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From Canberra to Melbourne to New York and back, Holly Lulu designs come home

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Holly Biswas knew by age eight that she was going to be a fashion designer.

By the age of 24, she was based in New York where she was Operations Manager for DISCOUNT UNIVERSE, a rapidly-expanding fashion brand made famous by a Kardashian wearing one of their sequined bikini tops at Coachella.

After a whirlwind few years working in the Big Apple and travelling around the world, Holly has returned home for love and for family and is now building a fan base for her own line of inclusive sized 4-20 lingerie under the label Holly Lulu Intimates

And with an invitation to participate in a runway show at London Fashion Week and to show a collection at Salon International De La Lingerie in Paris, Holly is showing that a path to the world of international fashion design is accessible from Canberra.

Holly and models at Cairns Fashion Week

“I’ve always loved fashion. I was the kid in primary school who knew exactly what I wanted to be – a fashion designer with my own label. Even at the age of 8, I was busy sketching designs and hand sewing fabric together. My parents bought me my first sewing machine as my 14th birthday present, and the passion really took off from there.”

After Belconnen High School and Hawker College, Holly enrolled in CIT’s Bachelor of  Design – Fashion, studying full-time at the Reid Campus.

“In my graduate year I created a fashion brand called Character that was designed for women over the age of 60, women who I fondly referred to as ‘Glamour Nanas’… My grandmother was a fierce and fashionably confident woman with impeccable style.

“I showed a Character collection at Canberra’s Fashfest and loved the reaction of the crowd to my Glamour Nanas strutting their stuff on the runway.”

Holly’s first break came after she completed an internship at Sydney-based fashion label Billion Dollar Babes and summoned the courage to move to Melbourne where she scored her second break — an internship at DISCOUNT UNIVERSE.

“I worked my way up the career ladder as the label grew. I held different positions such as Studio Manager, Wholesale Manager and finally became their Operations Manager for their Melbourne logistics. I handled the day to day running of their production and sample development, which included taking 13 trips to Bali to oversee their manufacturing and production.”

The company went gangbusters once Kylie Jenner strutted her stuff in their bikini and Holly was tasked with packing up the Melbourne office into a shipping container and supervising the logistics to have it delivered to the new Canal Street office in New York.
She won’t deny it was a heady time where she found herself on the receiving end of VIP tickets to events, backstage passes at music concerts, celebrity meetings and, of course, free clothes.

Holly conquers the Big Apple

But it was hard to be so far away from family and friends.

“I also wasn’t expecting to feel the culture shock I did moving to New York. You prepare for a lifestyle change as NY is famously fast paced, but there are small things such as, the different ways money is handled – paying for rent with a paper cheque (not a bank transfer) and doing the mental math of adding tipping and tax to purchases. My Aussie humour didn’t always translate which I always found funny as well.”

Halfway through her time in New York, Holly  returned home briefly for a visa trip and met the love of her life Ranjoy, who also had grown up in Canberra.

“Ranjoy and I had a whirlwind romance for the fortnight I was in Australia and when I flew back to New York we decided to do long distance. We made long distance work by making sure we saw each other often, with the longest time we spent apart being six weeks.”

But after six months of long distance travel they made the decision to live in the same city.

“Initially Ranjoy was to move to New York, but he understood my burnout and my need to change our plans so I moved back in 2018 to continue my fashion career in Australia. He was the one who gave me the final push into starting my label, he could see how passionate I was about it and that I just needed a final nudge in the right direction.

And that direction was lingerie.

Holly Lulu Intimates are sized inclusively

“I trained myself in the art of lingerie design and manufacturing. A bra may look simple but when you take it apart a bra can easily have over 100 components including; trims, elastics, underwire, fabrics, lining, padding etc.

Holly Lulu pieces aren’t your stereotypical lingerie garments. I’ve created fashion lingerie that can be worn as styling pieces, each design can worn underneath a shear top as a pop of colour or with a tailored suit for that 90s look.”

Holly designs and sews each sample at her home studio and then sends the collection over to a garment factory in China which is BSCI-approved (under the Business Social Compliance Initiative).

She also sources the fabrics used in each design from dead stock fabrics from Hong Kong and China. Using dead stock fabrics (high quality remanent fabric) enables her to be able to produce Holly Lulu designs in small and ethical quantities.

Since returning to Canberra Holly has enjoyed the face-to-face aspect of meeting customers and allowing them to feel and touch the garments – an important part of falling in love with intimate apparel.

“I’ve been able to participate in many kinds of markets and fashion events. A few of my favourites from last year include participating in the Finders Keepers Market, Bondi Market, and showing a collection at Cairns Fashion Week. Since moving back to Canberra I am also regularly at Haig Market, which has been so fun to meet and speak to my local Canberra customer base as well.”

She prides herself on inclusive sizing and meticulous workmanship.

“Quite often fashion intimates don’t cater to larger cup sizes, only having a ‘one cup size fits all’ for each design. My work is special because for each base size (S, M, L etc) there is a bigger cup size available as well (S+, M+, L+ etc) meaning that a wider range of bodies and bust sizes can wear these designs.”

Next step will be designing new lounge wear pieces for the next Holly Lulu collection drop including colourful tracksuits and lace garments.

And if the label grows to the point Holly needs to expand internationally? Well, she knows exactly what to do.

You can check out Holly Lulu’s lingerie line at

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