All images by: Jennie Pearson
Mary Young is known best for it’s comfortable yet totally sexy lingerie and swimwear that is both ethically, and Canadian made. The brand is brought to you by a Toronto designer of the same name, who three years ago had a mission to fill a gap in the lingerie market: to create garments that “embody the modern woman’s lifestyle, but also empower females to embrace their individuality and to refuse contortion into industry definitions of sexy”.
Young’s brand has exploded in the online world, thanks to a killer Instagram feed and other online celebs posting in her undies. But to Young, her brand is about much more than the pretty panty and bra sets. “The mission behind the garments and everything we offer is about female empowerment and encouraging women to embrace their natural shape”, the 26-year-old explains. So this past April, Young took to her Instagram page to announce the launch of #theselfloveclub, a space both online and IRL for meaningful conversations about body peace and self-love.
“The self love club is an idea that isn’t new, but we wanted to put something together that was more tangible than ‘we sell garments that encourage you’, and it’s not just a campaign that we’re doing in 2017 and then forget about in 2018. It’s a really large part of the brand and it’s not just going to be some photos on Instagram”, said Young.
In July, Mary Young hosted the first Self-Love Club event in downtown Toronto. A night full of donut eating, selfie taking, and lots of real talk about how we feel about our bodies, the pressures of social media, and what it means to love our natural selves. Young hopes that more events like these will help create safe spaces outside of Instagram, and allow women to come out of their comfort zone.
“Hopefully having these conversations about real life experiences will give everyone awareness that what people post on Instagram or wherever it might be, isn’t a true depiction of life”, Young says.
Young invited three young women to speak at last month’s sold –out event, each with their own unique background, and story to share. Because in a world where size two blondes dominate the fashion scene, Young knows how important diversity is.
“I don’t want to showcase just one voice and one story, I think that the purpose of this is to really broaden everyone’s understanding of not only what you’re going through but what other people are going through”, she explains. Young is hopeful that the campaign can help inspire real change. She says after meeting with customers and different women in the community she felt that her brand was making an impact.
“That was something I didn’t really realize right away until I started hearing women say ‘oh I never wanted to take a selfie in a bra, but with yours I do’….Part of this is to encourage women to feel comfortable in themselves whether that means they do want to share photos online or not. Maybe they don’t see themselves as often in media, but that doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong, if anything it’s the media that isn’t doing them justice”.
The second Self-Love club event is took place at the end of August. Mary Young partnered with the Ride Cycle Club for an evening of sweaty fun with the aim of helping bodies feel empowered and strong. The brand is looking forward to hosting many more events in Toronto and Canadian other cities, says Young.