Model wears COBRA
Interview by Izzie Rodger 


At 24, native Mancunian Freya Evans has launched her first business venture with the help of a small team of friends and family whilst working full-time, and managing her life as a parent. 

A self-taught seamstress, she began to undertake the mammoth task of setting up her lingerie brand whilst studying, having recently graduated from the University of Manchester with a first class degree. 

Freya describes how she has felt disillusioned with the mainstream lingerie market and what it has to offer for many years. She feels that questions of inclusivity and fast-fashion have to be met by brands with meaningful answers, rather than tokenistic gestures or campaigns. Her solution? To create an affordable, high-quality underwear brand that is genuinely size inclusive, using a bespoke method that incorporates adjustable fittings into the designs — even on the pants.

Freya spoke to me earlier this month about her new brand, Chilli Haus, where made-to-measure lingerie unites comfort with no-nonsense practicality and a dose of sex appeal. Having just launched their debut collection of six designs, Chilli is certain to take your wardrobe (and Instagram feed) by storm with its ethos of inclusivity and unapologetic attitude toward women's empowerment and sexuality.

"Everyone deserves to have underwear that fits, whatever they’re earning."

Izzie: Can you tell me a little about the brand, and if there is one, anything about the concept and how it was developed?

Freya: I actually remembered the other day that I wanted to start a lingerie business when I was like, 10. It was one of my dreams and I’d forgotten about that! I just used to love underwear, probably quite inappropriate underwear for someone of my age. I got made fun of because I was probably 12 or 13, shopping in La Senza. As I got older, I struggled to find underwear that worked for me as I’m a bigger girl with comparatively small boobs.

It felt impossible to find something that made sense for my body. I ended up having like, two bras from Primark that didn’t fit very well but they were fine, and I ended up wearing them on and off everyday and that was it. It wasn’t exactly exciting, and it definitely wasn’t comfortable. By making my brand made-to-measure, I feel the market is being widened, and seems to be on its way to truly understanding that everyone is so different, and that this one-size system to fit all doesn’t actually work in every case.

Model wears EDEN
I: I’d definitely agree that the standard band-to-cup system we use relies on a ratio that doesn’t always work for the shape and contours of every body.

F: I think that it’s not even about the fact that it doesn’t always work. From hearing other people’s experience, it seems that most of the time it doesn’t work. I don’t know many people who feel totally comfortable in the size that they’ve got, everyone seems to have different issues with the sizing, whether they’re slightly in-between, or their boobs are slightly different sizes, for example.

"Bringing women and girls together whilst empowering them through good-fitting, sexy underwear is exactly what I want the brand to be about."

I: For sure. When I think about the relationship I personally had with bras, it wasn’t healthy. I had boobs at 11 — they weren’t big, but I still had to wear bras. Particularly because boys would take the piss if our nipples were poking out or anything like that, we all wore bras that had this moulded, perfectly circular shape, often with wire and unnecessary padding, which just doesn’t create a silhouette of what boobs actually look like.

F: Yeah, and it’s also just not comfortable to wear these ridiculous bras with wire and padding if your boobs aren’t that big. When I talked to both my mum and grandma, it was very hard for them to envision or even think about a bra that didn’t have underwire — they can’t relate to the concept of a ‘bra’ without it. Whereas when you actually speak to younger people who’re a bit more open to change they seem to be saying, this is uncomfortable, it doesn’t feel good, and I’d rather wear something soft and comfortable without its practicality being compromised.

I: For those who haven’t come across Chilli’s products before, how would you characterise the underwear and lingerie that the brand offers?

F: I think everyone feels good, everyone feels sexy, and everyone feels comfortable in a completely different way, and that’s why we want Chilli to offer a range of designs in the long-term. However, we wanted to keep the launch really simple so that we could offer the best quality, rather than attempting to do loads of different things at the same time and the product ending up below standard.

We’ve started with the classic Chilli triangle bralette shape and the tanga thong, which comes as either a matching set at £35, or the individual items for less. I’ve found that they’re a flattering shape for most body types, and the pants are adjustable, which was really important for me when designing them! I’ve had someone who is a size four fit into the same size pair that someone who is an eight fitted into. The style with the adjustable band gives you more scope - you can base the fit of the product on your normal clothing size, but adjust the waist and how high they sit on you according to the actual ratio of your bum to waist. When I see items that are sized, ‘small, medium and large’ I just tend to think it’s really lazy and that the brand hasn’t really bothered to make them fit, whereas with Chilli, it’s the opposite. We’re trying to give people as many options for fit as possible!

