Girl Crush // Christina of Fortnight Lingerie

Delicate craftsmanship, locally sourced, and traditional design are buzz words synonymous with the current trend of locally produced goods. With a world full of mass production and careless abundance, these trends are essential and the artisans behind them a needed troupe to change the landscape and bring beautiful and thoughtful design roots back into our communities. Fortnight Lingerie is a shining example of such; expertly crafted, passionately designed and lovingly created by designer and revolutionist (in our opinion!) Christina.

Her love of beautiful lingerie started from the likes of Courtney Love and Carrie Bradshaw, strong and intelligent women that championed their uniqueness, and “Their uninhibited, irreverent way of wearing innerwear as outerwear embraced the feminine spirit in a powerful, confident way.” That spirit can be seen from concept inception to final production, with a focus on how women feel in the pieces she creates. She creates for women and that love of creation is a victory for us all, strengthens our community and allows us all to fall in love with the lingerie we wear. Find out more about the beauty of this company from the beauty herself in this week’s Girl Crush

What’s your story? Tell us about the journey that led you to the creation of Fortnight Lingerie.

I think my love for lingerie is directly linked to growing up in the 80’s/90’s when women like Madonna, Courtney Love and even fictional characters like Carrie Bradshaw were making assertive fashion statements with lingerie. Their uninhibited, irreverent way of wearing innerwear as outerwear embraced the feminine spirit in a powerful, confident way. It’s a magic combination that I’ve always been inspired by. In fashion school, I geared all the projects I could towards lingerie. Afterwards, I worked as a bra fitter at Secrets from Your Sister on Bloor Street, which taught me everything about the importance of fit, construction and how these two elements together can change the way women felt about themselves and their bodies. It also made me realize there was a huge void in the market for lingerie that was diverse in sizing, modern, unfussy and unpadded. The idea of working with something that fused emotion, beauty and craftsmanship really excited me. Shortly after I started creating styles and a concept, I very serendipitously met Alison Chown, our product developer through a mutual friend. She was looking for work after travelling through South America and we connected over our passion for un-padded, wireless bras.  We started working together part time in my parent’s basement, creating patterns and developing our manufacturing process and we are still working together today. 

The details and elegance of your designs show a passion for the craftsmanship and history of lingerie. Can you describe that love affair and ‘joie de vivre’? What inspires the designs of each collection?

We have so much love for that old world attention to craftsmanship and detail. It’s sad to see that level of quality become increasingly lost with mass production. It makes us all the more passionate about keeping integrity in our construction. Not only for nostalgia, but because it really makes a difference in how each garment feels on the body.  It allows us to create a product that we’re proud of… that’s functional, without compromising style and substance. 

From the inception of a new collection to the final release, can you walk us through your creative process a little, and give us a peek at what that timeline looks like?

Creating a new collection is an evolution that starts out creatively, but quickly becomes very technical. We start with fabric testing because our fabrics really need to preform.  They need to be soft and delicate, but at the same time strong enough to support all day wear. There’s also an intense pattern developing process because with garments so body contouring, a millimetre can go a long way. 

We make our patterns in house and do all our grading by hand. With 14-35 bra sizes, creating a new style can be a long process. Luckily, having our own in house production gives us a longer lead-time between concept and finalized collection.

A fortnight is two weeks, what is the significance of the name when it comes to your line?

It’s more about the semantics of the word Fortnight than the actual meaning itself. I wanted a word that was strong, powerful, elegant and not too girly. It seemed appropriate to use an old English word as well, since we follow the British bra sizing system (which includes DD).  Even-though French and Italian lingerie may be best known for their luxurious laces, British brands offer the most inclusive and extensive size offering.

If you could go anywhere in the world for two weeks, where would you go and what would you do?

I’ve always wanted to go to Africa to experience its wild, raw beauty. 

There is definitely a love of our amazing city of Toronto embedded in your brand, with the design process, operations and all of the construction taking place in Parkdale. What does it mean to you to keep things local? What are some of your local loves?

Keeping things local feels natural and sustainable.  I think it also creates a sense of integrity that gets lost in mass produced products.  Especially when it comes to a layer as personal as lingerie.

As far as local loves go - Parkdale is a really special community and we love being based here.  There’s such a unique mix of cultures, independent businesses and artists. Kensington market is another one of my favourite neighbourhoods. It’s colourful, dynamic and unlike anywhere else in the city. My ideal Sunday would include a sunny walk through Kensington, Jumbo Empanadas for lunch, followed by finding a special treasure at Courage my Love.

When you first started renting the studio for Fortnight you lived there with your boyfriend for a time. How was that experience? What was the most exciting part of the beginning stages of your brand? What about the scariest?

I’m so lucky to have such a supportive man, because living and working in the same space was challenging to say the least. But, it has become part of our story and allowed me to grow the company in a way I never would have been able to otherwise.

It’s really scary to put so much of yourself into a product, in hopes that others will love it too.  It’s even scarier to be responsible for a team, but the victories are so rewarding.

I think creativity is a lovely dance between courage, vulnerability and a spark that comes from the ethers. What are some things that keep you in this lovely dance? What is a piece of advice that keeps you going?

Creating something that makes a difference in women’s lives continues to drive me…  so does the love of family and friends, hard work and Wayne Gretzky’s Quote – You miss 100% of the shots you never take.

We believe that there is room for all creatives in this abundant beautiful world, and that it’s a matter of carving out our own niche. How would you describe who the Fortnight girl is, and how do you think the brand stands out in the industry?

She has a unique and thoughtful sense of beauty. She cares about the story behind the things she buys and the world around her. She follows her desires and personal sense of style, not trends.  We strive to make something that is more than just an article of clothing, but also something timeless – an enduring companion that supports, flatters, and makes you feel like your true self.

What’s next on the horizon for the Fortnight brand and what are you most excited about right now?

Continuing to expand our size range, launching a small swimwear line and collaborating with artists that inspire us.

Any dream collaborations? (Think big!)

I’d love to work with designers Margaret Howell and Raf Simons….

There is a definite air of mystery and magic that comes to mind when we think of lingerie. What does magic mean to you?

Nature, the moon, the stars, the energy that keeps us moving, creating, loving and changing.

Ana is an actress and writer and host of the blog series Girl Crush. She loves hanging with her friends, finding the best vintage pieces and travelling to every small town. You can follow her musings over on her blog and instagram.

PHOTOS // Scarlet O'Neill for Studio Bicyclette