For countless decades, women’s shirting has occupied a curious paradox: a ubiquitous necessity yet startlingly underserved in terms of quality, fit, and variety. An intricate dance between functionality and fashion, shirts are garment staples, casually draping the bodies of countless women across the globe. The tapestry of women’s shirting, woven with threads of practicality, has oftentimes been embroidered with designs reflective not of what women desire, but rather what the market presumes they do.
In the throes of this perplexing disparity arose Pip Durell, whose trajectory from a stylist at British Vogue to a crusader for women’s sartorial needs underscored a narrative that fashion, for women, should neither be a compromise nor an extravagant expenditure. Embarking on a journey to stitch the gap in the women’s shirting market, Durell unveiled “With Nothing Underneath,” a brand symbolizing a revolutionary approach towards women’s shirts.
Durell was no stranger to the sporadic relationship between women and their shirts. An erstwhile stealer of shirts from her boyfriends, she embraced them as an eclectic piece that could be paired with jeans, skirts, or casually thrown over bikinis. However, the underlying deficiency in the market, which largely oscillated between luxury and subpar quality, nudged Durell towards a path less treaded, one where she sought to establish a brand that mirrored the quality men had access to, albeit at a more accessible price point.
Her brand was not merely a business venture but a beacon for a movement illuminating the need for an overhaul in how the fashion industry perceived and curated women’s shirts. For Durell, the brand was an homage to the everyday woman who sought quality and affordability, punctuated with the essence of timeless style and impeccable fit. Six years into the journey, “With Nothing Underneath” has not only sustained but thrived, projected to witness a growth of 125% this year.
Women’s shirting has notoriously lingered in the shadows of menswear, often perceived and created as an afterthought rather than a focal point of fashion. However, the tides of change have gradually begun to cascade upon the shores of the industry. Iconic luxury brands like Prada, Bottega Veneta, and Versace have dovetailed women’s shirts into their collections, marrying masculinity with femininity through designs that merge structured, buttoned-up finishes with softer, more traditionally feminine elements.
The renaissance in women’s shirting has seen a discernible shift towards structured, tailored designs that radiate a timeless appeal. Luxury houses like Alexander McQueen, Loewe, and Valentino have harnessed the raw, untapped appeal of women’s shirts, sculpting creations that bear a striking resemblance to the quality and structure inherent in men’s shirting for decades. These crisp, well-tailored designs accentuate the robust, high-quality, thick cotton styles that were once a distant realm for women.
For Pip Durell and her brand, the vision was lucid: to morph the mid-range market into a domain where women could access well-made shirts without being burdened by exorbitant prices. Her efforts towards democratizing women’s shirting did not merely rest upon quality materials but permeated into the nuances of the shirt’s construction. The material, finish, and even oft-overlooked details like buttons (crafted from natural materials such as nuts and shells at WNU) were pivotal to bringing forth a product that truly resonated with women.
This paradigm shift has percolated through various strata of the fashion industry. Savile Row and iconic brands like Huntsman have awakened to the burgeoning demand for women’s shirts, reflecting an inclusive approach towards a product that has historically been crafted with a male-centric lens. Simultaneously, high-street brands such as Uniqlo and Arket have proliferated their offerings in women’s shirting, hinting towards a future where women need not sift through floral and print-laden options but instead, have the luxury to choose from an array of shirts that exude simplicity and sophistication.
It’s evident that Durell and her brand, “With Nothing Underneath,” have not merely witnessed but actively participated in redefining the narrative of women’s shirting in the fashion industry. This undulating journey, brimming with challenges and triumphs, underscores the quintessential truth that fashion, when hinged upon the actual needs and desires of its wearers, can morph from being a mere business to a movement that redefines norms and stitches new narratives into the fabric of the industry.