Prelude to a Product Review: Samanta

Hello Everyone,

Slowly and steadily, I am chipping away at a (still growing) backlog of bra reviews, but I am extremely excited to finally reach the two Samanta lingerie reviews I planned.  As long time readers know by now, I am a fan of Polish lingerie design and appreciate their unique approach to both bra fit and aesthetic.  As a result, when Marzena of Samanta contacted me back in December about potentially carrying the brand in the store, I was excited but reserved.  I had never tried Samanta before and was going to order a style or two direct from her as samples to test the fit and quality.  Enter the amazing Sweet Nothings!  A while back, she reviewed three of Samanta’s popular designs on her blog and was gracious enough to give me her A925 Mintaka and her A111 Hana Claret because she’s totally awesome like that.  Since we’re in the same size range, I was excited to see how this brand compared to the other UK and Polish companies I tried in the past.  Initially, this post began as a review of the A925, complete with video review and pictures, but my penchant for detailed explanations turned a “brief” discussion of the Samanta brand, their model numbers, and sizing system into a 1500+ word epic better suited for a post of its own.  As a result, before delving into the product reviews, I am taking today to provide some background on Samanta for anyone not familiar with the brand.

The A925 Mintaka - One of the bras I am reviewing next week
The A925 Mintaka – One of the bras I am reviewing next week

Every lingerie company approaches sizing, fit, and collection organization in a different way.  Some companies, such as Elomi and sister brands Goddess, Freya, and Fantasie for example, have a set model number for each bra frame underneath a more general style name like Cate or Deco.  All of the bras usually fall into one of two categories:  Core or Fashion.  Core items may overlap with fashion in that the brand will release a temporary color or print to supplement the existing permanent collection of neutrals.  For example, the Elomi Cate is available year round in core colors Latte, White, Pecan, and Black, but for Spring 2016, Elomi released a lovely Caribbean Blue for a fashion color.  Fashion items, on the other hand, are either entirely new bra frames being tested in retail to determine their viability as a core style or are existing bra frames, like the old Elomi Sakura, which have been retooled in new fabrics and released for the season (see any of the stretch lace Elomi plunges).  In some cases, the use of new fabrics on existing frames becomes so popular, the fashion style transitions into a core offering, like Elomi Raquel.

An example of an Elomi coordinating collection
An example of an Elomi coordinating collection: Tatiana, Cate in Caribbean Blue, Anushka in Kingfisher

From season to season, these brands usually employ about three micro color collections designed to coincide with release dates.  For retailers, this means the collections are designed to show up in the store at roughly the same time and hang well together for visual appeal.  For consumers, it means you’ll see coordinating bras and underwear that may not “match” but rather “go” together (Where are my old What Not to Wear Fans?).  Freya, in particular, has embraced this approach and gone so far as to implement the Fancies panties and bralette programs to encourage consumers to purchase bras from the coordinating collections.  The upside to this system can be less confusion related to model numbers as well as seasonal collection which still can be diverse, but the downside is companies are not always forthcoming in descriptions or listings about which bra frame has been recycled to create this season’s latest and greatest versus which styles are entirely new.  Furthermore, because the fabric of say the Caribbean Blue Cate is only used on the Cate, some customers are not able to enjoy a fabric or color they love.  They may not like the fit of Cate or fit into the bra’s size range, and as a result, are relegated to admiring the bra from afar.  Now, there is nothing inherently bad about this technique, and most consumers have acclimated to the ubiquity of its use.  Nevertheless, I want to explain how Samanta tweaks this approach in a new way.

