Aliza Reger grabbed the headlines last month with her new lingerie collection for JD Williams, modelled by 62 year-old supermodel Marie Helvin. In a special interview, the entrepreneur talks to Lingerie Insight’s Sarah Blackman about stepping out of her comfort zone and designing a larger range of styles for the 50+ woman.
Renowned lingerie designer Aliza Reger has launched a glamourous new underwear range in collaboration with JD Williams.
The entrepreneur, daughter of the late Janet Reger, whose lingerie collection Reger has become a best-seller in Debenhams since its launch in 2000, has temporarily stepped away from her family-run brand to launch her own collection for the over 50s.
The new range, named Always Aliza, has been making headlines in recent weeks with a series of campaign images featuring 62 year-old supermodel Marie Helvin as the face of the campaign.
This is the first lingerie range from Reger that is specifically designed to fit and flatter the mature woman, with 13 pieces available from a 34B up to a 50DD.
Here, Reger explains her inspirations behind the range, the challenges of developing a fashionable and feminine collection in a large range of sizes and her plans for future design projects.
Why did you decide to collaborate with JD Williams?
It seemed like a fantastic opportunity to bring a bit of the Reger sparkle to a different marketplace. That 50+ market is not what it used to be; women want younger, trendier, cooler and better fitted garments. They don’t want to wear old lady clothes because they’re not old ladies. So this was very much a collaboration born out of bringing something to that market that wasn’t already there.
If you tell a woman in their 60s she’s a mature, she’d probably slap you around the head, and quite rightly so. Whereas 20 or 30 years ago, a woman of 60 was perceived as mature. Today’s 60 year-old is as glamorous as any 30 year-old. I took inspiration from heritage pieces and worked closely with JD Williams team to ensure Always Aliza is both functional and supportive, whilst still being stylish.
How would you describe your first Always Aliza collection?
It’s feminine, functional and classy. It features ethereal pink, a little bit of silver, satin and mesh. My design handwriting also translates into what I call the underpinnings of being well dressed. You can’t wear a blowse over a bra if you’ve got four boobs!
Our inspiration all the way through has been to make it fabulous, make it pretty and make it fit. We’ve done a summer launch, which is all about prettiness, with feminine florals and soft colours. It’s all about things that I love and I think other women are going to love as well.
Will you continue your collaboration with Debenhams?
Absolutely. This is a very different collection; it’s aimed at a very different segment of the marketplace and also our size structure is very different, with bras available up to a 50DD.
How challenging is it to produce so many SKUs?
The challenge is to make a 50DD bra supportive and comfortable because it is a very different type of bra to a 32C, for example. The larger sizes are new to me and I’ve learnt an awful lot along the way.
What have you learned, exactly?
I’ve learnt that with larger sizes it is all about the construction. It can’t dig in where the wires need to be, the sides need to be or the shoulder straps need to be. It’s also about taking a different approach to how we use fabrics.
I love to use mesh, so we doubled up on the mesh with the larger sizes as it gives it more strength. It’s been a challenge on both counts; one for making the collection beautiful, which is what I love and what I do, and the other thing is to make it completely functional across all sizes.
Do you hope to continue to develop collections for JD Williams in future seasons?
Absolutely, it’s a great working collaboration. I love working with them. It certainly has been a challenge, but in a very positive way. I’ve been able do something where I’ve needed to step out of my comfort zone, to do something I haven’t done before and to do something away from my own label by stepping outside the family umbrella and doing it on my own.