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‘Everyday women’ proudly flaunt their scars, cellulite, stretchmarks AND hairy armpits

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Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
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Model Amey, 50, poses in her underwear as part of a campaign encouraging women to celebrate their bodies just as they are. Founder Hayat Rachi said: 'Neon Moon models unapologetically love themselves' Photo:
Model Amey, 50, poses in her underwear as part of a campaign encouraging women to celebrate their bodies just as they are. Founder Hayat Rachi said: ‘Neon Moon models unapologetically love themselves’ Photo:

A self-styled ‘feminist lingerie company’ has released a video urging women to love themselves this Valentine’s Day – flaws and all.

The one-minute clip is part of a campaign by British company Neon Moon that aims to ’empower women across the world to reclaim their bodies’.

It stars five models of different shapes, sizes and sexual orientations, aged from 19 to 50, dancing and proudly showing off their bodies in front of the camera – in the brand’s colourful, sporty underwear.

Model Izzy, 19, and 50-year-old Amey, are clad in orange, while Laura, 23, who identifies as asexual and agender, wears a yellow two-piece.

Modelling the dark blue set are Neon Moon founder Hayat Rachi, 26, and Robyn, 21.

Hayat said: ‘Our models all have a strong stance on self-love, whether be related to their sexuality, gender or body image.

‘Neon Moon models unapologetically love themselves and are reclaiming what society deems as “flaws” this Valentine’s Day.’

She added: ‘Our alternative campaign celebrates all that is airbrushed out of standard advertorials; scars, body hair, cellulite, stretch marks. We at Neon Moon encourage you to embrace every inch of yourself.’

Hayat said that she decided to volunteer in the video for the #NeonMoonCelebrateYou campaign to demonstrate ‘how important it is to celebrate that which society most wants to shame you for, armpit hair and all.’

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She added that they were keen to include models who were ‘LGBTQIA+’ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual, and other gender ‘sexual and romantic minority’).

The models also proudly sport scars, stretch marks, tattoos and armpit hair.

Hayat said: ‘We are proudly Photoshop-free, sweatshop-free, sexualisation-free, and objectification-free, proving that lingerie models can reflect everyday women without promoting harmful stereotypes.’

She added: ‘Getting women to celebrate themselves without guilt is hard. It’s so important that everyone celebrates themselves and love themselves this Valentine’s Day on top of having anyone else love them too.’
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Hayat has said in the past that she specifically asks her models not to groom, shave or pluck hair ahead of photo shoots, in order to show what a ‘real woman’ looks like.

Model Robyn told FEMAIL that she did the campaign because she ‘wanted to learn to love my scars and show other women that they can too.’

Speaking about her body, she said: ‘I am quite self-aware and know my body doesn’t necessarily conform to generic beauty standards as I am a bit chubby and have very visible scars, but I love it nonetheless.’

She added that feeling comfortable in her own skin had been a ‘gradual journey’, saying: ‘I had very low self-esteem when I was younger as I developed a lot faster than my peers and started self-harming at about age 12.

‘I am now 21 and have a positive view of the way I look but I still have the odd day where I feel I should be conforming to more generic beauty standards and obsess over my weight.’

Hayat Rachi used her life savings to found Neon Moon in 2014, hoping to provide stylish underwear for women of all shapes and sizes with sporty-looking sets which are free from cleavage-boosting padding or wiring.

She said she was inspired after getting fed-up with ‘sexualised’ underwear in stores.

After being accepted on to the Prince’s Trust’s year-long enterprise programme, she received mentorship and professional advice for free to develop her designs.

The lingerie – which comes in yellow, orange, green and blue – is made from sustainable bamboo fabric rather than lace and satin, as it moulds to the wearer’s body, and has antibacterial properties. Prices start at £35 for bras and £20 for briefs.

However, the designs have come under fire in the past. When Neon Moon debuted its first collection in 2015, people took to Facebook to blast the lingerie as ‘ugly’.

Sally Poulson wrote: ‘So “feminist underwear” is ugly, ill-fitting, and unsupportive? I think I’ll stick with the patriarchal, sexist stuff, thanks.’

Karen Teulon added: ‘It doesn’t empower me. There’s no support in those bras, I’d knock myself clean out if I tried running or jumping in one of them!’

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