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Freya: Eveden's Achilles' Heel

Freya Look Book Spring/Summer 2013 
The youthful side of the full bust market is becoming overcrowded and if that is a threat to any brand it's Freya, the longstanding champion in this arena. The brand hasn't been sinking as much as it's been coasting on previous successes, like the Deco and Patsy, which wouldn't be obvious if they were churning out original, interesting designs alongside their staples. But compared to their fresh faced opponents, Freya's non-Deco, non-Patsy side fades into a middling group of just okay lines. While other brands have increased or maintained a wide size range -- making it standard practice to include G+ cups and 28" bands -- Freya is reluctant to do either. I'm sure their current approach might be a success, I'm not convinced it's sustainable in the long run.

Freya Look Book Spring/Summer 2010
For a very long time, Freya was the brand women turned to for bright colors, eccentric prints, and playfully sexy styles. In a moment of extreme brilliance, they unleashed the Deco and every full bust brand has scrambled to copy it. With that trump card in their pocket and season after season of free spirited designs, Freya has been unstoppable...until now.

The market for "young at heart"lingerie has welcomed many new players in the last few years and they're fresher, bolder and sometimes, less expensive than what Freya's offering.

Shall we take a look at the competition?

Cleo Look Book Fall/Winter 2012
Cleo is the most obvious rival and while Panache has been unsteady on it's feet lately, Cleo has become increasingly courageous. They're pouring money into their moulded Neve plunge and Maddie balconette with confidence, their Spring/Summer 2014 swimwear is absolutely fearless and the bestselling Marcie will have a  babydoll. In their current and upcoming seasons, the lines have swayed more dramatically towards the youthful, energetic direction (neon animal prints, ditsy polka dots, and colors you'd find in the juice isle) and they show no signs of slowing down.

Curvy Kate Look Book Spring/Summer 2014
When I first began blogging, Curvy Kate was a brand you could only find on Bra Stop and two years later, they're everywhere. Boutiques and major e-commerce retailers seem equally enthused to carry their products and the "Star In A Bra" model search was an incredible marketing idea which gave them a friendly, down to earth reputation and won them loyal fans. Soon, they'll introduce their own babydoll, padded longline (a shape Freya popularized!) and across the board, their designs suggest a carefree happiness.

Tutti Rouge Look Book Spring/Summer 2013
Tutti Rouge debuted this year and I feel very confident in their future. Like Curvy Kate, they have a friendly online presence, they reacted quickly and publicly to fit issues, and are eager to offer their customers an inclusive size range. Like Cleo, they're committed to providing their customers with an affordable product (which pleases women of any age!). There's always been a sweet, frilly or girly vein in the youth market but brilliantly, the brand took that whisper and blew it up into a jubilant and celebratory shout.
Sweet Bon Bon by Bravissimo 
Bravissimo has made a serviceable product for awhile but it hasn't been until recently that they've fully explored what their in-house lingerie could do. The Alana is a cult favorite, they've experimented with a strapless bra up to a J cup, and their seasonal fashion group has grown considerably. Currently, the website offered 22 options for 28" bands and they still sell cool exclusive collaborations with Curvy Kate and Cleo.

These four brands are simply the ones most widely available, many commercial brands on the outskirts (Gorgeous from Debenhams, Just Peachy and Midnight Grace from Figleaves, Boux Avenue) put out products in the same neighborhood and while the fit might not be stellar, they're inexpensive and/or more accessible. To say nothing of brightly lit and funky Claudette, Parfait and Miss Mandalay!

During my London meeting with Eveden, I presented this argument and while I obviously believe it's credible, it also reflects many of the comments on the Curve NY: Freya Spring/Summer 2014 post:

"I have to say, I'm not generally impressed by Freya anymore. As I've said incessantly, I used to love, love, love the brand. But now it all looks same-y and dated."    -- K.Line

"Same here. I'm not into any of these. I have one style from Freya (the Jolie) which they have discontinued...Sigh. It would be nice to be tempted by more from Freya, but the brand is just not doing it for me."       -- Allison 

"I'm sad to say I'm pretty disappointed. I'm disappointed in the size range, but also the designs. There is some pretty stuff here, but not one single design that screams to me that I must have it."      -- By Baby's Rules 

"I think Freya has almost sort of passed its prime as a G+ brand. I still think their swimwear line is the most progressive G+ brand that exists, but their bras just don't deliver."             -- Bras I Hate 

"Sucks about the 28" bands. I guess we can only hope that the other brands jumping on the much awaited 28" bandwagon will have a lot of success and that Freya will take notice and rectify this mistake they made."     -- All the Pretty Dramas 


Coming up later this week:  I think there's an easy solution to Freya's current or future challenges...

10 Comments

  1. Being properly fitted at a young age meant that i was opened to the world of correctly fitting bras and said goodbye to the poor-fitting ones. While that was good for my breasts it wasnt so good on my confidence. I was limited to one kind of store and the bras they gave me to try on were 90% Freya. None of them padded or molded. So i was forever confined into those pointy bra shapes and i always blamed my breasts for that shape. Only few of the bras i was given stood out for me. I have always found a lot their designs were boring, repetitive, not fresh and innovative and i hated the shape they gave me. Also i hated how i got very little cleavage and they covered a lot of my breasts limiting my clothing options. I thought i would be stuck with those bras forever.

