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Lingerie brand PrimaDonna uses new technologies to help create more inclusive collections

By Aéris Fontaine


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Credits: Crédit photo : PrimaDonna

From its beginnings, PrimaDonna, the flagship underwear brand of Belgian group Van de Velde, has positioned itself on the aspect of inclusiveness even though the term is far from being democratized in the fashion and lingerie industry. More than 150 years after its founding, the company continues to bring together loyal customers and attract new consumers. To FashionUnited, Carole Lambert, head of creation and development at Van de Velde, explains how the brand is introducing artificial intelligence and digital tools to meet the needs of its customers.

Combining know-how and new technologies

“We work, I like to say, between craftsmanship and futurism,” shares Carole Lambert. For several years, PrimaDonna has invested massively in innovation, without abandoning its traditional know-how, crucial to the brand. It is then a question of combining these two features equally: “know-how, an eye and human technicality on the one hand with digital tools, in particular for analyzing information on the other."

The brand recently introduced mannequins designed using artificial intelligence (AI). On this subject, Carole Lambert declares that it is a beautiful application, showing the way in which new technologies can serve a sensitive, emotional message. The mannequins were designed to create a feeling of identification and connection among women, who can thus visualize how the underwear would look on a body close to their own. However, Lambert is keen to point out that human activity is enhanced by artificial intelligence, and not replaced. “We invest a lot of time and human resources in understanding women’s bodies in order to better represent them. These models are the result of all the customer data that we have previously collected in order to better represent them."

Building consumer loyalty: an optimized offer and customer experience

PrimaDonna maintains a special relationship with its community, even before the first modern means of communication was introduced. “It is certain that social networks increase the possibility of communication,” declares Carole Lambert, before adding: “We have always received a lot of love through letters, then Facebook comments and now on Instagram where women explain to us their encounter with the brand and how it changed the relationship they have with their body."

The reason for PrimaDonna, explains Carole Lambert, is to offer the same style to women with sizes larger than those with so-called standard sizes, without compromising on support and comfort. The brand then focuses on the quality and effectiveness of the products it markets. “We realized that from certain sizes onwards, the frames and straps lacked strength. We therefore invested in research to overcome this problem,” underlines Lambert.

“When the body positivism movement and the term 'inclusive' appeared and became popular, we said to ourselves: “this is what we have been doing all along”. However, it is true that we took our time a little to dare to assert and position ourselves as such." Today, more and more underwear brands offer a wide range of sizes. Despite the emergence of new competing companies, offering items at low prices, Carole Lambert remains confident. PrimaDonna has a high loyalty rate, estimated at 83 percent. “As soon as the customer comes into contact with the brand, she adheres to its offer, to its universe."

The loyalty that customers maintain towards the brand also comes from the customer experience, declares Carole Lambert. In store, salespeople are carefully trained to advise and reassure the most hesitant customers, in a warm atmosphere. She admits, however, that retail distribution is currently experiencing bad days, with consumers now turning more easily to online purchases for reasons of location or comfort. In fact, PrimaDonna must respond to new challenges, in order to satisfy increasingly connected customers.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.FR, translated and edited to English.