As you may know by now, in my quest to find the perfect fitting bra, I was thrilled to find Polish made brands like Ewa Michalak and Comexim. I love them both equally, for different reasons. It’s like my kids. I could never choose one over the other. Well, apparently my bras imitate life, and I have a 3rd Polish bra child to cherish and adore.
Anna Pardal is a luxury line of Polish lingerie that has teamed up with Comexim to bring high quality bras and panties to women of all sizes. They use only the finest Spanish and Italian fabrics and lace to produce some of the most beautiful undergarments I’ve ever seen. The marriage of the Comexim fit to Anna Pardal’s beautiful fabrics and designs are an absolutely perfect union!
I recently interviewed Anna Wroblewska at Anna Pardal to get more insight on this wonderful collaboration. I learned so much about her (we share a love of Sophia Loren!) and her business. Put on your sexiest bra and read on!
- What influenced you to get into the lingerie business?
It all started hunched over a friend’s laptop in her apartment. She walked past me and said, “Anna, your bra is way too big.” I was totally confused, and that was when she opened the door for me into the magical world of bra-fitting. It was an instant passion. Discovering the perfectly-fitting bra was like a magic cape for me, something that made me feel like the most fearsome, sexy, and self-assured version of myself, someone who knows who she is, how valuable she is, and what she wants. I thought, “There is no way that so many women out there don’t have this.”
- How did the brand, Anna Pardal, come to be?
I came to a moment professionally when I knew I wanted to build something of value, and as I started sifting through the things I loved and what my mission and goals in life were, lingerie presented itself as the obvious answer. As the concept took shape, it became apparent that what I had on my hands was a global boutique with far-reaching positive consequences for both myself and others, a place to where one can find gorgeous lingerie and discover the beauty, sophistication, and sense of luxury that comes from perfect fit (and staggeringly beautiful Southern European fabrics!).
- How long have you been designing bras?
I started in 2012! It’s just a few years, but I feel like it’s been a lifetime. It’s impossible to express how much you learn when you just dive into your dream and learn how to swim.
- Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I am a huge quote collector (you’ve probably noticed this on the website and newsletter!) so I am very often inspired by the wonderful things that other people have said — especially people who have made it their business to craft beauty from the world. For this collection, I kept coming back to this particular photo of Sophia Loren. She is the picture of elegance, sophistication, and good humor.
I also take a great deal of inspiration from the people around me and the people who I work with, namely my family, customers, and colleagues. Individual customers email me with wonderful wish lists and colors they love, and retail partners like Erica Windle of A Sophisticated Pair provide a sharp eye and the kind of good humor and partnership that makes you excited to get to work every day.
- What makes you stand out from other lingerie designers?
We listen. There are no preconceived notions at Anna Pardal, and I seek out as much feedback as I possibly can from our customers, working constantly to adjust our designs, our fit, and our styles to meet those needs.
We’re also unique in terms of style and fit. Our patterns are very unique compared to everything else on the market, in terms of the luxuriousness of our Italian and Spanish fabrics, the sophisticated and yet approachable styling of our collections, and the immense sense of comfort that I want people to feel when wearing our designs. This is all about tireless efforts to improve fit for every customer. I think too much of lingerie is focusing on “fixing” or patently ignoring the immense and wonderful variety of human forms — it is my mission as a person and as a designer to bring an unshakable appreciation of oneself to every Anna Pardal customer.
- How often does your company come out with new designs? Between our first and second collection we waited TWO YEARS! This was actually intentional. It’s very important to me to grow a sustainable and wonderful business that represents the ideals I care most about, and to get to the point where we could release the second collection — in a way that felt right — took some time. But from here on out we want to do two per year minimum 🙂
- Are you the sole designer in your company, or do you have other designers in your company that help with creating new styles as well?
I work closely with Anna Matczak of Comexim, who manufactures our bras. She is an absolute wonder woman when it comes to fit, styling, and tailoring, and she has an amazing eye for beauty and detail — all of which make her an inspiring and wonderful colleague! I also lean heavily on my partner in love, life, and business, Ronald Oliver. He’s a menswear designer and the force behind the brand Oliver West, and we influence each other’s work quite a bit.
- How many people work for Anna Pardal?
Aside from our suppliers, agents, etc., we are officially two Annas, not including Anna Matczak of Comexim! (Anna is a very common name in Poland 🙂 ) The “other” Anna is the person who makes it possible for me to focus on nurturing the business. There is also a huge sphere of unofficial partners and collaborators — from fabric manufacturers to agents, customers, and advisors, there are many minds involved in the making of a beautiful product.
- Where do you find the materials and fabrics that you use to make your bras and lingerie?
All of our fabrics are Spanish and Italian. Being in Poland is wonderful on this front, as it’s so close (I was based in South Africa before)! We are actually going to a big textiles trade show in Milan next month — I can’t wait to see what we come back with.
- What is your favorite thing about your job?
