Move over Hanky Panky, there’s a new girl in town. Meet Cou Cou, the intimate wear brand making a name for redefining undies for a new generation of women. Founded by Rose Colcord in 2021, the environmentally-conscious, impact-driven cult brand has a clear focus in celebrating the female embodied experience, by bridging the gap between lingerie and daily underwear and offering a range of core designs that seamlessly merge comfort with stylish.
For Colcord, the idea of having separate underwear drawers — one for stuffy, eye-pleasing lingerie, and one for comfy but unattractive granny panties — felt outdated and wrong. “I realised the dichotomy between the lingerie and underwear drawer, represented this notion that comfort and beauty are mutually exclusive and how we as women are expected every morning to pick between feeling comfortable or beautiful.” Explaining her inspiration in creating Cou Cou Intimates, Colcord says: “That’s my thing with Cou Cou. I want to make underwear, and more than that a brand, that really celebrates our everyday experience as women.”
Despite her initial lack of interest in starting a business, Colcord’s personal experience made her notice that there’s a void in the market — an actual product that she and all her friends needed. “Beyond this, currently only 2% of our underwear is sustainably sourced and due to the nature of wash-and-wear, our underwear is actually our most disposed-of garment.” The founder continues with a lighthearted smile: “Although we are all quite aware and mindful of the impact of the fashion industry on the environment, underwear is the one thing you don’t want to be reselling (or buying) on Depop.”
Whilst finishing her degree in Philosophy at NYU (Colcord later transferred to USC), Colcord set out to create an undergarment that is high quality, comfortable, beautiful — a whole new category that’s neither lingerie or just the standard association the consumers have with “underwear” — and with a solution to reduce the environmental impact. Officially started working on the project during the pandemic whilst at her home in the Cotswolds, Colcord centered her attention on the product, fine-tuning the designs and sending samples back and forth throughout the numerous lockdowns until the 3 core styles were perfected.
And the result? Cou Cou’s essential basics that are far from basic. The Thong, The High Rise and The Cami feature the most joy-inducing, delicate, 100% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton — a fabric that is fully compostable and best for gynaecological health. The ultra thin spaghetti straps, the extra miniature silk bows, the soft milky color, the sweetest pointelle patterns specifically designed by Colcord, combined with the simple yet innocent silhouettes of the pieces all bring back the best of nostalgia — like being a kid again and riding a bike through the countryside filled with wild flowers on a breezy summer day. “I just loved it had this sense of Euro summers, romance and beautiful, delicate simplicity.” Says Colcord.
Beyond the style, the young founder truly believes brands have the power to rewrite cultural narratives. Having always struggled with her body image, food, and confidence since she was 16, Colcord is working towards that day when women don’t even worry or think about how they look because it doesn’t matter, “what matters is being able to be present in our lives and engaged with our values/passions to create an impact in whatever way we desire. And with Cou Cou I hope to, not only create conscious, elevated, intimate essentials that make us feel comfy and cute everyday, but to reclaim the narrative of our intimates, reduce the environmental impact of our most disposed-of garment and to celebrate our female, embodied experience. Everyday.” Cou Cou [koo koo] is the most endearing way to say hi to a loved one, and that’s exactly what Colcord wants the brand to be for everyone — “a friend that brings us home to ourselves and reminds us that everyday is worth wearing our favorites.”
As a new brand and small team, profitability is important, but not overtaking social responsibility in priority. Aside of actively trying to perfect its sustainable footprint, Cou Cou also belongs to 1% For The Planet, and contribute 1% of its total gross sales to the most impactful environmental non profit organizations working on the planet’s most pressing environmental issues.
“I’m so grateful everyday for getting to work with so many amazing women and to continue to collaborate with such inspirational artists, models and cultural individuals to carve out the Cou Cou World.” When asked what her next steps are as a founder/brand, Colcord gushes in the most genuine, girly way. She plans to keep growing and learning with the brand, and has a clear long-term vision: “I essentially want Cou Cou to become the go-to premium sustainable daily underwear brand for the new generation of women, with a multi-pack focus and omnichannel distribution strategy. Right now, I’m focusing on building out the Core Collection [the brand has just launched in August the first new additions after a year of only having 3 original products], streamlining our supply chain, evaluating opportunities in terms of physical retail, searching for new fabrics and of course, continuing to share and stay true to the Cou Cou intention, message, story and values.”
You can now buy Cou Cou Intimates’ range of sustainable, comfortable and ultra chic styles on www.coucouintimates.com as well as a number of luxury retailers including Selfridges, Net-a-Porter, Browns, and Ssense.