Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Diversity in Lingerie

There is a fantastic discussion happening right now in the blogosphere about diversity being represented (or not represented) in the Lingerie Industry.  What kind of diversity?  Portrayal of women as strong/confident/self-assured rolemodels instead of sex objects; plus sized women; women with very large or very small bra/cup sizes; women of varying ethnicities, skin tones, religions, sexual orientations, ages, abilities, heights, weights... and on and on and on.

While this is primarily an issue that is currently being outted targeted by bloggers, I want our customers to know that we as a brand are taking a stand as well!  Lingerie is not just for women who are heterosexual, white-anglo-saxon-protestant, 18-year-old, 5'10, size 4, and wear a size 34B bra!  Many of my valued customers are anything but this rag-tag list of what the mainstream fashion industry perceives as the standard of beauty and buying power.  From the very start of the brand, I've always tried to represent that in Angela Friedman lingerie.

I'll start by confessing something that most brands don't like to talk about:  I use Photoshop.  I do.  I'm not going to lie about it.  Unfortunately, "imperfect" women don't tend to sell.  But guess what?  I'm going to let you in on a few secrets (a.k.a. the good news!):
1.  Models without blemishes, models who have itty-bitty waists and round pert breasts with tiny pink nipples, models who have impossibly long legs...  They don't really totally exist.  Occasionally?  Sure.  But for the most part, it's all pretend.
2.  About half of the photoshopping I do is to make models appear bigger.  Bumping out the hips to fill out a panty line, adding bulk to the sides of the arms, fattening thin calves, etc...  It's all pretty typical.
3.  The other half is mostly comprised of adjusting white balance/contrast/colors/etc to flatter the model, brightening up the eyes, and removing distractions like stray hairs and objects in the background.  The good news is that doing these things to almost any photo of yourself will result in a photo that is "modeling worthy".

Don't believe me?  I'm going to be super brave and show you an unflattering photo of myself to prove it, splotchy complexion and all!  Take a look at my Photoshop comparison, done below.  (Note, I have only edited the things I mentioned in item #3!  This is only adjusting colors/contrast, brightening eyes, and removing distractions - much less the million other changes I could make to bone structure, neck length, hairstyle, etc etc etc.  Is this beginning to make sense?)

Just a brief illustration of how quickly and easily a little Photoshopping can change a normal person...  If 5 minutes of clicking can do this to me, imagine what 10 minutes of clicking can do to a model!  Something to keep in mind...


While this is by no means a comprehensive list, and while even my little independent brand still has a long way to go in the area of diversifying...  I think we have a decent start!  So, just as a brief shout-out to all of my wonderful, beautiful, and diverse clientele, here are some photos that illustrate our version of Diversity in Lingerie:
One of our most successful fashion editorials, photo by Al Rodriguez
Our beautiful model is half Croatian and half Chinese

From my first lingerie show for SS13: The Versailles Collection, photo by Reto Sterchi
The age range of my models spans 20 years!  I'm not even exaggerating a little.

The Lingerie Alliance Launch Party and Fashion Show, photo by Luis Salazar
We've featured Asian models at almost every one of our shows

This sassy photo of model Michelle needs no Photoshopping!

From our SS13 Lookbook, photo by Al Rodriguez
Beautiful model Bianca Alexander has been with us from the start- and below, her sister joined us for a presentation show too!

From our AW13 fashion show, presented at the Wear New York launch party, photo by Guest of a Guest

A recent photo shoot with darling friend The Lingerie Lesbian

And my favorite Jewish Brooklynite!

5'2 and tattooed?  No problem!

I hope you all have enjoyed seeing our little contribution to #DiversityinLingerie.  Check out some of our other favorite folks on the Net who've written about the topic as well:

Comment time:  Who else is talking about these issues?  What other links should I include?  What am I missing out on in my diversity-portfolio?  Who else should I be including?  I'd love to hear your comments, darlings!

Wishing you silk, lace, diversity, and all things lovely,
Angela Friedman

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