Nudea, the brainchild of sustainability trailblazer and fashion enthusiast Priya Downes, is a brand that offers a thoughtful curation of underwear and sleepwear crafted from natural and recycled materials. As a brand born from a desire to provide the utmost comfort and support, Nudea ensures that the layers closest to your skin are not only the most comfortable and flexible but also purposefully designed for the perfect fit.
Having worked with luxury fashion houses such as Burberry and Chanel, Priya Downes found that the world of everyday lingerie was lacking options that were both reliable and environmentally friendly. This realization, coupled with her passion for environmental and ethical responsibility, sparked the motivation to create Nudea, a brand that puts sustainability and ethical business practices at its core.
The brand’s dedication to sustainability is deeply rooted in Priya’s personal journey. Growing up in Kenya, she witnessed poverty firsthand, fueling her determination to make a positive impact on the world. As a key change-maker in the world of fashion recognized by The Washington Post at the age of 25, her commitment to a more conscious approach to fashion has been unwavering.
Nudea isn’t just about creating eco-conscious lingerie and sleepwear; it’s about empowering a community of like-minded women to make positive changes, however small, for a more sustainable and balanced future. Embracing the belief that change starts with self-care, the brand seeks to inspire and support women in their journey toward a more environmentally responsible lifestyle.
We spoke with Priya, who shared why sustainability is so important to Nudea, the process of designing bras, and how her past experiences shaped the label. Join us for an inspiring conversation with the founder who is redefining the world of underwear through her innovative, eco-conscious brand.
Hey Priya, what was the defining moment that sparked your desire to reimagine the modern woman’s online shopping experience for bras and briefs, ultimately leading to the creation of Nudea?
Having worked for several luxury fashion houses including Burberry and Chanel, I put a lot of time and thought into styling my wardrobe but found that I rarely put thought into the layers closest to my skin.
This was, in part, because whenever I shopped for underwear I was often left feeling uninformed and unsupported. After asking several friends about where to turn for reliable everyday pieces, I found that there weren’t many options at all and even less which were also kind to the planet.
This sparked my motivation to create my own line of bras and briefs designed with purpose and the perfect fit in mind, to create a brand with sustainable and ethical business practices at its core, only working with factories and suppliers who share this ethos and responsible outlook. To provide a solution to everyday underwear that is comfortable, easy to wear, and supportive.
Can you share the inspiration behind the brand’s name, Nudea, and how it encapsulates your vision for supportive and functional underwear?
The name Nudea is created from the Greek Nu + Dea meaning new goddess. And that’s exactly what the brand stands for; empowering women to feel their best every day.
Your experience working with luxury fashion houses such as Burberry and Chanel must have been invaluable. How have these experiences shaped your approach to creating and marketing a product line of your own?
After working in the luxury fashion industry for over a decade, I developed a keen eye for a well-made product that is beautiful, long-lasting, and designed to be worn with pride. I always felt that my underwear was an afterthought to my outwear. I wanted to change that, and empower women like myself to feel their best every day.
I also saw firsthand the impact that fast fashion cycles and seasonal trends contributed to waste in landfills and also impact on the environment and people who made the clothes. I wanted to create a much more responsible brand which could lead to a change in a category which has been slower off the mark.
That being said, can you give us a glimpse into the design and development process behind Nudea’s intimates, ensuring they offer the perfect fit while maintaining a commitment to sustainability?
Whilst we are trying to build better products designed for everyday comfort and fit, Nudea’s bras and briefs are anything but basic. Most bras have over 20 components and personally coming new into the world of lingerie, albeit from a fashion background, I have had an incredible hurdle to climb in learning about the world of bras and knickers.
Looking back, my naivety actually helped me take risks that I probably would have been more reluctant to do if I had known fully what I was getting myself into. Everything from design to manufacturing and even marketing is ten times harder in this product category vs other clothing categories. I’m glad I did it, there was a definite gap in the market and Nudea’s traction has proven this.
In fact, being an industry outsider actually helps sometimes solve problems differently – in my case it allowed me to question things such as the bra fitting process and why it had to be so complicated. Nudea’s Fit Tape was born out of my own personal journey to understand why self-measuring was so hard to do. Three prototypes down the line, we had created a tape that got rid of conversions and the need for a physical bra fitting with a 98% accuracy in self-sizing. This in itself encourages sustainable purchasing, we would much prefer people buy one good bra that actually fits than have a drawerful of uncomfortable garments that remain unworn.
There’s obviously a huge number of things to consider when choosing the perfect bra, especially online. What are the three main factors you consider when designing or even sourcing fabrics for the label?
We do believe that buying once and buying well is a really important message, there’s simply no point in having an underwear drawer filled with ill-fitting bras which are never worn, get the size right the first time.
We design our product with longevity in mind so consumers can wear our bras time and again with features including 4 x hook and eyes instead of the regular 3, using recycled fabrics with high elastane quality so they last longer, support the wearer for longer and the fabric can be reused.
We also use biodegradable fibers, such as the organic cotton in our recent Nudea Sleep collection, which decompose over time. We are always thinking about the product end-of-life when we design it.
We’ve been B Corp certified since 2022, and our commitment to sustainability includes the easy-to-use fitting tools to deliver on fit for conscious, responsible shopping, premium fabrics crafted from recycled yarns, a thoughtfully designed selection of styles made in partnership with responsible suppliers who pay fair living wages, produced in a GOTS and SLCP fully-certified factories and all delivered in recycled and recyclable packaging. We’ve also launched a bra recycling program, Bra-Cycle, as well as sustainable deliveries in UK cities via Urb-it.
As an entrepreneur, wife, and mother of three, how do you strike a balance between your professional aspirations and the joys of spending time with your family in nature?
My love for the planet goes beyond my interest in driving change within the fashion industry. I’m an avid beekeeper and as a vegan, I’m building a passion for cooking with my kids and exploring foods that are seasonal and locally produced.