If someone had to curate a list of the things that are considered taboo in Bangladesh, women's undergarments and lingerie would make it to the top tier.
The taboo is so heavy around these everyday clothing items that even the shops selling these do their business in confidentiality.
In these shops, everyone feels ill at ease. Both the customers and the shopkeepers, mostly men, do not know much about the products they are buying and selling.
However, a comparatively new intimate wear and lingerie brand called "Shape" has been striving to make a difference in this scene.
Shape was started by Monoshita Ayruani in September 2019, as a frustrated customer.
In the last 16 months, the brand has managed to bag both word-of-mouth and brand-based success because of the viability of its products and consultations.
"As South Asian women, our physical build is top-heavy and we have very limited lingerie options in Bangladesh and everyone is very secretive about it, which made it even more difficult for us to get access to innerwear or lingerie solutions for our body types," said Tahsin Habib, the brands and operations manager of Shape, while speaking about how Shape came into being.
To top it off, the few available options are more on the expensive side, making access and affordability impossible for most women in our country, Tahsin added.
"This was Monoshita's idea behind starting Shape. For most of us, we have always had to either visit Gawsia or very secretive undergarment shops."
Shape aims to provide easy-to-access lingerie and intimate wear solutions to women of all shapes and sizes and undo the taboo around women's innerwear and lingerie.
According to market research conducted by Shape, 85 percent women are not aware of their proper bra sizes, irrespective of their build.
Women wear undergarments for long periods of a day and it can get quite uncomfortable if the fit is wrong, especially in the case of bras. Which is why its size, shape and material need to be prioritised.
Taking these into consideration, Shape provides free consultancy sessions for anyone looking to make a purchase but is confused about their size.
"This is something we have struggled with since the beginning. As most women do not know what their sizes are, they end up buying the wrong bras, which pose threats to their health and keep them in discomfort throughout the day. Through our consultancy, we have been trying to mitigate this obstacle and teach women how to better assess their bra sizes," explained Tahsin.
Like most businesses, Shape also had to bear the brunt of the pandemic, which hit around six months after they launched. However, Monoshita put this time to good use and looked into more ideas to bring to the people.
Tahsin elaborated, "This is when we came up with the idea of launching our silk sleepwear. This slow-paced period also allowed us to educate more women about their body types, undergarments and lingerie."
The seamless bra is one of Shape's bestsellers due to its core element of unparalleled comfort. It costs Tk1,100 and comes in four colours - pink, beige, black and coffee.
Up until now, Shape has launched three categories of intimate wear - bras, silk sleepwear, and underwear.
They have also come up with bridal packages in collaboration with Gala Cosmetics that include one robe, one satin slip dress, one Shape bra, one Victoria's Secret Body Mist, one pair of Gala Eye Lashes, one satin hairband, one satin scrunchy and one eye mask.
This whole bundle is priced at Tk5,990 and can be a fun little gift package for the bride-to-be.
They carry more bundles for different products at different price points to solve all your undergarment problems at once.
With Shape's new body positivity campaign called "Every Body Matters", they have truly stepped forward in the direction of leaving a positive footprint in our society that is densely clouded with stigmas, taboos and cynicism surrounding women's innerwear.
Shape, as a brand, has a very strong presence on social media - especially on Facebook and Instagram.
Most of their brand engagement takes place online on these two platforms and all of Shape's details can be found there. They also have a website where orders can be placed for their products.
Speaking about Shape's future plans, Tahsin said, "We want to have physical shops at some point of time. We really want our customers to be able to physically see and touch our products before buying it. We also have plans to expand into more cities other than the bigger ones and penetrate demographics of different income levels."
Last year, in December, Shape bagged silver for best use of Instagram at the Digital Marketing Awards 2020 by Bangladesh Brand Forum.