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Play Out Wants To Talk, Not Shock
Posted by Lingerie Talk | May 22, 2015

Play Out Underwear of New York continues to promote a dialogue about gender with a new marketing video that is meant to tease people into thinking about their own identity, sexual or otherwise.

The video, titled ‘Wear What Makes You Feel Like You‘, is a funky parade of dancing underwear models whose gender and sexual orientation is often unclear. It all leads up to a seductive kiss between androgynous model Rain Dove and a blonde companion named Nora.

There’s nothing very shocking about it, or even new, but that’s the point. Play Out is less interested in gender-bending than gender-blending, and it’s moved beyond the tired approach of trying to jolt viewer sensibilities with depictions of same-sex or alternative lifestyles.

What they give us instead is the new normal (at least for young people), where gender boundaries are meaningless distinctions and the broad spectrum of sexual preferences is thoroughly desegregated. If you can’t figure out where these models fit on that spectrum, who cares? A kiss, ultimately, is still just a kiss.

“Open to viewer interpretation whether they’re seeing a male-female couple or a female-female couple, Play Out asks viewers to re-evaluate how individuals are labeled and to embrace a landscape without gender borders,” the company says in a press release.

The video, directed by Lingerie Talk contributor Thorsten Roth and featuring EDM beats by Liam Alden, is meant to “inspire everyone to feel comfortable in their own skin, no matter their gender (or even if they don’t identify with a gender), and in turn, feel comfortable in their most intimate garments,” according to Play Out co-founder Abby Sugar.

The video dovetails very nicely with the body-positivity and self-acceptance narrative that has engulfed the fashion industry this year, although it applies that framework to the increasingly complicated world of gender identity politics.

A queer label that has been trying to reach outside the LGBTQ community (and market) since its launch last year, Play Out‘s mission, in its own words, is to push the boundaries and “continue the conversation on gender norms,” using the film’s “gender-blurring” kiss scene as a starting point.

How’s that for a new twist on fashion marketing? Most designer undie labels want to get you out of your clothes and into bed. Play Out just wants to get you talking.


The brand’s new film is one half of a double-barrelled promotional effort for its spring-summer collection, the other part being its exceptional photo series featuring “bilaterally flat” women who underwent double mastectomies without prostheses or follow-up breast construction (and which we wrote about here).

And, unlike the video, this photo series delivers a profound shock to senses and sensibilities. The campaign uses “real” models and was created to support FlatTopper Pride, a new breast cancer support community for LGBTQ individuals. It’s almost impossible to view the revolutionary pictures without reconsidering your assumptions about femininity, self-acceptance, courage and even beauty.

Once again, how’s that for a new twist on selling underwear?

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