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Love Stories is a Dutch brand putting the light-heartedness back into lingerie. Founded by former interiors stylist Marloes Hoedeman in Amsterdam in 2013, Love Stories was born out of Hoedeman’s frustration at not being able to find fun, flirty, comfortable lingerie that had been designed by women, for women.

Today, she presides over a team of 30, runs 15 Love Stories boutiques across the globe, and the brand has expanded into swimwear, loungewear and kidswear all distilled through a lens of laid-back living. Hoedeman lives in Amsterdam with her husband-to-be, Eric, and their two children, James, six, and Lola, four. Here, she tells us how she revolutionised the stale, pale world of lingerie and built an international tribe of Love Stories lovers.


I grew up in a very small town just north of Amsterdam. It’s the kind of place where you don’t have to lock up your bike, and everybody knows everybody. It looks like an old Dutch painting, with cute painted houses and people wearing clogs. I was a creative child; my mother was a primary school teacher and encouraged me to embrace art, ceramics, crafts, and fashion. I was always rearranging, curating, and styling things. As a teenager, I used to come home from school for my lunch in the middle of the day and change my entire outfit, including my hair. I spent my weekends reorganizing my room. Styling was in my nature, although, if I look at pictures of myself from that time, well – let’s just say, that good style needs some time to develop!


I moved to Amsterdam when I was 20 to study interior and fashion design at the Artemis Academy. While I was studying, I did an internship at a styling company that worked for the Dutch edition of Elle Decoration; they liked my work, so I continued to work for the magazine and slowly built up my portfolio, eventually working for the Dutch editions of Glamour and Vogue. I always tried to bring a fashion sensibility to my interior work – I loved translating memorable catwalk looks into interior schemes. Then I began working for hotels and private houses.


I’d always loved lingerie, but the available options seemed either way too practical and boring, or way too sexy. Not even sexy – just unimaginative, a ‘get it off, ASAP’ approach! But the main thing that struck me was that the fun had gone: there was no excitement in shopping for underwear anymore. I kept thinking, why does so much love go into creating a dress, but not underwear? Lingerie is the first layer of the day, it sets your mood – care should be taken over what you put next to your skin. I did some research into the lingerie industry and discovered that much of it is run by men. I wanted to bring back the fun, to create the kinds of romantic, flirty pieces that me and my friends wanted to wear. Just as important: they needed to be comfortable.



Today, the soft bra has become a movement, but in 2013 a lot of lingerie was just about making your boobs look bigger. Of course, if you want your boobs to look bigger, that’s fine – go for it! But with Love Stories, I want to encourage women to appreciate their body as it is. I’ve been wearing non-wired bras since I was a teenager, and I believe that if you feel comfortable, you feel confident, and you will look so much prettier as a result. Our Love Lace bralette, which was the first bra I designed, is still our best-selling style for that reason. I remember when I gave a friend an early sample to try, she came back a week later with the feedback: “This is like a holiday for your boobs!” I knew that that was how lingerie should make you feel: comfortable, relaxed, and pretty.  



‘Eclectic’ is an overused word, but it sums up my style. For me, it’s all about the combinations of materials, prints, colors, and references, whether taken from my travels, a children’s book, or perhaps a flower I saw on my morning walk to work. My creative process is the same, whether I’m designing a bra or interior schemes for our stores. Sometimes my style can be very clean; other times it can be very colorful and bold. I think perhaps where I differ from others is that I am not afraid to dare. I like to try weird colors or unusual combinations. Also: I’m a total hoarder. If I find half of a butterfly wing on a windowsill, I think to myself, I need to put this in a little box! I like to have things around me to inspire me, souvenirs of life.


I called the brand ‘Love Stories’ because I wanted it to be exactly that: a word-of-mouth label that builds relationships with and between our female lovers all over the world. Our brand isn’t fuelled by empty celebrity or influencer endorsement deals. It’s about a woman calling up her best friend and saying, ‘Listen, girl, you need to try this bra on!’     


Love Stories isn’t about perfection. I always like to have clashing elements in our lingerie, because it’s more realistic. I like a mix of sporty and feminine touches: athletic elastics with feminine ruffles, and bold leopard print with elegant lace. We have this mantra, ‘the perfect mismatch’. It’s about mixing up colors and shapes, and wearing different tops and bottoms. You can’t be this perfect person with coordinated underwear all the time. Besides, matching things is boring.


I’m not a supermom, and I don’t try to be one. I take the kids to school every morning, and I try to spend some quality time with them at the end of the day when I get home. But sometimes you just have to say ‘whatever’ and let the house be a mess. There is no magic formula for achieving a work-life balance, but I know to ask for help. I have made some stressed-out FaceTime calls in my time, checking in with the supermoms around me, asking, ‘How do you do this?!’ And I make time for family holidays, as we are lucky enough to have a holiday home in Sardinia. When we’re in Amsterdam, in the rat race, my children understand that I’m a mom with a job. But when we’re on holiday, I can give them lots of attention.


We’re coming up to the 10th anniversary of Love Stories, and I never imagined we would be this successful. Plotting 5-year plans, 10-year plans – I’m not that kind of girl. I think the pandemic year has taught us all that even the best-laid plans can go awry. And if you’re only looking at your plan, you forget to live in the moment. It’s important to be flexible and open to change. That said, we would love to expand in Asia, the US, and Australia. We would love to open more retail stores, our Houses of Love, and to explore what we can do in these retail spaces to connect with our Love Stories tribe. There are so many possibilities, and I’m so excited to see what the next decade brings.

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