The Hana A111 in Claret - The second Samanta bra I will be reviewing
The Hana A111 in Claret – The second Samanta bra I will be reviewing

Samanta, in painstaking detail, breaks down every one of their available model numbers right down to what kind of breast tissue they designed the style for and how much coverage it offers.  And they have a lot of model numbers.  When Marzena first sent me the information on her brand, I had one of those moments were you open your eyes really wide, things fuzz out, and you lean your head back trying to process the information.  On paper, it can be confusing, mostly, in my opinion, because of the overlap.  The A 925 I will be reviewing first is one of two “semi-soft” bras, the other being the A225, and the differences between them are minimal.  Check out the information below for a few of the 20+ models numbers:

  • A111:   This bra design is dedicated to women with larger breasts. Optically reduces the bust, exposes it and slightly raises it up. It maintains and naturally rounds the bust. Deep cups cover 80% of the bust, ensuring maximum subtlety and comfort.
  • A122:   This bra is designed for women with larger breasts. It collects the bust to the cleavage. Lifts it giving it strong support and comfort. Hidden supports inside the bra offer additional support.The cups cover 80% of the bust.
  • A175:   Bra model with seamless cups.  It naturally enhances the bust. Cups are thermally profiled and placed in the high-centre. The sides smoothly cling to the body. Detachable straps the width of which are especially designed for the size of the cup. Perfect bra for women with widely spread breasts. Fits well with skin-tight outfits, thanks to seamless finishing it doesn’t stand out under clothes.
  • A222:   The bra is designed for women with larger breasts. It doesn’t enlarge the bust, but lifts and gathers it, providing it with strong support. The cups cover 80% of the bust. The bra is made of lace or embroidery, lined on the inside by an extra net which has the same values for usability as in the A122 model.
  • A225:  The design of the “semi-soft” type bra (bottom of the cup stiffened , reinforced by foam with cotton from the side of the body), is dedicated to women with less firm breasts. Rounds  and supports large breasts very well, collects and naturally lifts the bust up,while providing maximum comfort.
  • A922:  This bra design has additional strength. Designed for women with larger and/or less firm breasts. Patented straps add to increased comfort and stability. Deep cups cover 90% of the bust and the additional strength of the cup ensures stable support.  This bra gathers and rounds the bust, naturally exposing it.
  • A925:  This bra design is for women with larger and/or less firm breasts. Patented straps guarantee comfort and stability. Deep cups cover 90% of the bust and foam in the lower part of the cup provides additional strength and ensures stable support. This bra gathers and rounds the bust, naturally exposing it.

What I love about this approach though is that it gives consumers and retailers a sense of consistency once they take the time to determine the best fit for them or for their customers.  You can enter every season knowing exactly which model numbers to buy.  For example, if the A925 or A225 are the only bras that work for you, then you can search each season’s collections for those model numbers only.  Furthermore, in Samanta’s collections, in addition to coordinating color palettes among different styles, they also literally use the same colors, fabrics, and embroideries slightly tweaked for each model number in the collection.  Eveden’s Freya tends to come the closest, I think, to channeling this design decision.  In some fabrics from Freya, you may see a plunge balcony bra, a padded half cup, and a longline bra available for sale, but in others, you only have one choice.  Samanta, in contrast, always gives you multiple style options for a given fabric and tries to incorporate complementary model numbers.  For example, below is a pictures of the upcoming Intensa Fluo series we’ll be carrying in the store later this summer:

Intesna_1

DSC_0692
And here’s a shot Marzena sent me of them finishing everything up!

 

As you can see, the collection uses the same materials with several kinds of bras all available and targeted toward different breast shapes as well as multiple matching bottoms to suit the customers’ needs.  The advantage of this approach is that a single fashion collection often encompasses the entire Samanta size range (30-40 bands and UK A-J cups) and satisfies the needs of a variety of different breast shapes.  It’s this last component in particular that I like.  Most brands have defined fits for their collections.  For example, if Comexim, my dear sweet Comexim, does not work for you at all, then more than likely, you are not going to find anything in their collection that will fit properly and the brand will be labeled “Not for me” indefinitely.  With Samanta, you have multiple fit models and even breast tissue types being addressed so that the brand manages to be extremely inclusive for the size range available.

Check out this gorgeous green bra we're snagging for Fall 2016!
Check out this gorgeous green bra we’re snagging for Fall 2016!