    Fast forward to the past 2 years during whom i discovered the online world of bras, body positivity, correct fitting and lots of great bloggers. I finally realised there are more brands than freya and so, oh so many more types of bras! I was astounded! Padded, molded, plunge etc. I finally had choices. I tried brands like masquerade, curvy kate, panache sports bras and i am very happy and will keep trying fresh designs and different constructions of bras. One of my next purchases will be a bra from tutti rouge, perhaps ewa michalak as they have amazing designs.
    I am grateful for all those other brands that take the leap and offer different kinds of bras to bigger busted girls. Please continue to provide us with fresh ideas and innovation. PLease dont get stuck in a route and produce the same designs over and over. Please take in mind your buyers feedback. Thanks to all the companies that offer us what we need.

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  2. Freya was my go-to brand for years because of the fit and unique options, but in the last few seasons, I have felt increasingly like they rest on their laurels and previous successes. Of course, the Deco is amazing, and they should continue offering multiple colors and prints. However, not everyone can wear the Deco (or wants to), and I feel like they are neglecting other areas. While they use some of the quirkiest prints in the fuller-bust market, I sometimes feel like the overall direction of the line could be improved. Why not branch out to a few other silhouettes, or address the fit issues for women in H+ sizes? To some extent, sister brand Fantasie is falling in this trap as well, and the only one of the major Eveden brands I've seen which continues to grow and improve is Elomi. Freya's market grows more crowded by the season, and if they want to stay competitive, it's time to mix things up!

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  3. I agree with Erica-- it may be time for a new shape from Freya, especially one that addresses and corrects some of the H+ fit issues. They were one of my favorite brands for a long, long time, but I haven't bought anything from them I loved in quite a while. In spite of all the prints! and dots! and longlines! and Deco! lately, there's still nothing that has managed to fit and thrill me simultaneously.

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  4. I completely agree with Erica too. Esp. when it comes to Fantasie falling into the same trap as Freya. Mind you, Elomi continues to improve. I want that cute bra with the cupcake cutouts. But it's not available to me in Huit (too small) or in Elomi (too large). I feel so marginal with Eveden! Great post BTW.

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  5. I'm kind of waiting for a less jaunty-quirky-youthful-cheer large-bust brand. Where's our Nichole de Carle? Where's our I.D. Sarrieri?

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  6. Freya, the dull uninspiring line.
    Hundreds of bras in just three type of cuts. Wouldn't be a problem if they gave the best shape ever and accomodated every type and size of the bust, but they don't.
    Sure, the Deco still has no true rival, in the UK or oudside. And yes, their padded halfcups work like a charm ond evergrowing shallowboobed-wideroot population.

    But their molded/padded options don't pass the H barrier, only the unpadded do.
    And in unpadded area, in my ever so humble opinion, Cleo has no rival. Yet, at least. Cleo cut gives handsdown best shape in H+ sizes and I don't even think it's just a matter of taste.
    Their weak point is the two hook rule and no basics, no luxury, which I think would sell quite well with that shape.

    Freyas balconettes just aren't working in the H+. Wires seem to be too weak and I've heard and experienced numerous complain't of women not being able to get the gore flat because of the too weak wires.
    And they give you that cookeyed pointy east west shape.
    Not enough to settle.
    Oh and there's another thing - customers never know how a Freya will look like in H+. The change of construction is nerve wrecking. I was so dishearted when my Pier in Iris came an it wasn't a "deep plunge" as marketed. It wasn't even a plunge, I know fullcups that covered less.

    Personally I have the Gem. I love my Gem cause it's a very comfortable bra - I love those 2 cm padded straps only freya would give you and the wide back fat minimizing band. I don't love the shape but I do wear it when comfort is a priority or when I need to downplay my boobs.
    If I could have freya comfort and desings (that hello dolly was the cutest bra ever) paired with the Cleo shape, I'd be in heaven.

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  7. I couldn't agree more. Even five years ago Freya was one of my few options, but now I have dozens. Also the quality has dropped off a cliff: they used to last years even with regular machine washing, now they start to fall apart after one or two. Freya used to do some great plunge styles, but not any more. Also the G to GG leap is huge.

    I can't comment on the Deco as that style is a big failure on me.

    But ... the Deco strikes me as designed to appeal to the American market. American women seem to prefer padded bras to make sure nipples never show. European women over 35 don't worry so much if nipples show through once in a while.

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  8. Freya's wires are just too soft for me and so the gore never tacks. I haven't considered Freya an option for years because of that. Every once in a while they come up with a print that makes me sad about that (Ivy), but otherwise I feel that my options are exploding to the point that I don't miss Freya much. Swimsuits is the one area where I most frequently regret that I can't wear the brand, because they have so much more on offer.

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  9. I find the cups in Freya are a bit deep for me and end up shaping me like a torpedo- except for the Deco and the padded half-cups (which I'm mostly sized out of). So there aren't really any shapes that fit that come in my size- it feels like they make approximately two shapes in the GG+ range.
    The designs...the only one I've liked over the past few years was the Fan-Tastic.

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  10. Even when I could wear an H cup in Freya I had a lot of fit issues (too tall of cups, not enough depth). Only Freya Active has been a good fit for me and they have a lot of fit issues in their expansion up to K cups, unfortunately. I do love so many of their prints but they seem to be extremely stuck in their ways when it comes to styles and sizes. I've just given up on them completely.

    I really hope Fantasie doesn't go that direction! I love their fit so much, if they would just make their center gores narrower they really would be my go to brand for sheer cup bras. That being said, the fabric styles seem to be pretty same old, same old year after year.

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