We love us some lingerie that makes us feel sexy and fierce. But does sexy also = pain and discomfort? We are SO over suffering for sexiness because we know we can feel and look great without that bullshit...
...which is exactly why lingerie brand Moons and Junes spoke to us. The brand is all about creating lingerie that accentuates and celebrates our curves, working with them rather than against them which is what so many of us have become used to.
Their no B.S. attitude also extends to their ad campaigns which embrace diversity and wait for it; no photoshop! Hallelujah! It's this refreshing take on lingerie with its emphasis on feeling confident that we absolutely love so we couldn't be happier to have the Moons and Junes range in store - we know you're gonna love it!
We recently chatted to the brand founder, Agnete, to find out more about how Moons and Junes came to be...
First of all we wanted to start by saying that we are really excited to be stocking the Moons and Junes range at ISLA! For those new to the brand, can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to create an intimates range?
Yes of course, and thank you so much! We’re incredibly excited to have ISLA as one of our retailers!
Hm…it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that Moons and Junes is a direct result of my own insecurities. Thinking back on my teen years, I (like oh so many others) suffered from low self-esteem and body insecurities. I continuously found myself compromising with myself in order to fit into the socially constructed ideal of beauty. In the midst of my should-I-get-implants phase, I was fortunate enough to take part in a two-year educational program called the United World College (UWC). UWC brings 300 high school students from 95 different countries together. It was a real melting pot of nationality, culture, race, and sexuality. Arriving there as a white, cis, straight, teenage Westerner, it was something of an eye-opener, to put it mildly. Surrounded by bodies of all shapes, colors, and inclinations (yes, we had communal showers), I learned to appreciate the individual beauty each and every one of us embodied. Moons and Junes was born as a celebration of this beauty in diversity.
It was also at this time I started noticing that a lot of my underwear encouraged me to ‘change’ my physical appearance. My bras made by breasts appear bigger, firmer and rounder. I hated it. On top of that I had a lump surgically removed from my left breasts as the underwire had wrecked havoc over the years, which had created inflammation in my tissue. This is when I noticed how difficult it was to find intimates that were truly comfortable, that didn’t distort my look, that didn’t dig into my skin, that didn’t change my body. I needed something that put emphasis on my own curves rather than creating 'new' ones, you know? Something that celebrated my individuality, rather than trying to change me. And so I decided to build my own.
The homepage of your website definitely sets the tone for what customers can expect from you by saying ‘No underwire. No padding. No bullshit.’ Amen to that! It’s so refreshing to see it laid out in such a clear cut, no nonsense way. Do you think that attitude has helped get you to where you are today and what sets you apart from other lingerie brands?
Hm, that’s an interesting question! I think we’re at a time where people are craving something real. We’re tired of having been fed bullshit by male-run lingerie brands, sexualizing our bodies and promoting oppressive standards of beauty, that have somehow managed to become the social norm. I mean, when we ask why people strive to look a certain way, it becomes fairly obvious that inclusivity is not just about “self-love”, it’s about recognizing oppressive behaviours. That’s why representation is so important: dark, fair, young, old, slim or not, cis or not. I think it's important that we take responsibility for the beauty-related mandates we promote.
We as consumers are a lot smarter than corporations have made us out to be. We know what we want, and we’re tired of fake shit. As I build MJ, it is simply a matter of listening and being authentic.
We love that you seem to really value and nurture the connections you have with the Moons and Junes online community through your blog, #bitsandboobs and the diary entries on your website. Was that something you always intended as part of your vision or has it been something that has evolved organically?
Haha, #bitsandboobs actually came long before the brand. When I struggled with my breasts, and I thought my perception of them would improve if I was exposed to more ‘real’ breasts. So I hit up acquaintances/friends to ask them if they wanted to help me out by sending me a picture of their chests. I can’t believe so many of them sent me pictures, it was amazing! And so when Moons and Junes came along, I knew I couldn’t keep all that gold to myself. #bitsandboobs aims at normalizing lumps and bumps by creating a collection of boobs from all over the world.
Moons and Junes was never intended to be ‘just’ a product. I always dreamed of us becoming a community, a judgement free zone that could provide your daily dose of realism. And we couldn’t have built any of this if it wasn't for our customers/followers and the incredible support they continuously give us. We currently have a platform where 80% of our content is user generated and where word of mouth is our only advertisement. Instagram (@moonsandjunesofficial) is a direct communication channel for us to learn who our customers are, what they want - we simply have to listen and provide. Through our Instagram we learned what our community want from their underwear and where we could improve. We’ve been in touch with more than 50 women who’ve helped us out with focus groups and fittings! It’s because of all this assistance and feedback that our new product line has wider straps, larger cups, and I would never have come up with the cute high-waisted pair of briefs on my own.
With beauty being such a constant focus in both media and society as a whole, has it been difficult to try and shift the perception that we must suffer for beauty to the realisation that comfort can also be sexy and beautiful?
Yes and no. At the beginning we faced a decent amount of lot of backlash, as multiple bigger corporations thought we were too controversial (how) to work with. But once we found our first customers, who saw our approach as refreshing and who already believed that ‘comfort can be beautiful’, things took a life of their own. We became a part of a much larger movement happening among women and femme. One that is much greater than any individual or company, and that is gaining ground every single day.
Moons and Junes feels like a very open and honest range which, in a world often dominated by a fair amount of bullshit, is hard to come by. If you could leave a lasting impression on each person that wears your lingerie, what would you hope it to be?
Life is hard enough as is it. We’re taught that every accomplishment comes with a struggle. And damn it we struggle a lot! There are so many things that are difficult and uncomfortable. Underwear shouldn't be one of them. That’s it.
I hope people wear them on a sexy Friday night, on a lazy Sunday morning, during important meetings, when practicing yoga, when they see their therapist, when breastfeeding… haha – point being: there are no rules to wearing Moons And Junes. No who, no where, no when.
We feel really fortunate to be carrying Moons and Junes at our store in Berlin! Are you selective about your retailers and what drew you to ISLA?
Thank you, we’re incredibly excited about this collaboration too! And to answer your question, yes, we’re definitely nit-picky! We work hard to find partners that align with our values, that have character and that are cool. It’s like going on a first date - was there god chemistry? ISLA had us at hello! It is such a pearl with a strong, fun and quirky aesthetic - we just had to be a part of it!
You launched the brand in 2016 and it seems to be going from strength to strength which is fantastic. How do you see it evolving over the next year, any exciting plans for 2020…?
Our biggest focus is the launch of our long awaited collection, UNAPOLOGETIC. We're launching it on the 8th of March and can't wait to get it out into the world! This collection is different from anything we’ve ever done before, which is nerve-wrecking - in a good way. It explicitly celebrates female and femme sexuality in all its forms by focusing on the individual. We’re very excited about it.
Get your hands on the Moons and Junes range here or come see us in store!
Written by Hazel Hedges.