“Femininity and comfort in a sexualised market” The new lingerie brand not made for the male gaze

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Penelope Travers

What do you think of when you think of lingerie? Perhaps a push-up bra that’ll show off your cleavage better, or lace pants that’ll make you look sexier. On the other side of the spectrum, you might be thinking of Bridget Jones-style control pants.

But try and imagine something in the middle and chances are your mind might draw a blank. Why? Because a quick look at lingerie shops shows most underwear is made to either please men by changing the way our bodies look, or be comfortable, and therefore not the least bit appealing.

Now a Hong Kong designer Marie Yat is trying to change all that by creating lingerie that’s “finding a balance between femininity and comfort in the face of a lingerie market that only seeks to sexualise.”

She started working on her label MARIEYAT as soon as she graduated from Central Saint Martins, after she realised she couldn’t find underwear that was both comfortable enough to wear every day and stylish in an unconventional way.

marie yat lingerie

"Finding a balance between femininity and comfort in the face of a lingerie market that only seeks to sexualise"

As well as focusing on style and comfort, Yat is blending the lines between feminine and masculine by offering unisex designs.

“We are designing for women who identify themselves outside of the mainstream characteristics of lingerie,” she told Dazed, “One of the core ideas of the label is to combine the delicate details of lingerie and the relaxing feel of a piece of unisex underwear. Whether it should be restricted to being gender-specific or not, is entirely up to the perceiver.”

The designer explained she took inspiration from both real women and those portrayed in Chinese erotic art, “In terms of research, I have been exploring women in Chinese erotic art and images of women that show the truth about our bodies – like stretch marks, scars and bruises, which I find intriguing and beautiful.”

She added she also looked to today’s web-obsessed culture, “I have also explored a lot of Asian youth and internet culture – in particular among women. What interests me in particular is the strong community of the virtual world via internet. To me it seems like they are in search of something they could not find in the reality.”

marie yat lingerie

The campaign features un-retouched models

The result? Lingerie unlike any we’ve seen before, a cross between basics and high end fashion. The line is made of natural cottons and silks and comes in a range of pastel colours as well as the more conventional black and white, while the designs are a mix of classic cuts and more daring cut-outs.

The campaign imagery also reflects the brand’s messaging, with seemingly un-retouched photos of models proudly showing off their stretch marks and scars.   

If you like the sound – and look – of it, the MARIEYAT online shop will officially open in November. 

Images: Marie Yat 

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Penelope Travers

Penny Travers is a freelance writer covering anything from beauty and fashion to travel and lifestyle. She has a penchant for cheese, karaoke and shoes. Not necessarily in that order.

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