You could be forgiven for thinking Friday’s edition of The Social, Canada’s daytime talk show, was just an April Fool’s Day gag. Not because the three women co-hosts were talking about lingerie, but because they were slagging a UK indie brand that is challenging traditional approaches to underwear sizing.
But it was no joke.
The object of the TV panel’s scorn was Neon Moon, the year-old Brit brand that recently gained media attention for changing its garment sizes.
Rather than label its bras and panties as small, medium or large, Neon Moon calls its sizes Lovely, Gorgeous and Beautiful as a way of making the experience of measuring yourself a bit less stressful and more body-positive. The company provides a numerical chart to help shoppers make sense of the new categories.
“Is this progressive or is it a tad patronizing?” TV host Cynthia Loyst asked as she kicked off the panel discussion. Cue the pile-on.
“Annoying!” exclaimed co-host Lainey Lui. “It’s an added step to the shopper … I don’t need an added step.”
“Absurb!” added Jess Allen. “I feel it’s already stressful enough trying to shop.”
“Confused!” chimed in Cynthia.
But that wasn’t the end of the panel’s dismissal of Neon Moon. The young Brit label debuted last year with the provocative slogan “feminist lingerie” and uses a widely diverse cast of unretouched models to promote its collection.
“This company sort of markets itself as a self-described ‘feminist’ lingerie brand. It’s another example of misusing the word ‘feminist’,” offered Jess. “I don’t understand how eliminating conventional sizing, which is enjoyed by all genders … what that has to do with gender equality?”
“Lingerie can’t really be feminist. It’s underwear, right?” agreed Cynthia, who praised Neon Moon‘s inclusive photo shoots but called its approach to sizes “a bit ridiculous.”
You can watch the full show here. The 3½-minute segment begins around 7:15 on the April 1 video.
For those unfamiliar with the show, The Social is Canada’s most-watched homegrown daytime talk show. Patterned after The View, but skewing younger, its four-women panel (one was absent Friday) is typically well-informed and keen to tackle weightier topics than just the usual fare of fashion, food and celebrity news that dominates American shows. In the past, its panel has been highly supportive of issues related to diversity and inclusion in fashion and media.
A background article about the issue was posted on The Social‘s Facebook page, referring to Neon Moon‘s size categories as “feminine euphemisms.”
Dozens of FB commenters joined the chorus, calling Neon Moon‘s approach “condescending,” “crazy” and “just plain stupid.” Several FB posters thought the entire discussion was an April Fool’s joke, while one wit called it “the lame, lamer, lamest idea ever.”
Neon Moon has been in the crosshairs of controversy ever since its launch, thanks to its disruptive marketing (a recent photo campaign included a transgender model) and its forceful criticisms of the mainstream lingerie industry by founder Hayat Rachi.
It established its unique size categories because “your self-worth is not defined by any number on a measuring tape,” the company says in its online size guide.
“Beauty is not a size,” it adds in a recent Facebook post. “At Neon Moon we refuse to conform to harmful and misleading size guides and instead want to empower women to see beyond their label to the beauty within.”
Hayat said she wasn’t surprised to hear that some Canadian TV stars just don’t understand why the labels attached to underwear sizing can be damaging.
“Our supporters inspire us at Neon Moon, and we are always looking to cater to them and create a safe space for everyone,” she told Lingerie Talk on Friday. “People who have suffered from an eating disorder, or find measuring triggering, are often excluded from online lingerie brands and feel even worse because of it.
“Instead of excluding the minority we want to be inclusive to all and do so with our unique and initial sizing of Lovely, Gorgeous and Beautiful!
“We also size people over email too, without any use for measuring tapes or tables. Our size guide begins with a mindful note to all of our supporters and we are proud to provide them with our incredible body positive outlook and empowering affirmations.”
The new size categories have provoked “a mix of responses,” Hayat added, calling public interest in the issue “fantastic.”
“We must be doing something right to stir up such a debate,” she noted.
Neon Moon recently unveiled the first few monochrome styles (top photo, above) in its #ShadesOfYou line, which adds to its catalogue of unpadded, wire-free stretch undergarments.