Underargument: Lingerie brand that ‘blindly’ picks its models based on their stories, not their looks – fashion and trends

At this turning point in history, we are seeing a major change in the fashion industry when it comes to the representation of different types of people on mass media. To further shift the dynamic of online representation, Maïna Cissé, the founder of a lingerie brand ‘The Underargument’, has come up with a foolproof method of casting their models which guarantees diversity without being purposefully so. In 2018, she introduced the method of ‘anticasting’, in order to find new models for her lingerie website and the method is surprisingly unique and, in a sense, a blind selection procedure.

For identity // Against stereotypes collection

For identity // Against stereotypes collection
(
Instagram @theundergarment
)

Instead of looking at photographs of the models in question, Maïna Cissé requests the people who are interested to submit their stories to the website, on a theme of her choice. These themes range from what modern loving relationships entail, standing against stereotypes, supposed perfection, sexism and against conformity.

For identity // Against stereotypes collection

For identity // Against stereotypes collection
(
Instagram @theundergarment
)

Maïna Cissé’s focus is to establish individual identity rather than focusing primarily on shallow concepts such as the measurements of the person. Her selection is based on people’s very real experiences and their unique character and life stories, without considering how their bodies look. And as radical as this may sound in an industry that profits from the stereotypical skinny, white, and sensual portrayal of women, Cissé means to highlight, “that you are more than just a body, and your story is valuable.”

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It is also important to note that, ‘The Underargument’ does not mean to just tick boxes when it comes to catering to the diversity bracket. Their entire brand is built of the idea of uniqueness and nothing is exempt from that. Maïna Cissé also talks about the fine line between ‘embracing the diversity trend’, and actually representing real people, with very real bodies and requirements. “That killed me,” says Cissé, “because people are not trends and minorities are not trends, and people who don’t look like models are not trends.”

Cissé goes on to talk about how she receives almost 50 submissions a week and has over 40 different bra sizes featured in her collection and that she will be working to increase these numbers in the coming year.

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