Maria Igwebuike is the founder of luxury handmade lingerie brand Maria Callisto, a sustainable handmade lingerie and loungewear brand based in Suffolk. Here she explains why it’s important that her lingerie not only looks good, but is ethically sourced, too
I love the community in Suffolk. There are a lot of incredible talents coming from Suffolk, everyone is super friendly and supportive. I also love exploring all the little villages around Suffolk. We have beautiful landmarks and a rich history; I am always learning interesting new facts about Suffolk.
I studied Art and Design in Suffolk New College. The course was very engaging, we were encouraged to find our individual paths in the creative industry, mine paths lead to creating a fashion collection inspired by vegetables. I then moved on to studying lingerie pattern making at London College of Fashion.
The idea to start my lingerie brand was my older sister. She bought some lace knickers online and because I sewed, she advised me to start making panties to sell on eBay. I decided I wanted to started a brand not only to sell panties but one that embodies all my values which is to empower women like myself and remind them that they deserve the finer things in life because they are loved, they are beautiful and they are worthy to feel good about themselves, Many women I know put others before themselves, either their children, or their families.
You know that feeling when you are wearing matching underwear, or going to bed with shaved legs? I want my brand to embody that self-care feeling when you are doing something special for yourself and not for anyone else.
Now we provide our bridal service for brides who love handmade bespoke loungewear using their old wedding dresses and want their wedding day feeling to linger forever.
Our range embodies every woman, allowing herself to experience luxury in between everyday normality. We aim to create beautiful, handcrafted loungewear using the most luxurious silks and laces that fits her body perfectly.
Our range varies from our top seller Flutter slip a sheer georgette mini slip with recycled butterfly applique details, for that flirty, easy to wear slip dress to our customer favourite Serena set a silk charmeuse elegant cowl neck chemise top and matching short with our signature lace applique and it comes in three colour way (Champagne, Navy and Olive).
Inclusiveness, sustainability and kindness are all important to me. Inclusive – Our range consists of made to order. We encourage our customers to send in their measurements for no extra cost we know all bodies are different and we want to represent everyday women. Sustainability – Our bridal services allow our customers to fully recycle special fabrics like grandmother’s wedding dress into a new unique custom set that hold sentimental values to them. We also use a lot of recycled and vintage fabric in our designs. Kindness – Here at Maria Callisto we feel strong and advocate for safe and healthy menstruation through our Trinity Project where we encourage and normalise period talks and highlight period poverty. We have donated period and care products to 30 women in refugee camps in Lebanon and we aim to donate to up to 100 women by the end of the year.
We source our silks from a small family business in London, because we are a made to order brand, we buy small quantities and only use what is needed. We source mainly reclaimed and vintage lace, applique and cotton from local seamstress and vintage markets.
Our hopes and dreams are to host more physical pop ups and showroom events in the coming months, so sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Instagram at @maria_callisto to find out more.