As regular readers will know, I like to share things that catch my eye and a recent email about feminist body positive lingerie was certainly going to do that! The founder of a new lingerie company called Neon Moon – supported by the Prince’s Trust and currently fundraising on Kickstarter – got in touch with me and I have to say that it was great to hear from someone entering the lingerie industry who is trying to do something a bit different. So many press releases just seem to be saying the same thing, over and over again, so it’s refreshing to see a cute bra alongside armpit hair and bright briefs next to cellulite. Neon Moon Founder Hayat Rachi, who got fed up with seeing young women define their success by how much attention they received from the male gaze, wants girls to reject the view that they have to be one size, one colour, or conform to only one look in the lingerie industry. This is not just about diversity as a trend; it’s about helping young people feel comfortable in their bodies.
The thing that stood out the most to me about Neon Moon from the email I was sent, is the striking imagery – yay for women of colour and realistic, rather than glamorous, poses! – and also its body positive message. I wasn’t entirely sure that underwear can ‘fight objectification’ in a broader sense, but completely agree that the lingerie industry needs a kick up the arse, so the more people willing to champion diversity in all its forms the better! I know that Who Made Your Pants? have recently been exploring non-sexual ways to photograph their gorgeous undies so it’s really good to see more people giving consumers other options. However, just how empowering can photos of women in their pants really be? Well, perhaps more so than I first realised. Initially I was surprised that models in nothing but underwear could challenge people’s perception, but then I realised that (a) the skin and flesh of our bodies isn’t actually inherently sexual, and (b) the poses in these images are what might traditionally be considered unflattering. These are two women who are just hanging out and chatting in a really unselfconscious way. If even a handful of young people see that they are not ‘weird’, that there are different types of bodies and the vast majority of them have imperfections, maybe underwear can make a difference?
Following on from Hayat’s interview with Jeanna Kadlec for the Bluestockings Boutique Blog, I also asked her about her desire to ensure that Neon Moon is trans and nonbinary inclusive – as this is a subject area of particular academic interest to me at the moment – and how this sits with her brand’s use of the word ‘girl’.
I think there’s a stigma attached to the word girl. I want to empower the word and show that, just because you call yourself a girl, it doesn’t mean you’re weak or less of a person. That’s why I say in the kickstarter video that a father, mother, son or daughter can be a #NeonMoonGirl. […] It’s encompassing of how I intend to bring feminism to the table, and also how Neon Moon is LGBT and nonbinary friendly as they may require more stretch in the lingerie, a new option, or just a brand that doesn’t believe in the notion of ‘perfection’ or matching society’s standard of ‘beauty’ which the Mon Dieu collection provides.
Neon Moon underwear is made in Britain from soft bamboo jersey fabric with three bra shapes and simple bikini style briefs in coordinating colours. Once the Kickstarter phase is complete, there are plans to expand the S-M-L sizing range, and Hayat also aims to speak to more Neon Moon Girls and find out what else they want from the brand. It’s a really interesting concept and I’m so pleased to see that the funding goal has already been reached. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next with Neon Moon.