Crossing the panty line

Jagress Intimates strips Minneapolis fashion down to its undies.

by Sally Hedberg


ItâÄôs safe to assume that most people can rattle off the name of a fashion designer/house thatâÄôs known for its ready to wear or couture. ThatâÄôs because when it comes to appreciating fashion, thatâÄôs the kind of design thatâÄôs most acknowledged. Notions of âÄúfashion designâÄù immediately link to thoughts of eveningwear, dresses and wearable âÄúlooks.âÄù

But underneath it all lies another, less acknowledged realm of clothing design entirely: underwear. Dominating this craft locally is couturier Sarah White, whose up-and-coming company, Jagress Intimates, provides a glance into the delicate world of lingerie.

âÄúItâÄôs a less tread path as far as design goes,âÄù White said. âÄúBut itâÄôs really beautiful work. ThereâÄôs no reason why what goes underneath canâÄôt be as important as whatâÄôs underneath.âÄù

Where White most differs from a trip to the local VictoriaâÄôs Secret is in her interactive process of design. Though she does design lines whose styles are replicated for public sale, the bulk of her work centers around individual consignments âÄî something thatâÄôs of great importance to the designer.

âÄúI want women to feel sexy and confident in the lingerie designed by me,âÄù White said. âÄúSo I always prefer the opportunity to meet with them in person, to get measurements and to discuss design options. Intimates are just that: intimate. So it makes sense for the customer to be somewhat involved.âÄù

As far as the actual sewing of bras and panties goes, itâÄôs all about detail. Silks and lace âÄî some of the primary fabrics used in their crafting âÄî are notoriously difficult to work with. Combined with the subtle and finicky shapes of the garments themselves, itâÄôs a trade that requires patience and skill.

âÄúI love intricate work, and I love working with high-quality fabrics,âÄù White said. âÄúCombined with my desire to help women, this is essentially why I started designing intimates in the first place. ItâÄôs very technical, but itâÄôs capable of meeting the needs of all kinds of different women.âÄù

Showing a line of âÄô60s-inspired separates in last SpringâÄôs âÄúRetroRama,âÄù White does make an effort to stay active within the local fashion community. Though, itâÄôs not always as accessible for a designer with such a specific focus. While ready-to-wear trends change seasonally, intimates are more timeless.

When it comes down to it, sometimes an underwear line doesnâÄôt necessarily mesh with the cohesive feel of a runway show. But White doesnâÄôt feel left in her designer peersâÄô shadows. SheâÄôs kept busy with consignment work and some of her own ready-to-wear material as well. She remains perfectly content trimming silks, measuring lace and âÄî like the made-up superhero her companyâÄôs name references âÄî combating the widespread ill of poor fitting bras.

âÄúItâÄôs amazing,âÄù White said. âÄúMost women âÄî I think that IâÄôve read statistics as high as 85 percent âÄî are off by at least two bra sizes. The wrong size bra can throw off everything and totally change the way your outfit sits on you. ItâÄôs a simple matter of correct measurement.âÄù

WhiteâÄôs immediate plans for the future are somewhat vague. As a trailblazer in her realm of work, she hopes to focus on continuing to build her line and company, pushing local fashion to new, exposed heights.