London Fashion WeekÂ has kicked off (check out Yahoo Style UKâ€™s exclusive live coverage), and to help get it started, lingerie-clad women staged a catwalk show Thursday on one of Londonâ€™s biggest streets to celebrate body confidence.
Lingerie brand Bluebella recruited 19 fans of the brand to strut their stuff down Oxford Streetâ€™s makeshift catwalk dressed in nothing but their skimpy skivvies.
Participants in the â€œDare to Bareâ€ campaign included a physicianâ€™s assistant, a company boss, four students, two actors, a musician, two writers, and a fashion marketer.
Speaking about the campaign, Emily Bendell, Bluebellaâ€™s CEO, said it was a fun way to help promote body confidence and diversityÂ in the fashion industry.
â€œWe 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,â€ she said.
The brand put a call out on Instagram looking for models and was inundated with applicants.
â€œA lot of the women who posed had suffered from confidence issues in the past and saw this as a fun way of overcoming them,â€ Bendell continued. â€œAll 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.â€
Visual marketer Lexi Brown, 26, from Beckenham, Kent, had lost around 35 pounds after suffering from ulcerative colitis.
â€œThis was a great way to get some confidence back,â€ she said. â€œI was a little nervous, but it was brilliant fun.â€
Rachel Atherley-King, 23, a physiotherapy student at Brunel University in West London, thought posing would be a good way to prove sheâ€™d conquered her anxiety issues.
â€œIt was a confidence test for me,â€ she explained. â€œI 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 didnâ€™t do anything, and I thought this was a good way of properly testing if I have overcome them. I think I have!â€
The youngest model posing was Chilli McCormack, 18, a makeup worker from Stanford-le-Hope, Essex. She wanted to take part, as sheâ€™s been an admirer of the brandâ€™s ethos for a while.
â€œIâ€™ve loved Bluebella for a long time â€” it is all about empowering women, and its models always have strong, unique looks. It was a lot of fun, and peopleâ€™s reactions were great.â€
Bluebella, one of the worldâ€™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.
Itâ€™s not the first time a brand has staged a pre-LFW stunt to help promote body confidence. Last year,Â seven plus-size models put on a protest against the fashion industryâ€™s fixation on whatâ€™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 eventâ€™s obsession with size zero and called for models of more shapes, races, and sizes to be included in its runwayÂ 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.