Like some skivvies-based “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” ARQ has managed to achieve the truly miraculous: a single style of underwear that both conforms to and flatters every body shape.
“Most of the handful of people I was working with on production in L.A. told me they were ridiculous,” said Abigail Quist, the ARQ founder. “I was like, ‘No, these look and feel amazing, trust me.’”
A former ballet teacher, Ms. Quist founded the company in 2016. Initially she sold children’s clothing but pivoted to adult undergarments in 2018. The underwear’s uncanny fit was not achieved through rigorous testing. Rather, Ms. Quist sewed a pair for herself and loved them so much she decided to produce more.
She attributes ARQ’s comfort and fit to its bound-edge seams, an uncommon finish in underwear. Instead of elastic, the edges are fabric that is folded over and sewn through to create a hem.
Since 2018, growth has been swift. In 2020, ARQ did $7.5 million in gross sales, compared to $1 million in 2019, Ms. Quist said. No doubt the pandemic, in which people abandoned their regular clothing in favor of cozy tie-dye sweatsuits and nap dresses, played a role.