LATELY I'VE BEEN OBSESSED WITH undies. My style of clothing is always minimal; comfort and function are high on my list of priorities. Simple cotton, perfect fit, classic but modern silhouettes. This transfers to intimates for sure. My new favorite is Pansy Co., which is an underwear brand out of Oakland, CA, made from super comfy organic cotton grown right here in California. Laura Schoorl was sweet enough to send me a couple pairs in pretty dyed purple and rust colors, and I commissioned my friend jewelry designer Jess Hannah to model with me, and my other friend Esther to shoot it. Luckily, my friend Molly of The Moon & Co. allowed me to use her gorgeous studio/creative space in LA as the site for our shoot.
Also, Laura and I are holding a giveaway of a set of pansies (a bra and either a high or low waist pair of undies), ending tomorrow Friday 2/5 at 12pm PST. HOW TO ENTER: Post a comment below with the color and style of pansies you'd like to win along with your email address. Click here to see the two different styles. For an additional entry, go to my Pansy Instagram post and repost the photo, tagging @melissasonico and @pansyco. After the winner is announced, there will be a discount code "MELISSA" for 15% Friday till the end of Monday. Read on to find out more about Laura and Pansy Co.'s "pansies."
Photos by Esther Lee (unless otherwise noted)
Edited by me
How did you get started in designing intimates?
An idea is always spurred by a need. My dear friend Rachel Corry (co-founder of Pansy) and I were on a road trip from San Francisco to Santa Barbara and got to talking. We both realized that there weren't any undies out there that we loved. We were both sandal makers but had never ventured into the world of clothing design or production. We knew that there was a need for underwear that you could feel entirely good about buying and wearing.
What, if any, are your design inspirations in terms of other designers?
69 Worldwide is an amazing design project in LA that makes what I like to think of as Star Trek pleasure planet clothes. I love designers that are intimately involved in their production like Voices of Industry. Adele lets you glimpse into the often obscured process of making a garment. I love the color palate of Maryam Nassir Zadeh and the rawness of Milena Silvano.
How does Oakland/the bay influence your design aesthetic?
I adore the little Bay Area bubble that I live in. It seems to be a place where people care about their effect on the world and really try to do good. I went to UC Berkeley and that utopic, rebellious spirit of mine and all my hippie organic farming friends seems to seep into the water. In terms of design, I would say that it makes me want to use the best materials and make things in a way that does the least harm to the world. It's a constant negotiation when the entirety of the fashion industry is geared toward being ubiquitous and disposable. I also want our garments to fit in the least self-conscious way. I love it when women tell me that they forget they are wearing underwear/a bra when they are wearing pansies.
What other creative outlets do you have? Describe a typical day at work and also a day off.
I design my own eponymous line of clothing, bags, and sandals. This year, I'm collaborating with my friend Brittany Cole Bush on a line of sustainable sheep and goat hides for the home. It's called Shepherdhess and we're working with California farms, slaughterhouses, and tanneries. A typical work day is waking up to hot cocoa, answering emails at home, heading to my studio at Øgaard, coming home, making dinner and watching as much TV on my computer as I can. My only days off lately are when I go out of town. I've been visiting LA a lot this year and vacillating between staring at the ocean and at Instagram.
What's next for your line?
I am excited to keep the line small while bringing it to more women. Can't wait to introduce new, more sustainable fibers like organic hemp to Pansy. Hemp is such an amazing fiber and takes very little water and nutrients to grow. Rebecca Burgess, who started the Fibershed movement in California, is working on a big hemp growing and milling project in Colorado since the 60-year ban on agricultural hemp production was recently overturned.