went to Ryerson [University] for fashion and continued to take some courses in Italy and London afterwards. When I returned, I worked in a bra fitting boutique in Toronto where I learned a lot about the benefits of [a] proper fit, and how to achieve it. This really helped to lay the foundation for Fortnight and the ideals I wanted the company to represent.
How would you describe Fortnight’s aesthetic?
Our aesthetic is very much a fusion of strong, assertive design lines with feminine fabrics and a highly tailored fit. Our mission is to design pieces that make women feel comfortable, supported, and confident all at the same time.
What are some challenges particular to the construction of lingerie garments, and what elements must a piece have to be a true luxury item?
Lingerie is an extremely complex garment to make. Because it’s so small and fitted to the body, even a millimetre can make a big difference in the way it feels; that’s a smaller manufacturing tolerance than any other garment. I think that luxury is not represented by a high price tag, but rather by quality, craftsmanship, and materials fused with a unique design perspective.
How have you seen woman’s preferences for lingerie styles evolve, and their desires change over the course of your career?
When I started, the industry was pretty much dominated by big box brands offering a narrow size range in either very elaborate or very basic styles. It was also very difficult to find bras that weren’t padded. In recent years, we’ve definitely seen a shift of women wanting more natural, tailored lingerie. There has also been a rise of independent brands giving women options to express their own style through their lingerie.