Speaking of the size range, I have been using UK sizing, but like many European companies, they use a different sizing system.  Bands range from 65-90 and cups from A to M.  As an example, both of the bras Sweet Nothings sent me were a size 70K or UK 32H.  Here’s a chart to show you the breakdown:

Band Sizes

 

Samanta UK
65 30
70 32
75 34
80 36
85 38
90 40

Cup Sizes

Samanta UK
A A
B B
C C
D D
E DD
F E
G F
H FF
I G
J GG
K H
L HH
M J

Finally, Samanta continues their accessibility to price.  Each of the collections are categorized into one of three price points:  Young, Pret-a-Porter, and Glamour.  Young is the cheapest line which uses more simplified fabrics, laces, and embroideries while Glamour, as the name suggests, channels all the sophistication, ornateness, and quality of an upscale line.  Pret-a-Porter functions as a bridge between the two.  The fact that Samanta tries to offer consumers not only the ability to determine which models work for them but also to find those models in a variety of price points is lovely.  If you want to spend the extra money for that $80 or $90 bra with beautiful laces and details, you can certainly do that, but if you are on a budget, the Young line offers some great alternatives both in fashion and basic colors.

Another shot of Intensa Fluo collection
Another shot of Intensa Fluo collection

I hope this information helps everyone, and I am really excited to be posting the actual reviews soon!

Erica

Prelude to a Product Review: Samanta
Erica
Erica is a lover all things lingerie and is passionate about helping people find the bra which fits and flatters. Side passions include reading, writing, hiking, dairy-free food, walking her Jack Russell terrorists, and dying her hair everything from black to red.
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18 thoughts on “Prelude to a Product Review: Samanta

  • April 29, 2016 at 1:13 pm
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    Erica,
    You definitely have my attention with the A-111. I’m always looking for a good underwire bra that can reduce the appearance of my bust. I’m currently in a 36G in most of my bras (elomi, Freya ). What size would you recommend I order in the Samanta A-111?

    Reply
    • Erica
      April 29, 2016 at 2:10 pm
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      Hi Corey! Samanta has a nice quality and a great fit that I think you’d like. I’d suggest either a 80G or an 85F depending on the tightness of the band, but let me get my first order into the shop so I have more to compare against in terms of sizing. Right now, that’s based off my experience with Sweets’ bras. 🙂

      Reply
  • April 29, 2016 at 1:54 pm
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    My first reaction: OH MY GOODNESS I CAN’T WAIT FOR THESE!!!! THAT GREEN BRA IS BEAUTIFUL!!!

    What I should post as a thought: Very comprehensive review, Erica! Your summary highlights Samanta’s commitment to producing a beautiful and well-fitting bra.
    It’s really interesting that Samanta is able to achieve and sustain a very broad base of sizes, styles, and colorways. Because of this, do you think products sell out very quickly?

    Reply
    • Erica
      April 29, 2016 at 2:15 pm
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      Hi Sam! Yes, that green bra caught my eye immediately. The Fall collection is just amazing, and Marzena is just wonderful. It seems like company is really committed to providing a range of bra fits to help more customers, which I like. Samanta does use an advanced ordering system like Panache, whereby you have to reserve styles six months in advance to ensure delivery, so I think that does contribute to what I, as a retailer, will have access to here in the states. Plus, their website is a separate entity, so retailers can’t pull from the stock there to supplement. I am just excited to be bringing another fabulous line into the store!

      Reply
  • April 29, 2016 at 2:05 pm
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    So curious to learn more about this brand! Thank you so much for this intensive overview. And GOSH am I ever in love with that green bra!

