Based in Canada, Annie Boulanger is Trulife’s bra designer. She joined Trulife 11 years ago following a career in Fashion Design & Manufacturing which included ladies and children’s wear.
We sat down with Annie to ask her a few questions about herself, her background, and what makes the perfect bra design!
Where do you think your passion for design came from? How did you get into it?
I’ve always been interested in creating things; I just loved the summer arts camps where we would get into every kind of creative activity, whether it was mask-making out of plaster, batik painting, or multi-dimensional collages.
I remember as a young child using graph paper to design houses. Dream houses that is; as I remember my designs had multiples storeys and elevators!! To this day, I’m always very keen to analyze commercial house plans when I come across them. I like to see if I could have made it better: can I think of a better location for a component? Could I improve the use of the space? Still fun even after moving on to fashion all those years ago!
As a teenager, I discovered my mom’s sewing machine she had received as a wedding present and never used….. I convinced her to enroll me in sewing classes given by an experienced seamstress in another neighborhood of our hometown. And that was the real start! After 3 years of classes, it was very easy for me to decide on my future career path and I applied to a fashion school in Montréal right after high school.
After graduating from the 3-year program, I went on to another fashion school to learn additional skills such as computer-aided design, millinery, lingerie design and children’s garment creation. My desire to learn and create something new has not subsided at all and a few years ago I decided, with no knowledge at all of masonry, to build a wood-fired oven from scratch in my backyard!
I have also created some amazing delicious pizza combinations enjoyed by many friends and neighbors so now you could say I’m a bra designer by day and a culinary treats designer by night!
What is the most challenging part of bra design?
Trying to please everyone! There’s no standard woman’s body, so you could ask – how can there be a bra that will fit everyone?? Having all components engineered to fit together can sometimes be an interesting challenge.
Have bras changed much over the years? If so, how?
Oh definitely! Where should I start! Many decades ago, bras were available in white, or white! Now, you can find a whole selection of neutral colors such as nude, latte, sandstone which make one’s bra wardrobe so much more interesting. The shape has changed too, as women’s body shape has changed. The 50’s bra cups were very conical and pointy but now we desire a much more natural shape of the breast. One thing is sure, it will change again!
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from our customers and their clients. I work closely with them and they express to me their concerns, as well as likes and dislikes of their bras and how they want their bras to feel. Again, it’s impossible to please everyone with each and every bra but I can say that every detail on every one of our bras has been requested by a customer or client.
What is the most important thing that a woman wants from a bra, in your experience?
Comfort. When you put on a bra that is fitted perfectly to your body, you feel it immediately and it makes a tremendous difference to your day.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
All stretch materials are at the same time a delight and a challenge to work with!
What is your favorite Trulife bra?
Oh that is too difficult to answer! How can I favor one child over another?? Each time we launch a new bra, I fall in love all over again! I’m particularly fond of our brand new Lexi 4043 ; the Amethyst color adds just enough ‘ooh la la’ and ‘pizzazz’ to the day while the Sandstone shade is so pretty and versatile, while staying neutral enough that it can be worn every day!
I must say that I do especially like our 4008 Audrey bra for its exceptional comfort and support with the underwire as well as the fashion and delicate touch of the European-designed lace.