Lizzo is discussing the contents of her underwear drawer.
There are plunge bralettes, high-waisted briefs, bodysuits and thongs in shades of neon lime green and rosé, as well as black, brown, nude and white under things. The assortment is a new collection called Smoothed Reality, part of the singer’s fashion brand Yitty. It’s also the first time the shapewear, activewear and loungewear business has fully ventured into intimates with its own collection. The assortment is dropping this month.
“I’ve been wearing it for awhile now, because, you know, lucky me, I get to wear all the prototypes and stuff,” Lizzo told WWD over the phone from her home in Los Angeles. “I’m wearing Yitty, like, every day on tour. It’s wild. I don’t even have to, like, pack anything anymore because I just, like, throw Yitty [in a suitcase]. I wear my Yitty shapewear on stage. I have my Yitty bodysuits that I wear in the first half of the show. After the show, I’m in, like, Pet Me by Yitty. I’m in my Major Label when I work out. Like, I’m just in the Yitty-verse, fully.”
She’s not the only one. Fans everywhere are getting into Lizzo’s Yitty universe anyway they can, whether by way of her albums, concerts, reality show, “Love, Lizzo” documentary or fashion brand Yitty, which she said is “completely sold out, all the time, of everything.”
It’s no surprise then that the Grammy-winning singer is busy. Lizzo, whose real name is Melissa Jefferson, just got back from New York, where she made her second musical appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” She’s also touring, promoting her next album (scheduled for summer 2023) and growing her Yitty brand. But she was able to squeeze in 10 minutes to chat with WWD about the brand’s latest expansion plans.
“We are going to be offering basically, like, the chill version of Nearly Naked,” Lizzo said. “I want to wear something for my everyday [outfit], you know? And so, I was like, we need to do something that’s, like, you know, the sister of Nearly Naked, where we have this high-compression, holds-you-in, all of that. But now we need something that’s, like, smoother, softer, and like, when you just want to throw on a bra and panties.”
Yitty’s expansion comes at an interesting time. After nearly three years of lockdown loungewear and consumers buying little more than stay-at-home bras and underwear — and nearly every major fashion house (and a few celebrity brands too) peddling their innerwears — consumers have never had more options to choose from in the intimates category. Some critics say there’s no room left in the market for new players. At the same time, activewear continues to trend. And the return of in-person events puts shapewear back in the spotlight.
Lizzo — who cofounded Yitty (named after her childhood nickname) in March 2022 with Fabletics Inc., parent company to Kate Hudson’s activewear brand Fabletics — said she’s “right on time.”
“I don’t think you can say the market is oversaturated with shapewear,” she said. “When I was first taking meetings about shapewear, there were only, maybe, three or four brands. Comparatively to, like, other kinds of apparel [categories] that’s relatively small. So, I feel like Yitty came at, like, the perfect time.”
She added that current demand for the product is so high that she hasn’t considered selling the brand or merging with a bigger company to help scale.
“I don’t think that’s necessary right now,” Lizzo said. “Yitty is doing a fabulous job right now, on our own. And Yitty has just started, so I think I just want to focus on my brand right now.
“Yitty is, like, basically a dream in the making,” the entrepreneur continued. “I feel like I, you know, always had to make my own way in the fashion world. Always had to have just like people make outfits for me, cuz, I fit a lot of the clothes. And I have a lot of ideas that I want to execute that, you know, just simply didn’t exist. So when Yitty started, it was more so of, like, I need to make something for myself. I need to like…I want to make a product that I can wear and that I can be comfortable in, starting with shapewear.”
These days, talk of diversity and inclusion is ubiquitous in the fashion industry. But the musician has always been outspoken about embracing her size — “back rolls and all, and showing them love,” as per one Instagram post — even before the body positivity movement was trending. Still, Lizzo isn’t celebrating. And she was reluctant to say whether she felt the body positivity movement was authentic — or merely performative.
“I think, like, everyone should ask themselves, ‘How is my shopping experience? How’s my shopping experience been?’” Lizzo said. “In my lifetime, it doesn’t matter what your body type is like, I’ve heard people always struggle to find something that they like that fits them, you know? So, I don’t know. I can’t answer that question for you. I know what Yitty is doing. And we’re doing the work to be inclusive. And not just for the sake of being inclusive but just because we want to. Just because we can. And I think that speaks volumes.
“It’s not just selling an item, but, like, selling a feeling,” she continued. “I don’t ever want to force people to purchase something. And I think I’ve been in the same boat. Which is why I started a brand that is just like, on your own terms. And I think, obviously, you know, people were so excited about the shapewear [that] we’re continuing to expand our brand into other kinds of apparel.”
Yitty, which launched with three collections — Nearly Naked, Mesh Me and Major Label — now includes the Pet Me, Headliner and Smoothed Reality lines, encompassing the shapewear, loungewear, activewear and intimates categories. And the singer said there’s more to come.
“The sky’s the limit,” Lizzo said. “I mean, there’s so much that we can do with Yitty. And everybody’s been loving what we have already. So we can go anywhere.”
Smoothed Reality, which drops Sunday, is available on Yitty.com The collection comes in sizes XS to 6XL and ranges in price from $15.95 to $59.95.