    Reply
    • Erica
      April 29, 2016 at 3:20 pm
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      Hi Sam! Yes, they are really awesome. I think they would work in your store too, particularly because you were thinking of some upscale brands too. I’ll have the reviews up next week, but if you need Marzena’s contact info, just let me know. 🙂

      Reply
  • April 29, 2016 at 2:32 pm
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    I am intrigued by 40 and GG (also deep cups) …. neon pink would not be my top choice but like cats everywhere if it fits I sits! 😉 …. The green is quite gorgeous, is that cup sheer, I have problems with seems cutting in my not firm breast tissue but the laundry list of models leads me to believe there’s model for that?

    Reply
    • Erica
      April 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm
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      So, um, the technically don’t make a 40GG. 🙁 They do a step down in sizing, so the M cups are typically in 30/32 bands and then they scale down from there. I think 40 bands they only go up to the UK F cup. I know it’s a bummer, but Samanta has custom made pieces for people before too. Two Cakes on a Plate had a style constructed in her size. I’d love to see them do those sizes though, particularly because I think their construction would help less firm tissue more. It’s a shame that Goddess and Elomi do not have any styles with center deep cups because both have some styles which would really be fantastic. That’s part of the reason why I admire a company trying to incorporate multiple fits and styles into their line, particularly because many ladies, like yourself, are relegated to only a few brands almost all of which only have on fit model in mind.

      Oh, and the cats quote was too cute. If it fits, I sits. Yep, that is totally a cat thing. 🙂

      Reply
      • April 30, 2016 at 11:54 am
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        I was wondering whether I could sister-size into the brand, too, but noticed the scaling. I remember a Sweet Nothings review that mentioned a couple of the styles ran quite large, and she had to size down a cup. The A111, perhaps? It was an unusual cup shape that I wouldn’t normally try. That might be enough to let me sneak into it.

        Reply
        • Erica
          May 3, 2016 at 1:21 pm
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          Hi Alicia! It may have been the A111, but it could also be the Kerk bra which is more coverage. It’s possible to see if that would work for you, particularly if you love the designs. 🙂 I hope they do more with 36+ bands and G+ cups in the future myself because we have a lot of ladies in that range who want additional options!

          Reply
      • May 1, 2016 at 5:07 pm
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        Ah ok, that sounds about right. I would be hesitant to try a custom order just because mainly because I think the wires wouldn’t be strong enough, but I will be sure to to keep an eye on it, I do admire what they are doing with the color and model # collections. I think its a big improvement over what I am more familiar with, more security for the store owner and the customer to know what they are buying.

        Reply
  • April 29, 2016 at 9:14 pm
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    I’m so excited to hear that you’ll be selling Samanta! They’re currently quite inaccessible in the states, so I’ll be excited to see your selection. They’re one of the brands that got away from me, as my last attempt was quite definitely not right! It’s so tough to really figure out a brand without returns or accurate size conversions (cough Zulily). Super excited to see your reviews! 🙂

    Reply
    • Erica
      May 3, 2016 at 1:14 pm
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      Thank you! I should have the first review up tomorrow. 🙂 I love being able to support lines like this too particularly because they have some lovely design ideas and are trying to help multiple breast shapes. We’re going to start small and go from there, but I am very excited!

      Reply
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  • May 5, 2016 at 12:16 pm
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    Wow, this sounds like a great new line! It’s especially nice to see all of the options in a specific colourway…like that gorgeous green bra, which I’d prefer in something more structured. Definitely looking forward to learning more about the brand! It’s an interesting business model, too, but it’s seems to be more customer-focused. Though a little less certain for the business, it’s something more and more consumers prefer to go for, methinks.

    Reply
    • Erica
      May 5, 2016 at 2:01 pm
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      Hi Jen! We’ll be doing the gorgeous green on in the A925 model. The others are more for smaller cup sizes, and the A925 definitely as that structured lower cup. I’m very excited! Samanta does seem to care about working with consumers, and I love that element of their business model. It’s important to really listen to the feedback because I think it will not only foster loyalty with existing customers who feel valued but also attract new ones that the tweaked products fit better. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  • May 6, 2016 at 9:50 pm
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    Can’t wait for the the green bra!!

    Reply
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