I absolutely love it, LOVE IT, when women say to me that they’ve never felt more comfortable, more beautiful, and more sophisticated in a bra. I always think back to one of my very first customers, a wonderful young woman who I fitted in person. She felt so self-conscious about her full-busted figure and was struggling with back pain, and when she put on the perfect sized Anna Pardal Milk & Honey she actually started crying with happiness and relief. I get chills just thinking about it! It was so incredible to see her stand a little straighter , walk a little taller, and really take ownership of herself as a woman. I always tell people: “If something doesn’t fit, it’s not your fault. It’s the garment’s fault.” And yet it’s so easy to think that it’s us, not them. We must never believe that we need to tailor ourselves to fit our clothing in order to be beautiful. No. Our clothing must be tailored to us so that we can truly relish in and express our individual beauty and light.
- What is your favorite thing about the lingerie industry?
I have a very romantic notion of lingerie. It’s not just underwear and it’s not just about being sexy or providing a structural foundation for your outfit. It’s a metaphor for so many ideals that I think are wonderful and important — self-care, confidence and self-assurance, mastery and knowing thyself. The idea of relishing in yourself and seeing yourself as the work of art that you are.
- What is the most common question that your customers ask regarding bra fitting? The most common questions I see typically revolve around the cup. Determining whether a cup fits or not can be a complicated task, as you have not only the shape of the wire to take into account but the shape and size of the cup and how it relates to the size of the band. A bra is a subtle piece of engineering! It’s important to remember that you should essentially breathe a sigh of relief when you’re wearing the perfect fit. No tugging in the band, no weird pressure points, no difficulty breathing and nothing smushed or gapping. The band should be smooth and straight, the breast tissue fully encased but not trapped. And it’s always a good sign when you see yourself in the mirror and say, “Wow!” 🙂
- What is the most common problem that you see when you are trying to fit someone for a bra?
It’s a bra-fitting proverb at this point that most people wear too-large bands and too-small cups, and it is indeed common. This is not the customer’s fault of course — historically speaking, options have been very limited! But the bigger problem is the effect that those limited options have had on us as people: we tend to walk into lingerie purchases with this horrible sense that there is something wrong with us, that finding something beautiful and perfect and comfortable is an impossible task. Not true! It is so important to me that women experience the opposite feelings when buying Anna Pardal — empowerment, delight, and true self-appreciation. Like I say again and again: If it doesn’t fit, it’s not your fault. It’s the garment’s fault. And we’ve built our business on the belief that garments can and should be tailored to the customer.
- Where can our readers purchase your products?
We sell our collections online through our website, www.annapardal.com, and through third-party retailers. You can see a full listing on our site!
- How do you find the majority of your customers?Most of our customers come to us by way of lingerie blogs, our retailers, and bra-fitting forums. We have been fortunate to develop wonderful relationships in the industry that make it possible for us to always meet new people and get more and more perfectly-fitting bras into the world.
- What is the best way for potential new customers to find or contact you with any questions they may have regarding your products?
I can be reached directly via email on firstname.lastname@example.org. I get a lot of emails so it can take a few days reply, but it’s very important to me to help each individual customer find that perfect bra.
- What is your favorite thing about the bras that you design?
I love that they are beautiful and unique without being overwhelming. When I think of our designs I think of a subtle, sophisticated aesthetic. I design to highlight and underscore the beauty of the wearer, and I think the restraint and subtlety of our styles provide the perfect supporting act to each individual customer’s light.
- What is your personal favorite design that you have created?
Oh that’s a tough one. For styling, I am totally mad for Hibiscus and every time I see Florence I go into a tizzy. But what I’m most proud of is our cup styling. It took a lot of hard work to get an understanding of fit throughout our formidable size range (work that continues every day!) and developing that knowledge into the Nuance, Sophisticate, and Doyenne cup styles was a labor of love and devotion. I am so proud and excited to be offering them.
- How many bras do you have in your personal collection? (Are they all your own line?)Oh dear, that’s a hard one to answer. I usually wear a pretty edited number of bras day to day, but I keep many on-hand. I had a baby last year which completely sent my sizing into a whirlwind, so I learned to keep the “perfect fits — for now” in the drawer and the backups nearby. Our bodies are living and breathing, and we must accommodate their shifting tides! Everything, however, is Anna Pardal.
- Do you have any hot, up and coming tips or advice for our readers regarding the Polish Bra/Lingerie industry?
It might be because I live under a mountain made of bras, but the most exciting thing for me right now is our new cup styles. By incorporating common size and fit requirements at different points in the size range, I’m hopeful that we can make perfectly-fitted bras more accessible and easier to buy. Can you imagine? A few clicks, and the perfect fit being made to order just for you! This is my dream.
Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know about you and your company that we have not already covered? [please feel free to add any additional information that you would like to be included in your feature]
As I mentioned, for me lingerie is a metaphor for all of the ways in which we can truly relish in and care for ourselves. One thing I’m doing on that front is our new weekly newsletter, where I’m sharing interviews, stories, and experiments in how we can build beauty, nourishing rituals, and a timeless sense of glamour and presence into each and every day. I’d love it if you would join us! You can sign up here — and get 10% off your first order!
As Anna said, what makes them different is that they listen to what their customer wants and needs. In answer, they recently launched a new collection of fits and fabrics that have all of us at AEE so excited! Some of the changes include: G+ cups see a narrower-set strap and reduced cups; 26-32 bands feature a lower gore; and 38+ bands a higher gore. Check out all the new styles here and order some immediately. You won’t regret it, but you will be hooked!