For most women it’s a basic essential: a bra that fits. For women in need, it’s considered a luxury. Supportive Start launched in 2014 after recognizing the necessity for undergarment donations for women.
Forever Yours Lingerie founder Sonya Perkins launched Supportive Start in a bid to help local women in the Lower Mainland by providing access to properly-fit undergarments at no cost.
Through her company, Perkins identified the lack of bra-recycling programs and access to quality, clean, underwear for women in need. She also realized that for women with a limited income who rely on local agencies or donations, the need for women’s undergarments is often overlooked.
Supportive Start aims to fill an important gap and provide a service that all women should experience.
“We take for granted putting on a bra every morning and a clean pair of panties,” says Perkins. “For many women, sadly this luxury just isn’t an option.”
With the help of various partner organizations, Perkins delivers bra ‘fit clinics’ in transition houses and shelters across Vancouver that provide fitting services as well as bra donations.
“We want to offer women the same experience as they would have in store,” says Perkins. “We provide a personal fitting and we make sure that every woman leaves with two or three bras and new panties. When people live on the brink their money goes to rent or hydro, not fitted underwear. This isn’t a decision that women should have to make.”
Tanya Beaucage, B.C. based sales representative for lingerie brand Chantelle, is just one of the many supporters of this charitable initiative. Beaucage volunteers her time as a fitting specialist and feels passionate about the cause.
“The bra is the one garment that we wear closest to our body,” says Beaucage. “When you get fit properly and you find something you’re comfortable with, it can boost your confidence and self esteem and make you feel so much better about yourself. We want to help women in need who don’t have this opportunity.”
Perkins hopes that Supportive Start’s upcoming lingerie fashion show, A Night at the Carnival, will raise funds and promote this charitable initiative.
On May 29, volunteer models will come together to showcase a lingerie fashion show in order to raise awareness for the cause. Alongside the show will be a live band, circus act, burlesque and dessert buffet.
“The fashion show is a really fun, creative outlet, and partial proceeds from the ticket sales will go to Supportive Start,” says Perkins.
“We use the money to buy panties from our suppliers and purchase feminine hygiene products which are often not provided at shelters. Last year’s fashion show brought a lot of awareness to the cause, so we’re hoping to make an even bigger impact this year.”
Tickets are $45 and can be purchased at the Forever Yours Lingerie store (between 204th and 206th Street in Langley) or online at foreveryourslingerie.ca.
A Night at the Carnival
When: Friday, May 29
Time: 6:45 p.m.
Where: Cascades Casino – 20393 Fraser Highway, Langley
Tickets: $45 – buy online