Today a guest post from Jane Hollier. Jane, 23, is nearing the end of her Media degree at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, and describes herself as “passionate about communicating with teenagers and young women about the importance of self-respect and a healthy body image”. I’m thinking you’ll see more from Jane on the MTR blog in future.
Why the words children and lingerie should never go together
The sartorial world has never been one to shy away from making a statement. Controversy and clothing seem go hand-in-hand; even your “Average Joe” would be familiar with the name, Thylane Blondeau. But while fashionistas shut their eyes, cover their ears and cry out “Its irony! Its satire! It’s a statement,” a fashion line for children that’s more disturbing than Blondeau’s portfolio has managed to slip through the cracks.
Jours Aprés Lunes’ “loungerie” is a collection of sexy underwear for kids; specifically for 4 to 12 year old girls. The designer of the collection, Sophie Morin, has been in the lingerie industry for over 15 years and has worked for a handful of adult-aimed underwear fashion giants, including Victoria’s Secret. You don’t need more than a quick glance at the range to see how Morin’s experience with lingerie has greatly influenced her collection for kids. According to the French label’s website (if you dare to look), the range is based on the “codes of lingerie, such as ribbons, croquet, giant knot, lace, frills, flounces.” Or in other words, the fashion industry has found yet another way to portray children as sexualised play-things.
The label goes on to describe itself as “an innovative brand and unexpected in the current landscape of teenage and children’s fashion.”
“Unexpected” is one way to describe it. “Sinister” is probably more accurate.
But it’s not just the lace and adult nature of the underwear that gets you. It’s seeing little girls sprawled across lounge chairs with their hair made up in bouffants, makeup heavily done and wearing lacy underwear, that really makes you sick to your stomach. One girl kneels on a lounge, hugs a giant teddy bear, and wears nothing but Bridget Bardot hair, nude-coloured underwear and a “come hither” look on her face. Another girl is sprawled on a recliner, her midriff bare and arms behind her back in a pose way beyond her years. To remind you: these girls are no older than 12-years-old, some looking as young as five.
The purposeful adult styling of the shoot is so obvious and so disconcerting that if the fashion world cries “irony” this time no one will listen. The industry has been unmonitored and allowed to do whatever they like for too long. Blondeau was evidence enough of that, push-up bikinis aimed at primary school kids exemplifies it further , while a bra that promises to increase your teenage daughter’s breasts by at least two cup sizes proves that the objectification and sexualisation of girls is not just issue we’ve made up in our heads. But Jours Aprés Lunes has taken it ten steps too far.
We can tut and tisk and shake our heads in disbelief, but for how long are we going to let the fashion industry get away with it? Exactly how far will we let them go before they will be held accountable for the negative implications that stem directly from their wildly inappropriate sartorial spreads? Because if there were ever two words that should never be seen next to – or anywhere near – each other, its children and lingerie.