The women’s underwear market has to be one of the most blatantly sexist and problematic branches of the fashion industry. The majority of campaigns objectify women by expressing femininity as overtly sexual, one-dimensional and unintelligent. Pictured below is a typical example of the body that we grown accustomed to seeing spread across fashion magazines and billboards, its specific shape and proportions appearing tirelessly creating a mold into which all women should supposedly fit.
Lovable campaign 2010. Image source http://www.popsugar.com.au/fashion/Jennifer-Hawkins-stars-Lovable-new-sexy-Summer-campaign-10366747
Even the underwear itself aims to construct a specific form whether it be a heavily padded push up bra or stomach flattening shape wear. This is of course not a new phenomenon with the corset being worn in Victorian times to re-shape the body to express a specific femininity (Brewis: Tsaousi 2011).
One underwear brand deciding to instead celebrate women’s diversity, depth and natural form is New Zealand based Lonely. The brand, started in 2009 by Helen Morris and her partner Steve Ferguson was born out of the motto “no padding, no pushup, no thongs” and aimed to create underwear that was comfortable and celebrated a more diverse image of femininity (Syfret 2015).
“We simply wanted to offer the idea that it’s okay to be yourself”- Helen Morris 2016
Images from Lonley Girls Project. Image source https://lonelylabel.com/girls
The Lonely Girls Project is a large part of Lonelys Brand identity and their way of keeping their marketing real, diverse and empowering. A photographer meets with women in their home or everyday environment and captures raw un-retouched portraits of them in their Lonely underwear (Bala 2015). The resulting series is a beautiful and refreshing celebration of femininity and a far cry from sexed up, retouched and over posed images we have come to accept as a norm. Morris says of the brand that it is “For women who wear lingerie as a love letter to themselves”.
Bala, Divya. 2015. “Lingerie’s Quiet New Rebellion” Vogue Magazine 28 September 2015. Accessed 1 October 2016.http://www.vogue.co.uk/gallery/lonely-lingerie-brand-profile-interview