OK, so I know the latter part of January is probably the worst time to do a blog post about shopping. We’re all skint after Christmas and the sales, payday still feels like a very long way away and, somehow, we’re still stuck in the never-ending darkness of January.
But wait! This month can’t last forever! And, at some point this year, we will be in a position to buy some new stuff. So bookmark this post for when that time comes.
Growing up as a teen in the 90s and early noughties it felt like I was always confronted by one image of beauty. The trend back then was the heroine chic look, Kate Moss style bodies with thigh gaps and collarbones showing. It was the Nicole Richies and Paris Hiltons who held the market, and even in my beloved copies of J-17 magazine, the models all kind of looked the same.
That’s not to say those types of bodies are wrong – if they’re your natural shape. Far from it. But wouldn’t it be great to see a more diverse range of shapes, colours and textures in the pages of our favourite magazines and on the billboards showcasing our favourite brands?
It feels like 2019 might be the year this finally becomes a reality. More and more brands are realising the benefits of using a wide range of people in their advertising. They’re understanding that we can’t all relate to a woman under the age of 25 and a size 6, for example. Sure, there’ll be many who do look like those girls, but showing their products on a wider range of models (and not just models either – “regular” people too) can only mean reaching a bigger audience. Which is a good thing.
When it comes to body image, I don’t think it’s as simple a case of just blaming the brands or the media for only showing us one kind of body. I’ve seen arguments about getting to the “root cause” of the problem, but the truth is the “root cause” is complex.
It’s society as a whole, the ingrained nature of diet culture and fatphobia, along with the lack of diversity in magazines on TV and in big brand campaigns. It’s history, economics and culture all rolled into one.
Mix that with the constantly changing landscape of social media and the roll of influencers and celebrity and it quickly becomes a tangled web of toxic messages and confusion. But the blame for these toxic messages, and the responsibility for fixing them can’t just lie with one person or area or brand. We all have a role to play if anything is to change.
Which is why I wanted to applaud some of the heroes in the field and share some of the brands doing their bit to offer something a bit different.
Describing itself as, “Ethical, body positive and fun” Molke is a brand I can completely get behind. Their designs are bright and great for people wanting to inject a bit of colour and a smile into their pants drawer. They do bras, pants and pin badges, refreshingly showcasing their wares on a whole range of models.
2. Bloomin’ Sexy
This brand is the headline sponsor for the event I’m co-hosting in London next month, The Confidence Lab, and one I’m proud to shout about. If you’re looking for an alternative to cycling shorts under skirts in the summer then look no further. Bloomin’ Sexy offers beautiful anti-chafe underwear made from soft satin, tulle and lace. I’ve got a pair in my knicker drawer and can confirm they are also sooooo comfy.
3. Lonely Lingerie
Continuing on the pants theme, Lonely Label do lingerie, swimwear and clothing. The designs are stylish, colourful and delicately pretty and, importantly, they have a diverse range of women modelling them. I love that they use an older woman in their campaigns too, a nod to the fact it’s not just women under the age of 25 who want to wear nice pants.
4. Stay Wild Swim
Stay Wild Swim make swimwear crafted from ocean plastic, which explains the pricey cost. But not only is their swimwear super ethical, they show it off in a beautifully positive way. I love that they don’t edit out the stretchmarks or cellulite on their models and that they use a variety of different shaped models.
4. Savage X Fenty
Designed by Rihanna, the popstar describes the Savage X line as, “About respect. Do what you do. Be unapologetically you. Embrace individuality.” Which is exactly the ethos she championed in her runway show at New York Fashion Week last September. The show was hailed as an “Incredibly stunning inclusive celebration of womanhood” by Harper’s Bazaar. So, basically the exact opposite of the Victoria’s Secret show.
6. Lucky Sew and Sew
Described as, “Hand crafted lingerie and apparel for badass babes”, Lucky Sew and Sew can be found on Etsy selling beautifully unique designs at affordable prices. It’s a far cry from the standard size 6, age 23 model wearing the designs, too. Which is a thing of beauty.
7. Mannerswear London
Bright, unique, figure-hugging. Mannerswear London designs are about celebrating the female shape in all it’s glory. Forget what you’ve been told about hiding your shape under baggy folds of clothing, this brand shows that you can wear a bodycon style whatever your body looks like.