Being a woman comes with its challenges; gender inequality across various sectors, periods, pregnancy, and even breasts.
According to reports, it is estimated almost 80 per cent of women around the world wear ill-fitting bras, and well, you can’t entirely blame them. How does one stay on top of their size when they fluctuate due to a host of hormonal changes? Meanwhile for those on the smaller and larger ends of the spectrum, finding a brand that caters can be a struggle, let alone the discomfort brought on by metal under wires and elastic straps that dig into shoulders.
Co-founder and CEO of Toronto-based fashion-tech startup House of Anesi, Stephania Stefanakou is all too familiar with the reality, having witnessed her mother and sister go through bra after bra in search of the perfect fit.
So using her knowledge – Stephania holds a Bachelor of Design and has a background in Digital Fabrication – she teamed up with Jacob John and Leen Al-Taher to create the concept behind the Anesi bra – a revolutionary engineering-informed design that is disrupting the lingerie industry.
The trio met in 2015 at the Reengineering Fashion competition at Ryerson University’s Sandbox where they proposed their idea. They ended up winning the competition, and was so well received that they decided to introduce it to the market.
But what’s the big deal about the Anesi bra? It goes above and beyond anything you have in mind.
Featuring cooling gel straps, which adapt like water and mould to the shoulders’ natural contours, weight is distributed evenly across the back, reducing red marks, and cooling the skin, while the fabric has been developed to wick away sweat, and minimise odour.
Then in place of metal underwire, they have incorporated a 3D nylon lightweight support system that flexes with the wearer’s movement, providing the necessary support no matter the bra size.
But what is particularly impressive about the design is the unique fabric, which accommodates hormone-induced breast fluctuations up to two cup sizes larger, with the ability to snap right back to its original size.
To help realise the unique creation, House of Anesi took their idea to the people with a KickStarter campaign, and the response was nothing short of overwhelming.
With the target set at US$50,000, the campaign drew to a successful close on Tuesday, raising US$69,000 in just 35 days.
Asked how she feels to have surpassed her target, Stephania was over the moon.
“It feels amazing of course! I’m really humbled by all the support of so many people from around the world. It’s really motivating and encourages me to continue working hard,” she told Neos Kosmos.
“It means that we can officially start production! It enables our company to go from an idea to a reality. From here we can grow to continue making women’s lives better.”
There’s no denying Stephania’s passion for what she does; from day one her vision has been about inclusivity, comfort, and adaptability.
Acknowledging that a 34DD is the average North American bra size, while the majority of companies only cater up to a DD cup, she wanted 100 per cent of women to be catered to. The Anesi bra endeavours to fill that gap in the market, and has been made available in over 90 sizes from a 30B through to an 42I-cup, and following demand for additional sizes, their fundraising initiative has been extended to help make it a reality.
“For women around the world, it means that now they have an option for a bra that can adapt with them, and make their lives much, much easier,” explains Stephania.
But what makes her mission to empower women around the world particularly special, is the homage she is paying to her roots, ‘Anesi’ meaning comfort in Greek.
“It means the world to me!” Stephania says.
“I’m really proud of my Greek heritage and being able to use the word ‘Anesi’ everyday is very inspirational and motivating.”
Pre-orders are open for the next couple of weeks. Find out more at houseofanesi.com