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A new, limited edition line of underwear by fashion brand Monki is patterned with a written message for wearers: "Only I define myself. I am smart, I am strong, I am brave. My body is beautiful. I love the skin I'm in. I am worthy of love. I deserve to feel happy. I am confident. I am unique. I love ME."
The sentences are printed in reverse, so the wearer can read them when looking in a mirror. While those positive affirmations can be powerful for anyone to absorb, Monki is specifically considering those with — or at risk of developing — body dysmorphic disorder. People with BDD become highly preoccupied with what they perceive as flaws in their physical appearance. That fixation can become so intense and all-consuming that it interferes with relationships, social life, education and work.
Monki's BDD line was developed in partnership with the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation to raise awareness about the disorder, which is underdiagnosed and often overlooked. In 2021, the H&M-owned brand successfully worked with BDDF to petition the EU Parliament for transparency on altered images on social media. Companies and influencers are now legally required to disclose that photos have been manipulated for paid content online.
Through unrealistic — and frequently photoshopped — beauty ideals, fashion brands have long contributed to feelings of low self-esteem among the audiences they target. Or worse, to body dysmorphic disorder, which is estimated to affect one in fifty people. Some labels are now aiming to undo that harm.
Monki isn't just working with the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation on limited edition lingerie, but is taking a holistic approach to its stated mission of 'empowering young women.' For example, the brand clearly expresses its retouching policy: "Sometimes we'll remove a pimple, some mascara guck or stray hairs – things that are there one day and gone the next. But we never EVER reshape bodies."
When it comes to genuine efforts to embed ideals into commerce, one-off campaigns won't cut it. So dig in for the long haul :)
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