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wwd: the ‘lingerie revolution’

Highlights from les girls les boys founder Serena Rees’ conversation with WWD about a new message for new times, sustainability, and being the true you.

In the past two decades, lingerie has markedly evolved, especially in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement and its legacy that paved the way for a new wave of feminism, represented by young Millennials and Gen Z embodying new gender dynamics, social codes and value systems.

Serena Rees, founder of London-based Les Girls Les Boys, points to a cultural shift happening on a broader scale of which new trends in the lingerie sector are just a byproduct. “We’re not ticking boxes here; we’re about being honest, real, we say unfiltered,” Rees noted. “It’s not just fashion, it’s also media, the way we live, the way we work, technology, all of those things really affect how we live in different societies and different times in history,” she said. “It’s really more of an attitude and social change and having one’s finger on the pulse of social and economic and political change.”

As a cofounder of Agent Provocateur in the 1990s, Rees coauthored the book “Agent Provocateur: A Celebration of Femininity” exploring the evolution of underwear across various decades and noted that in the ’90s something cracked. “We were sort of saying, ‘Hey, women don’t be afraid of your sexuality, you own it, it’s yours, you do with it what you want.’ But what we were not saying was to take off all your clothes, show everybody everything, put it all over the internet because essentially that is what happened next,” she contended.

“That message went too far, and it got misconstrued and got taken to a crazy level,” reaching a peak in 2015 and 2016 with lingerie brands “essentially pushing an ideal image and way for young people to behave that was actually dangerous for the next society of young people,” she observed.

Rees described Les Girls Les Boys as a “social experiment” in that it manages to translate what’s going on in society. “A year [after founding] we had the #MeToo movement…and people did realise that they didn’t have to be this sort of idealised perfect image,” she said.

“It’s for girls or boys, or boys or girls, or girls that think they’re boys or boys that think they’re girls or [who] don’t really know it and it doesn’t actually matter,” she explained. “The best you can ever be is to be you….It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to look ‘TikTok fabulous’,” she said.

In Rees’ view, sustainability also comes down to providing quality products that are manufactured locally at a reasonable price. “It was kind of getting silly, you can buy a pair of ladies underwear for $450, it’s kind of stupid. I believe we can make a sustainable product, fairly locally, in sustainable fabrics and in a way that really looks after the staff and people that are working there,” she offered.

Read the full article at WWD.

Les Girls Les Boys

Les Girls Les Boys

Writer and expert