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Engineering a new style of brassiere |

Engineering a new style of brassiere

Katelyn Ferral
| Sunday, November 27, 2016 2:54 p.m
The Jessica bra was designed by Sophia Berman and Laura West, co-owners of Trusst Lingerie. The Lawrenceville residents wanted to create a bra for fuller-busted women. Using physics and engineering principles, the two have replaced the underwire with a 3D support structure that offers a better and more comfortable level of support. It offers fuller coverage, with molded foam cups that are lined with moisture-wicking, anti-microbial fabric. This style retails for $98 and is available at the showroom located at 5125 Penn Ave., Garfield and at
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
One of the bra and panty sets from Trusst Lingerie at AlphaLab Gear in East Liberty on Thursday, March 19, 2015.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Trusst Lingerie co-founders Sophia Berman (left), 29, of Squirrel Hill, and Laura West, 23, of Shadyside, sit for a portrait at their office at AlphaLab Gear in East Liberty on Thursday, March 19, 2015. The duo are creating a new kind of bra designed to offer better support and comfort for larger busted women.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Trusst Lingerie co-founder Laura West, 23, of Shadyside, in the start-up's office at AlphaLab Gear in East Liberty on Thursday, March 19, 2015. West and Sophia Berman, both Carnegie Mellon University grads, are creating a new kind of bra designed to offer better support and comfort for larger busted women.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Trusst Lingerie co-founder Sophia Berman, 29, of Squirrel Hill, talks to the Tribune-Review at the start-up's office at AlphaLab Gear in East Liberty on Thursday, March 19, 2015. Berman and Laura West, both Carnegie Mellon University grads, are creating a new kind of bra designed to offer better support and comfort for larger busted women.

Sophia Berman and Laura West support each other and all women.

The friends are co-founders of Trusst Lingerie, a company that’s created a completely new system of bra support for fuller-busted women using the same engineering principles used to support some bridges and architectural structures.

Berman and West, of Lawrenceville, who both attended Carnegie Mellon University, zeroed in on the truss, which is not only the basis of the design, but also the inspiration for the company name. Trusses are a series of triangular-shaped structures that connect to help distribute weight across a broader area, as opposed to a single point.

This feature was especially useful in designing the patent-pending Breast Advanced Support Technology system, because redistributing breast weight over a broader area was key in reducing the strain on the shoulders and back.

“Trusst bras work hard to reduce the pressure a fuller-busted woman commonly feels on her back and shoulders,” Berman says. “The BAST system redistributes breast weight, supporting more from underneath than that of a traditional underwire. Therefore, rather than focusing on the pain and discomforts her current bras put her through, this woman can go about her day knowing that her bra is supporting her.”

Frustrated by the lack of support and style options available for women with fuller busts, Berman and West used their backgrounds as industrial designers to do something about it. In 2014, they began work on the BAST system that supports up to 80 percent of breast weight from underneath the bust.

By placing the support around the core, the bra straps are supporting significantly less weight, leading to fewer shoulder and back pains. This system is embedded directly into the cup, eliminating poking and discomfort commonly associated with underwires.

With less strain also comes less shoulder dents and better posture, Berman says. Without a rigid underwire, these bras also eliminate the discomfort caused by wires poking out of the bra and digging into the skin.

“Our bras help women with large chests by taking away the pain points associated with traditional underwired bras,” West says. “They support more by placing the weight of the bust onto the core of the body, reducing shoulder and back pain. There are no wires to pinch and poke on the side of your ribcage, as well.”

Berman’s and West’s collective experiences, along with those of hundreds of women who have shared their stories, have helped inform and inspire each step in the design process. Their mission is to create a bra for support as well as one that makes a woman feel more beautiful and confident in her own skin.

To get the company rolling, the two utilized East Liberty-based AlphaLab Gear, which helps accelerate the growth of promising startup technology companies in the region. Trusst Lingerie received seed funding and mentorship from AlphaLab.

Their motto is: “As women, we believe it is important to support each other, and we can’t wait to support you.”

There currently are three styles — the Marjory ($82), the Suzanne ($88) and the Jessica ($98). Sizes include 32 F-J, 34 E-J, 36 E-J, 38 E-I, 40 E-H, and 42 E-G. They plan to expand the line.

The Trusst bras really are different, says Judy P. Masucci, owner of Levana Bratique in Pine, which carries bras for all women and specialized bras in hard-to-find sizes, including the Marjory.

“Everyone makes an underwire, but their support is a bridge … like a platform,” she says. “So it will fit differently and give better support.”

Berman and West approached Masucci when they were doing their research. A bra is something you wear everyday for many hours, and the best fitting undergarments are important to make your clothes fit better, Masucci says.

“They are two local women who found a need and a way to address that need with technology,” Masucci says. “They did their research. The correct bra can be life-changing.”

It has been for Danielle Skiles of Crafton.

“This Trusst bra changed my life,” Skiles says. “The support of this bra is amazing. I was so excited to try it. My clothes fit a lot better. I feel better about myself. It eliminates back pain, especially because I am on my feet all day working retail and modeling.”

Trusst Lingerie is at 5125 Penn Ave., Garfield. All three styles are available online and in the showroom in December. Bra fittings also are available.

Details: 412-204-6493 or

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7889 or

Categories: Fashion
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