“Always new and always exciting,” USA-made lingerie and niche dancewear design company Delicate Illusions, founded by a young designer with a skilled flair in sewing undergarments, stays small to ensure quality and variety.

(Note: This story appears in the February 2024 issue of SE Magazine

USA-made lingerie company Delicate Illusions began its business officially in June of 1987, as soon as the founder graduated trade school with a maker’s knowledge in lingerie.

“I learned how to sew when I was 14-years-old, and since then, I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer,” says Shereen Loth, founder and owner of Delicate Illusions.

As her desire matured, Loth attended a two-year trade school with the intention of learning to design her own patterns. But something unexpected happened when she was given an assignment to create a piece of lingerie, and her path clarified into a specialty.

“It was so much fun that I continued building more lingerie items and presented a fashion show at the end of my second year for the entire student body,” she says. “The day I graduated, I got all my business licenses, etc., filed and continued down this path.”

Delicate Illusions is known best for its Victorian flair coat, one of Loth’s brand-launching items. She says that this article remains as the trademark item which dancers across the country seek especially from the lingerie company.

“The Victorian flair coat is timeless, glamorous, flattering and feminine,” comments Loth. “Everybody loves it.”

Being 100% made in the USA, Loth realized early on that Delicate Illusions wouldn’t be able to compete price-wise with China-made lingerie companies. For this reason, over the past 38 years, Loth has always created for niche markets within this industry.

“We started with exotic dancewear, then clubwear up to 12X,” she explains. “Then, we branched out into girls’ dance and gymnastics. At the moment, our biggest markets are the girl’s dance and women in lifestyles communities, which we offer in all sizes.”

But in spite of her success in expanding into niche markets, Loth shares that remaining a small boutique is still an essential aspect to her business. Customer satisfaction is Delicate Illusion’s highest priority, and being a small company allows for the highest quality control and the greatest customer service.

“Over our 38 years, we have undeniably grown in size, but staying smaller, more in control of quality and design is where I, the owner, and my clients seem to be happiest,” she explains. “I honestly don’t remember the last time we had a return for anything damaged or unwanted, and that’s what’s most important to me.”

Even if she could ensure quality on a larger scale, Loth expresses that the financial pressures of being a larger business further ward off any ambitions to expand.

“With the current inflation, we are constantly looking at how to be more efficient with less waste,” she says. “Labor costs are double what they were six years ago, and growing does not seem possible at this juncture.”

Rather than expanding into an abundance of markets, Delicate Illusions centers its craft on assorted collections, so that dedicated buyers have an “assortment” to choose from, which can be purchases as a full set by customers who trust Loth’s vision in variety.

“One thing that I try to explain to new potential clients is that buying ‘assorted’ from me is the best way to go,” Loth explains. “It allows me to get involved and create unique looks for clients that nobody else carries. I think it is a hard sell because most vendors package up grab-bags of items that are left over or did not sell, and often at a reduced price. My assortments are above standard, worth more than priced, always new and always exciting.”

Last year, Delicate Illusions brought 45 new dresses to the Altitude show with great success. This year, retailers can anticipate a collection of fitness bodysuits at the company’s booth.

For more information, please call 949-497-7422, email shereenannette@gmail.com or visit delicateillusions.com.