Canada’s Fortnight Lingerie has built a solid international reputation for its sleek, minimalist, impeccably crafted undergarments. But in its hometown of Toronto, the small indie brand is also a fixture of the city’s busy ‘maker’ community, a loose network of millennial creatives, artisans and DIY entrepreneurs who provide both a market and a sympathetic support base for others like themselves.
Fortnight acknowledged the importance of that community last year when it launched a series of blog articles called ‘Leading Ladies’, which showcases other Toronto women who are pursuing unconventional dreams. The series so far has profiled an artisanal jewellery maker, a yoga studio founder, a filmmaker and the creator of a holistic skincare line — passionate, values-driven women committed to expressing their authentic selves through art and business. Much of the photography that accompanies the series is shot by Arden Wray, another Toronto artist known for her much-loved Boots and Pine photo blog that celebrates hometown hipsters.
For a small company like Fortnight, which began 7 years ago in a closet-sized sewing room in Toronto’s garment district, finding a supportive community of likeminded feminist dreamers among its own customer base has been vital to its growth and brand development.
“Over the years, we’ve discovered a sort of sisterhood amongst women when it comes to what we wear under our clothes,” Fortnight founder Christina Remenyi wrote last year when introducing the ‘Leading Ladies’ series. “Even though we may feel or desire different things, the conversation surrounding lingerie creates a unique bond of femininity, vulnerability and empowerment all at the same time.”
Many other lingerie brands — notably New Zealand’s Lonely, and American brands like Dear Kate and Negative — have noticed (and capitalized on) the same thing: how something as basic as underwear can be functional and stylish but also express a set of communal values and shared characteristics beyond fashion. In that context, underwear becomes a kind of tribal costume that identifies wearers to each other — and acknowledging and embracing that tribe is one of the surest ways a young label can find its footing in a crowded marketplace.
For its Spring-Summer 2017 collection, Fortnight went beyond just acknowledging its community to enlisting help from some members of Toronto’s creative tribe.
The centrepiece of the new lingerie collection is a custom ‘nude doodle’ print that was hand-drawn by Toronto artist Kathryn Macnaughton, whose colourful oversize paintings frequently incorporate references to female curves.
The collection is called ‘Fluid Forms’ and both Macnaughton’s print and her dramatic canvases are put on full display in the photo campaign that accompanies the collection. You can see the print in the pale pink Willow bodysuit (above) and compare it to the original artwork shown in the main photo at the top of this article.
Spring will also see the introduction of Fortnight’s first swimwear line, a five-piece capsule collection of matte black styles based on the brand’s figure-hugging lingerie staples. Fortnight’s well-crafted power-mesh bodies have always resembled bathing suits, so it’s no surprise that the company says its new suits are “created for land and water” and “blur the lines between swim and all-day wear.”
To promote its first swim line, Fortnight turned to another local collaborator, artist Drea Scotland, who shot the photo campaign (above) called ‘Sibling Honeymoon’ and who also photographed the brand’s AW 2016-17 campaign.
The new lingerie collection is available in stores and online now, while the swim line is expected in mid-February. Now here’s more of the artsy ‘Fluid Forms’ photoshoot, with credits below.
CREDITS: ‘Fluid Forms’ was photographed by Carlyle Routh with model Nola Palmer.