Have you ever found an item of clothing you never wanted to take off? For many people, this can mean a favorite coat or a pair of shoes. But there’s something particularly special about an item of lingerie. A certain set of undergarments are reserved for special occasions or even just for oneself—a delightful secret is hidden under the day’s outfit. Lingerie can be incredibly personal, imbued with meaning and reflections of self-image. It can be used to highlight aspects of one’s figure or to ignite the imagination with what is covered and what is revealed. Lingerie can be equally powerful whether it is shared with others or kept to oneself. Whether or not these intimate items of clothing are shown, people often shop for undergarments with a particular reason in mind.
For Diana Williams, the mind behind the Etsy shop Worst Western, undergarments are made to bolster confidence, fit and flatter diverse body types, and to provide handmade and sustainable choices. A talented seamstress, Williams has been designing and creating clothing since 2012. After moving to Austin, Texas, to pursue welding and metalwork, Williams also explored her interests in sewing and fashion.
“Texas was not too keen on adding a black-female-welder so I decided to pursue sewing and fashion,” says Williams. “I learned at a local school owned by five to eight women. Classes were affordable and possibly even taught more in three years than if I had went to an actual school for fashion and design.”
While making lingerie wasn’t initially her intent, Williams’ clientele asked for more options. Now, her Etsy store is full of bralettes, underwear and bodysuits, crafted from delicate mesh, lace, and satin. Her Instagram page is full of people with all sizes and shapes of bodies, looking effortlessly cool in anything from lace-up velvet knickers to whimsically light mesh bralettes completed with flowering ocotillo.
"My artistic inspiration is myself," Williams says. "I only make clothing that I would personally want to wear or have fantasized about in the past. I'm just lucky that other people like it."
She employs small, yet eye-catching, details to set each piece apart: a deep green saguaro here, an embossed skull there.
Williams also makes a concerted effort to reflect the community and its needs. “I love making lingerie at the moment because I feel like I'm providing unique and sexy garments that are also inclusive of all sizes,” Williams says.
While designing pieces that are able to be worn on large and small bodies—and everyone in-between—she has also offered her skills to the LGBTQ community. In July, following decisive remarks made by President Trump, Williams offered free clothing alterations to all transgender clients. “Because EVERYONE deserves to say ‘FUCK YOU TRUMP’ while also looking cute,” she captioned the announcement on her Instagram page.
Starting one’s own business, much less one where everything is handmade, is no easy feat. Williams’ designs are in increasingly high demand as people across the southwest have discovered her versatile, one-of-a-kind garments. She admits to continuing to learn, grow and hone her craft over time.
All photos provided by Diana Williams.