Ever since the invention of the bra, which was a revolution in itself, designers and industry have tried to design the perfect fit for all sizes. Something that many agree has not been accomplished yet, and perhaps never will, because everyone has different needs. Every now and again a new brand emerges from the need of women to feel better supported beneath their clothes. Introducing Soft Revolt, the latest brand to start a bra revolution.

Over a year ago I met the founder of Soft Revolt, Elles Roeleveld, at a Circular Textiles seminar in Amsterdam. We took part in the same workshop, about finding innovating partners. I was looking for partners for my Living Colour bacterial textile dyeing project and Elles was looking for a designer to help her shape her brand. We quickly discovered we had a lot in common, we had both worked at ING bank (yes, that's right, I used to work in mortgage administration while studying Fashion), her father worked in industrial dyeing and I worked as a Lingerie Designer right after graduating. We exchanged contacts and got together for a brainstorm to see if we could help each other.


I had worked with a couple of startup brands before, and I'm always a bit hesitant to work with starters, because most of the time they have no idea how hard and costly (in terms of time and money) it is to start a fashion brand or invest in custom surface design. But Elles seemed determined, she had years of corporate experience, so she knew her business and had always had a passion for lingerie. Her goal: to design the first bralette that supports a fuller bust. This was something I could get behind, because I knew there was a market for it. So we decided to collaborate. 

Soft Revolt knitted bralette
The CLEO47, the first knitted bralette by Soft Revolt


Designing a supporting bralette seemed like a super innovative process to me. So I wondered how innovative the brand would become, because innovation is quite a journey. I also talked about sustainability, because starting a new brand without considering sustainability doesn't make sense. At that time, innovation and sustainability were not high on the agenda. The main goal was to develop a product that was functional yet beautiful. So we started to see how we could improve the existing way that bralettes were designed and made. Together with a group of experts we analysed the current market and products. Concept development is one of my favourite parts of the design process and with a new brand everything is wide open and possible. I helped form the brand's voice and style and together we designed the first collection on paper. The collection looked promising and alluring. But right before the prototyping stage, we still felt that something was missing. What was missing was true innovation. Rethinking the way bras are made altogether.

Soft Revolt co-founders Anet van Haaster (left) and Elles Roeleveld (right)

What was missing was true innovation.
Rethinking the way bras are made altogether.


I had talked to Elles about the innovation in knitted shoe uppers with built-in knitted support and right at that time Elles went to see Li Edelkoort's trend forecasting event. At that event she had the chance to briefly talk to Li and Li said "I don't understand why knitted bras still don't exist". Right then and there something clicked in Elles' head. She was going to design the first knitted bralette!


Knitted bras aren't completely new. Decades ago underwear was often knitted and knitted sports bras for athletes have been around since the 70's. But knitted lingerie, that's new! And at the same time the biggest challenge, how to develop a knitted bra that doesn't look like a sports bra or those seamless bras you see on TV shopping channels? My expertise ended there, and Elles found the perfect new collaboration partner in Knitwear Lab along with a new team of freelance designers and marketing experts. I recommended she'd apply for the Climate-KIC accelerator, which she did and successfully completed, leaving 120 other startups behind. And now the soft launch is finally here! They start with the launch of one bralette, the CLEO47, which looks completely different than the initial designs, but is still based on its foundations. My favourite detail? The beautiful back!


Soft to the skin - Soft to nature - Soft to us

After developing 47 (!) prototypes, Soft Revolt is now ready to start production. After months of research into knitting machines, yarns and stitches, Soft Revolt has succeeded in developing a 3D knitting technique in which the bralette is produced in one piece. A much more sustainable way of producing and virtually no residual waste. The result is the CLEO47; a non-wired and seamless bralette that provides support for fuller cup sizes. You can pre-order the bralette here



In the future, Soft Revolt aims to develop into a fully-fledged lingerie brand with more designs intended for different purposes. They also want to give women soft support during exercise or, for example, in the period after childbirth. And ultimately a bra also comes with matching bottoms. To make Soft Revolt truly future-proof, it is also their ambition to make the products circular. Because they use a knitting technique, the yarns can be perfectly reused for new products. This is how they move from sustainable to zero waste.

I'm proud to have contributed to the early stage development of this brand and am amazed by the pioneering journey Soft Revolt has taken to get to this level. I expect amazing things in the future!


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