When it comes to lingerie’s complicated relationship with feminism, more often than not it can seem that brands fail to practice what they preach. While female empowerment and the reclamation of sexuality from the male gaze may be trending, finding underwear that’s both comfortable, beautiful, and stocked in a range of sizes can still seem a near impossible task.
New Zealand-based underwear label Lonely may be pushing a feminist-forward message, but don’t assume they're trying to cash in on the fight for equal rights. Founded by women for women, with the slogan ‘for women who wear lingerie as a love letter to themselves’, Lonely’s latest campaign sees Dazed 100 star Arvida Byström, Me and You co-founder Mayan Toledano, photographer/stylist Zara Mirkin and body positive pioneer Paloma Elsesser embark on a Californian road trip on a quest for female friendship.
Intentionally casting Byström and Elsesser to be inclusive of both body diversity and women who bare a strong social message in their day-to-day lives, Mirkin hopes the images inspire beyond the stereotypical – sometimes seedy – sexualisation of the advertising industry.
“After working in fashion for so long you get to the point that you need more than just a pretty face. Paloma and Arvida are such perfect role models for woman today. As well as being totally stunning they are such inspiring people with what they do, and the energy they possess is really powerful. They are the muses of today and the future,” she says.
The result plays out more like a personal photo album than advertising campaign, with Byström, Elsesser and the whole team approaching the project as if it were an actual holiday, forming IRL friendships as a result of the trip. “I can't stop looking at Palomas pretty face! I also know there is so much wisdom there,” Byström says of her co-star, while Elsesser points to emphasising her love for Toledano’s inclusive approach to photography. “Her adoration towards women of all kinds is really reflected in the way she takes photos. Real, honest images that show the beauty in difference. Femininity captured in a way that is not only modern but also timeless,” she says.