With 16 days to go, Hayat Rachi's Kickstarter campaign for her Neon Moon lingerie line has already exceeded its goal of raising 5,000 pounds. But can the self-described "British feminist lingerie brand" build success by being the antithesis of Sara Blakely's wildly successful Spanx brand, not by cinching the body in, but letting it all hang out?
Rachi, the 25-year-old-old Brit, got fed up with lingerie that sexualized its wearer. "Not everything is about being sexy or being objectified for the male gaze," she wrote on Kickstarter. To counter what she described as the "body-shaming, sexualised and objectifying lingerie" that was available, she designed her lingerie line without wiring, push-up or padding features, and she used models with underarm hair in the campaign.
"Feminist lingerie is not a privilege, it's a right," she wrote, adding, "I wish to change the lingerie industry by catering to women of all sizes, ethnicities, and body types, including women who embrace pubic, leg, and underarm hair."
Even "New Girl" actress Zooey Deschanel promoted Neon Moon on Facebook, which no doubt contributed to Rachi's Kickstarter success.
But not everyone's singing unreserved praises for the self-described "feminist lingerie" brand. Fashion blog Refinery29's Kelsey Miller argues that although New Moon purports to cater to "women of all sizes," they don't even fit the average size of a woman in the U.K.: size 16. (Neon Moon's sizing is U.K. 8 - 14 [U.S. 4 - 12].) Miller also took issue with Rachi's statement that she chose models that would show what "a real woman" looks like.
"[S]ize-2 women are real," writes Miller, "But, so are size-18 women. They exist, and they wear underwear, too. What good is a body-positive lingerie line if it ignores the vast majority of women it claims to serve?"
Rachi has indicated that she plans on expanding the sizing range of Neon Moon after the next round of funding. In the meantime, politics aside -- the lingerie biz is a good business to get into, if it serves the right niche: Forbes lists Spanx founder and creator Sara Blakely with a net worth of $1.1 billion.