Lingerie brand turns London street into a body-confidence catwalk

Lingerie brand Bluebella staged a catwalk on Oxford Street to celebrate body confidence. (Photo: Bluebella)

London Fashion Week has kicked off (check out Yahoo Style UK’s exclusive live coverage), and to help get it started, lingerie-clad women staged a catwalk show Thursday on one of London’s biggest streets to celebrate body confidence.

Lingerie brand Bluebella recruited 19 fans of the brand to strut their stuff down Oxford Street’s makeshift catwalk dressed in nothing but their skimpy skivvies.

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Participants in the “Dare to Bare” campaign included a physician’s assistant, a company boss, four students, two actors, a musician, two writers, and a fashion marketer.

Speaking about the campaign, Emily Bendell, Bluebella’s CEO, said it was a fun way to help promote body confidence and diversity in the fashion industry.

“We have a history of shoots demonstrating both our commitment to celebrating diversity in beauty and of celebrating the city around us, and this was the most exciting yet,” she said.

The brand put a call out on Instagram looking for models and was inundated with applicants.

The women wore nothing but lingerie. (Photo: Bluebella)

“A lot of the women who posed had suffered from confidence issues in the past and saw this as a fun way of overcoming them,” Bendell continued. “All the women were amazing on the day. We only had 26 seconds for each take while the green man was flashing, so we had to be super-quick. We had a fantastic response from the public, who were cheering all the girls. The girls perfectly represented our diverse and sassy Instagram family, and they all looked incredible.”

The catwalk was put on ahead of the launch of London Fashion Week. (Photo: Bluebella)

Visual marketer Lexi Brown, 26, from Beckenham, Kent, had lost around 35 pounds after suffering from ulcerative colitis.

“This was a great way to get some confidence back,” she said. “I was a little nervous, but it was brilliant fun.”

Rachel Atherley-King, 23, a physiotherapy student at Brunel University in West London, thought posing would be a good way to prove she’d conquered her anxiety issues.

“It was a confidence test for me,” she explained. “I wanted to see if I had the guts to stand in the middle of London in my underwear. I have had anxiety issues in the past where I didn’t do anything, and I thought this was a good way of properly testing if I have overcome them. I think I have!”

The “models” brought Oxford Street to a standstill. (Photo: Bluebella)

The youngest model posing was Chilli McCormack, 18, a makeup worker from Stanford-le-Hope, Essex. She wanted to take part, as she’s been an admirer of the brand’s ethos for a while.

“I’ve loved Bluebella for a long time — it is all about empowering women, and its models always have strong, unique looks. It was a lot of fun, and people’s reactions were great.”

Bluebella, one of the world’s fastest-growing lingerie labels, raised $1.3 million through crowdfunding last year to drive rapid global expansion, particularly in the United States. Emily Bendell got the idea for Bluebella when she was studying at Oxford University and struggled to find fashion-led luxe lingerie at affordable prices.

It’s not the first time a brand has staged a pre-LFW stunt to help promote body confidence. Last year, seven plus-size models put on a protest against the fashion industry’s fixation on what’s often perceived as unhealthy thinness.

Ahead of London Fashion Week SS18, seven diverse models, including plus-size model Iskra Lawrence and disabled model Kelly Knox, gathered to protest the event’s obsession with size zero and called for models of more shapes, races, and sizes to be included in its runway shows.

The aim was to help challenge the size-6-and-below body ideal and promote confidence and self-respect, regardless of body shape and size.

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