Incontinence lingerie steals the show at Fashion Week
By Sarah Stewart
There've been some seriously raised eyebrows at Fashion Week this year, after it was revealed one collection hitting the catwalk is a wee bit different to anything we've seen before.
That's because ConfiTEX is a lingerie company designed for people with bladder-control problems.
When you're all rugged-up for some downhill action, the call of nature isn't ideal.
"You're stuck on the top of a mountain in a tight Lycra ski suit, and the opportunities to go to the toilet aren't many," says ConfiTEX business brain Mark Davey.
"You get pretty nervous before big races and I have vivid memories of standing on top of race courses needing to go to the toilet."
But imagine if you could just go – pee as you ski.
Mr Davey and Frantisek Riha-Scott saw a market in high-performance underwear for busting athletes.
"When you're running a marathon it's a little bit embarrassing to stop on the side of the road and go to the toilet, and you're probably going to lose the race if you do," says Mr Davey.
Their real lightbulb moment came when friends pointed out a bigger need in the awkward area of incontinence.
More than 1 million Kiwis suffer from the problem, including a third of women who have given birth, often caught out by a simple laugh or sneeze.
They want to give people their confidence back.
"Why should women who wear Prada or Zambesi or Karen Walker, why should she need to put on a pad or a diaper or nappy?" says Mr Riha-Scott.
"Our product is not designed for people in rest homes."
The result is undeniably sexy, but does it work? It relies on a breathable waterproof fabric that the pair designed and patented. The pad takes 80ml to 100ml in one go and about 300ml throughout the day.
There's even the once unthinkable – a G-string.
"We got a request by a 90-year-old lady that we should design a G-string version, so we thought that's a fantastic story," says Mr Riha-Scott.
And now they're going where no incontinence undies have gone before – the catwalk.
Watch the video for the full Story report.