We Meet the Founder of Luxury Lingerie Brand Aberdevine
Aberdevine is a new luxury lingerie brand launched from North Yorkshire, with a focus on ethical production and sustainability
Having grown up in Poland, at the age of 13 Marta Bujwicka-Colman took part in an exchange programme and stayed in Yorkshire for a few weeks. ‘I remember flying around in a glider at Sutton Bank and thinking what a nice place this would be to live, but never saw it actually happening,’ Marta tells us. Years later, she went to university in London, which is where she met her future husband, Jack, who just happened to be a Yorkshireman raised on a smallholding in Bransdale, in the middle of the North Yorkshire Moors. ‘After beginning our careers in the city, and a number of years abroad, we returned to North Yorkshire in 2021 to raise our family. We currently live in Helmsley with our three sons and Hungarian vizsla, and it’s where I decided to launch my business.’
Aberdevine is a luxury lingerie brand with a focus on ethical production and sustainability, and it’s been a labour of love for Marta. ‘While our website went live at the beginning of summer, Aberdevine is something I have been working on for the past six years; the idea coming just after I had my first son,’ she explains. ‘Two things suddenly became apparent to me. The first was a realisation that my body shape was changing. The second was an understanding that life was about to get even more busy!
‘My days were filled with 100 very varied activities: from walks with the baby to work meetings, to the occasional date night with my husband, and I realised I couldn’t find underwear that was beautiful, comfortable (even for a changing body) and versatile enough to go with all the outfit changes I went through in a day. I felt the sudden urge to go back to sketching designs, which I’d abandoned in my teenage years, and tried to see whether I could create something both beautiful and practical, that would be kind to the world I was bringing my children into.’
Marta’s sketching helped her realise that she didn’t want to make beautiful but ultimately impractical or uncomfortable underwear. Instead her designs were for active, energetic women, who are interested in more than just looking the part. ‘There are central themes that we try to keep in mind in everything we do at Aberdevine,’ explains Marta. ‘The first is that we want to create lingerie that liberates. By that I mean we want to set women free from worries about their outfit choice, about the sliding strap, the correct fit, or the impact their fashion choices might have on the planet. When women put on Aberdevine pieces, we don’t want them to feel like they’ve been reduced or restricted in any way; we want them to feel empowered to do, and be, anything they choose.
‘The second theme is our belief that what matters is underneath. Obviously, that’s an acknowledgement of the fact that underwear is the most uniquely personal item in a woman’s wardrobe – the thing, quite literally, closest to our hearts. But it’s also a reminder that, in many ways, the final product itself is only one part of what we do. How we get there, the things the customer may not see, is just as important.’
One of Aberdevine’s core values is responsibility, and Marta says she chose that word carefully, because for her it goes beyond sustainability. ‘A bra can have as many as 30 components, and we’ve spent years researching and sourcing those that are the kindest,’ she explains. ‘It isn’t always as obvious as you might think. We consider not only how much energy is required to produce the material, but also things like water use, shipping distances, reusability and degradability. Not to mention durability, because half the problem with the fashion industry is the proliferation of clothing that doesn’t stand the test of time.
‘We use top-quality recycled materials wherever possible, and natural dyes, even though it limits the range of colours we can offer, and we don’t cover our underwires in plastic. Needless to say, our packaging, tags and cards are all made of recycled paper and are very minimalistic. You can even send back your bras once they have finished their service and we’ll use components such as the underwires again.’
Although it might sound odd for a brand founder to say – Marta doesn’t actually want you to buy hundreds of pieces of Aberdevine lingerie. ‘We don’t reel off new designs every week,’ she tells us. ‘We want to move away from mindless consumption, and focus on a small number of timeless designs of exceptional quality. The idea is that our customers own a few trusted pieces that form the centre of their wardrobe and can be treasured year after year. A key way we do that is by making our bras size-adjustable, recognising that no woman is the same size month after month, or even week after week, and our bras also convert between straps and strapless.’
Marta’s plans for the future of Aberdevine are as sensible as they are determined. ‘As we gain awareness of the damage caused by overconsumption in the fashion industry, our wardrobes are shrinking again to contain fewer items, either of a higher quality or to which we have a special connection,’ she says. ‘I love renting clothes, and I believe it will play an increasingly important role in the future of fashion, but I also believe that underwear, due to its nature, is likely to sit outside that. It could well become one of the few items women buy to keep. I think that elevates its importance. It should fit properly, it should be dependable, and it should feel a bit special.
‘I’ve been truly blown away by what Yorkshire has to offer in terms of lifestyle. There is a certain type of woman living here, who, yes, loves the scenery and the outdoors, but also still wants to enjoy those things once thought to be only accessible in the city: whether that be spas, dining, events, or even just shopping. In consequence, I sincerely believe there is potential for discerning fashion brands to make their name in Yorkshire, to hopefully encapsulate some of that spirit, and I hope Aberdevine can tick all those boxes.’
All Aberdevine pieces are available exclusively on their website aberdevine.co and you can follow their journey on social media @aberdevinelingerie, where they’ll be posting locations for upcoming pop-up events.