"I can’t wait to see my underwear on all different body types, and share that with people on Instagram to make them feel like, “I am ok. Actually, my body is ok.” I certainly didn’t have that growing up."

Model wears NOCTURNAL
I: So, there are six designs that appear in the first collection. Does it have a name or a concept? I noticed that there was a lot of natural imagery incorporated within the patterns and designs of the materials.

F: There wasn’t consciously a concept in the back of my mind when I was designing the first collection! I think I just searched for fabrics that resonated with me, because I thought they would appeal to people like us. And actually, when looking at it, there is a lot of natural imagery — an abundance of animal prints, skins and plants with a definite shimmery or textured twist. I should probably think of a name!

I: I know that you’re going through the process of launching the brand’s website at the moment, and one of the main ways you are trying to generate interest is via Instagram. A lot of the content you’re posting is kind of mood board-ish, a bit pinterest-y, and the main theme definitely appears to be confidence.

F: On our various socials, I didn’t want it to just be like 'sell sell sell', here’s a picture of this thing you can buy, and another, etcetera. I want it to be an experience, I want it to be a place people can come to and enjoy the vibe of the brand. Bringing women and girls together whilst empowering them through good-fitting, sexy underwear is exactly what I want the brand to be about.

I: I think that we’re living in a funny moment, where the images we consume of others, particularly influencers, are still markedly different to the actual people that we see on the street or interact with in everyday life. I’m aware there is a movement to get plus, POC and disabled bodies out there when selling a look, but I still feel this can verge on tokenism. What do you think?

F: I believe social media is ultimately a great place for inclusivity because it belongs to the people. So, it’s unlike other types of media where the content is exclusively controlled by powerful brands or corporate powerhouses who tend to put out bleached and perfect imagery.

Social media can be used as a way of fighting back and including whatever and whoever the hell you want to include. And for me, this goes back to why I created Chilli; personally, I couldn’t find bras who fit someone who looks like me. So, I can’t wait to see my underwear on all different body types, and share that with people on Instagram to make them feel like, “I am ok. Actually, my body is ok.” I certainly didn’t have that growing up. It’s been a struggle for me personally, and I would love to be part of this positive movement, I feel it’s really important for the brand.

Model wears PREDATOR

I: Who, if anyone in particular, is the brand aimed at? Who is Chilli’s market?

F: Again, I started the brand because of a personal issue I had, so people like me and you, people like us. Women! Even though it’s made-to-measure, and I know most high-profile companies charge hundreds for even for just a single item, I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to price people like myself entirely out of the brand; everyone deserves to have underwear that fits, whatever they’re earning.

I: I want to briefly talk about the face behind the brand, who you are and what you do on a day-to-day basis. How do you manage all this alongside the launch of your first business?

F: Well, like I said before, launching an underwear brand has always been something in the back of my mind. But otherwise, I just graduated from university and I’m a mum, which takes up a lot of my time as well. I also work full-time, so Chilli really is a passion project for me. It’s something I work on in the evenings, on my days offs, it’s something that I do because I really believe in the idea that everyone should have underwear that fits and makes them feel great.

I: How do you see the brand developing in the future? I know it’s a hard question seeing as you’ve only just launched!

F: Obviously bralettes aren’t very supportive for people with bigger breasts and I’m aware of that. It’s really important thing for me that we have products that can be available for people with bigger boobs. The next thing we’re looking to do is design a product that is supportive for these girls — I’ve talked at great length with numerous friends about the difficulties and limitations of the bralette. So that’s where we’re going! Ultimately towards making a product that works for all boob shapes and sizes. To be truly inclusive and offer more options!

  • Enter Chilli’s ‘Spice Girl of the Month’ competition on Instagram for a chance to win some bespoke, made-to-measure lingerie:  @chillihaus
  • If you are an influencer and would like to work with Chilli Haus, please get in contact via the website:
  • Get 10% off with code ‘AURELIA10’