When it comes to mainstream lingerie, it’s either frilly and expensive or a starter pack from Walmart. Those are essentially the only two options, with little wiggle room in between. At least they’re the options for the average delicates shopper. Couture labels charge ridiculous amounts of money for uncomfortable, miniature garments. And although they may be beautiful, most have a tragically short life span before being thrown onto the bedroom floor. It’s a calamity for the integrity of designers and the wallets of consumers, so most folks settle on a less-rewarding middle ground. Often, that’s the mid-range prices of commercial giants such as Victoria’s Secret and La Vie en Rose, where quality and variety is hard to come by.

Rebecca Zubel, the designer behind Trash Lingerie, is combating that by rewriting lingerie’s rulebook. Her goal with the label is to make comfortable designs for the everyday woman to feel sexy in, even under jeans and a t-shirt. Zubel had her first “big show” at 2015’s Vancouver Fashion Week and was rewarded by encouraging feedback. Not only did the name – which originated from the New York Dolls song, “Trash” – stick, but the collection itself left an impression. It was chock full of blues, purples, and blacks, which she chose for their ability to “compliment a lot of skin tones”. The music and video featured sex symbol Dita Von Teese and Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself”, which got everyone excited. “I told my girls to walk down the runway, flirt with the camera, and do something provocative,” says Zubel. She’s not one to shy away from an exposed navel, either, but corsets did make multiple appearances on the runway. This could be attributed to Rebecca’s long-term love for vintage style (think forties pin-ups), or her personal inclination to create and wear corsets.

“When I was about sixteen, I got into making them,” she recalls. “I just like how I feel in them – like I stand up taller – and it gives me that nice shape. I feel more empowered in a corset.”


Empowerment is an enormous part of what Trash Lingerie is all about too; not just for Rebecca, but for her buyers. The idea of “doing something for you more than anyone else” is the driving force behind her designs, and it’s imperative to her that women can feel confident by wearing them.

“I think that a lot of girls have a hard time with their bodies and self image, and it’s really important to do something for yourself. Hopefully that’ll impact you for the better, whether it’s wearing something nice or seeing something that makes you feel good. That’s always been hard for me to do, and I think it is for a lot of other people, too.”

Trash Lingerie is Zubel’s way of making it easier to feel confident and beautiful. However, she doesn’t want her buyers to sacrifice comfort to experience self-love. “I’ve had bras before that are just horrendous to wear,” she groans. “They’re just scratchy or don’t fit right. Having something that’s comfortable is a sign of a good quality garment, and having a good quality garment is very important to me.”

She ensures that her designs are comfortable and original by doing everything with her own two hands. Uniquely, Zubel creates her new pieces by dismantling old ones. She’ll go to Value Village, buy a handful of underwear, and wash them before taking them apart. She tries to use “everything from the wires to the bra casings and straps,” and admits that she has “a whole box full of straps from different bras” at home. Most of the works from her VFW collection were created that way, with the addition of Fabricana fabrics. The bounty of straps partially explains why there were so many in the collection; Zubel wanted “adjustable straps on everything”, but she also loves the “bondage look to it”.


“I think I always push social boundaries, even with the way I dress, but with my designs, too. They’re not something you’d see on the street or in a high-end store,” smiles Rebecca. I like to make things that are revealing with peek-a-boos, sheer fabric, cutouts, strappy stuff. It’s something that’s not a social norm yet and not a lot of people wear it. My personal style is not traditional either. I definitely stick out in Abbottsford,” she laughs. “I have a red leather jacket with studs all over it and these big thigh-high boots. They’re just things that aren’t usually accepted around here.”

Trash Lingerie’s next collection will continue to push the limits. Zubel is planning on releasing a line of men’s lingerie, paired with a “sort of matching” women’s line. “I really want to do it but I don’t want to make it cheesy, because a lot of what you can find online is joke underwear. It’s just men wearing women’s underwear, but there’s not a lot out there that’s seriously men’s lingerie. Men need something sexy too,” she says. Rebecca’s in the process of doing her research and picking out her patterns for the upcoming designs.

Fans can also look forward to the possibility of Trash Lingerie’s collaboration with performance artists and the addition of leather and bright colours (peach and chartreuse are two that Zubel has her eye on). Plans aren’t solidified yet, but she’s busy working and has high hopes for the future.

Trash Lingerie SS 2016 VFW Runway Show