Lingerie is known for being intricate, silky, delicate and above all, seductive. Designer Anh Phan of Wolfsbane Intimates believes lingerie has the power to bring your vulnerabilities to the surface but also give you the empowerment to appreciate and love your body. The local visionary, who has reached clients as far as France and as close as Denver, offered us a glimpse into her innovative lingerie line.
303: How did Wolfsbane get started? Is there a story behind the brand name?
Anh Phan: I’ve wanted to be a designer for a really long time but I entered corporate America thinking that’s what I should be doing. I was looking at Excel spreadsheets all day and losing my mind. As a creative outlet, I started Wolfsbane Intimates because I was a lingerie collector at the time and I couldn’t really find what I wanted. My friends and boyfriend really encouraged me to start something and now it’s become bigger than what I thought it could be. It became an idea in January but I didn’t put anything out officially until June. It’s been a crazy couple of months. The reason for the name Wolfsbane is how lingerie makes you feel and how it makes the other person feel. It takes your breath away and stops your heart. Wolfsbane is a poisonous plant with the ability to do the same thing.
303: Why do you think lingerie is important?
AP: I think lingerie is important because it brings out something in you that you didn’t think was possible. I think every woman has a sensual side they’re afraid to explore, even if it’s for themselves. The point is to feel good about yourself. I really like the idea of a casual hangout in lingerie at your house; that’s my dream. It’s important to express yourself in all ways.
303: What is the hardest part about starting a small business like this?
AP: The negative comments. I do everything through Instagram and, as you know, social media is already really harsh. There are also a lot of giant lingerie companies and now that a lot of small ones are coming out, people think you’re a copycat. The hardest part is ignoring the negative things people have to say and remembering to go with what you think is right even if others are pushing against you.
“Wolfsbane is how lingerie makes you feel and how it makes the other person feel. It takes your breath away and stops your heart. Wolfsbane is a poisonous plant with the ability to do the same thing.”
303: Tell me about the Wolfsbane customer.
AP: The Wolfsbane customer can be anyone. Anyone who isn’t afraid to try something new. Anyone who isn’t afraid of stepping out of what they normally stick to. Someone who is ready to take the next step in facing their wild side. Everything I make is pretty much adjustable to any size. No body is the same, so why not make it adjustable to fit everyone?
303: Do you have any style icons or influences for inspiration?
AP: It might sound surprising but I look to musical influences. Blondie is my idol because I really love old-school metal and rock. I’m also really inspired by bridal wear; the bridal laces and the appliques are directly from bridal wear. I love the classic look of things and then taking them to the next level.
“Everything is handmade; everything is made-to-order. Once I get an order in everything is cut by me, sewn by me, every thread,every notion is made by me. There’s lots of love that goes into it.”
303: Tell me about Nightshade, your latest collection.
AP: Nightshade is about being a woman who is happy and free but also seductive. Every piece is named after a poisonous plant, such as the Azalea, the Locust, etc. They’re all different species of plants but they have the poison factor in common. So I imagine a garden of poisonous plants that represent different types of women standing together that are basically taking over. Nightshade is also about empowering women and loving yourself. Everyone struggles at some point with their image and something as intimate as lingerie can bring out the most intimate side of you, including your insecurities. It’s your poison but it’s also your cure.
303: Where do you dream of your business going?
AP: When I first started I just wanted to do something to let my creativity out. I didn’t know if I wanted to start a business; I just wanted something that wouldn’t make me go crazy at my office desk. Now, I would love to do this forever and continue to be creative and make things. I’m a hands-on person. Everything is handmade; everything is made to order. Once I get an order in everything is cut by me, sewn by me, every thread, every notion is made by me. There’s lots of love that goes into it. I want to make sure it’s something special for each person, so that’s why quantity is limited as well. I’m very happy and lucky with the good response I’ve received from everybody. I’ve met so many new people so quickly and Denver is very welcoming to new designers. I want Wolfsbane to surprise me and see how far I can go.
If you’ve unlocked a desire to walk on the wild side, Wolfsbane Intimates is right at your fingertips. And remember dressing up (or down) for yourself is as always a worthwhile occasion.
All photography by Nicole Marcelli