Meet the Colombian Entrepreneur Changing the Underwear Game

Sizing for clothes often silos women into three categories – small, medium, and large,  but Rachel Cabeza knows everybody is different

Photo: Unsplash/@wearhuha

Photo: Unsplash/@wearhuha

Sizing for clothes often silos women into three categories – small, medium, and large,  but Rachel Cabeza knows everybody is different. This is why she launched underwear company Lunica, giving women the power to choose their size. Their mission statement explains that the name derives from the Spanish “La Unica” meaning “the only one” because they want to celebrate the uniqueness of all body types.

“The options are limited in size and that was the main motivation for us to begin in the apparel category of women’s underwear. Women are shaped differently, and as a Latinx woman, I didn’t feel represented size-wise.”

Cabeza, who is chief marketing officer and co-founder, is a 22-year-old Colombian New Yorker who founded the company in January 2018 with her husband Taylor Conlin. Their customizable underwear is created using a patented design that makes them seamless. From the point of order, it takes two and a half minutes to create one pair of underwear made by a robot, according to Cabeza.

In true millennial fashion, there’s an eco-friendly angle to the company since they don’t use sewing machines or outsource,  everything is made to order in NYC.

“We founded Lunica with the intention to  reimagine the fashion supply chain, and create a more efficient way of making clothing without sewing machines.”

Currently, they only offer black hipsters with plans to provide an array of colors, fabrics, and underwear types such as seamless thongs and panties. Customers can name their underwear giving it an extra personal touch.

“Clothing is an emotional experience, it’s an expression of your personality as well as a functional object, and we felt that giving our customers the option to personalize this product allows them to celebrate their individuality in a unique way.”

In the 2017 Business of Fashion 500 list only 4.3 percent were Latinos. By 2019, Latinx will account for 10.6 percent of total U.S. buying power, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth. Lunica is aiming to change the underwear game and represent people of color and their diverse bodies in the process. The company got its start almost two years ago when the duo won $10,000 at a startup pitch competition in Columbia University where Conlin was attending. Two years prior to that she met Conlin, whose background is in robotics, computer science, and brand building.

Cabeza, along with Conlin and a mechanical engineer are currently the only employees though she says they plan to hire more engineers and fellow Latinas. There’s also plans to expand their product line by including the most obvious complement to underwear —  bras.

“We are currently working with a provider that has body scanning data on over 600,000 people, so consumers will have a simple questionnaire to answer on our website that shows different types of computer-generated body shapes and silhouettes that will generate based on your height and weight, and then produce your exact body shape. We are working on building out our tech now, and this bra will be a seamless custom bra that conforms to each woman’s each breast shape and size.”

As the daughter of an immigrant and a Latina entrepreneur, she is grateful to be in a position that allows her to pursue her passion.

“I feel extremely humbled to be able to do something I love every day, and reap from the opportunities that were allotted to me by the sacrifices of my mother when she came to this country.”

As of January 2019 the sizes for the hipster range from 20 inches to 55 and cost $18.

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