Georgia-based boutique Livi Rae Lingerie is making headlines this week following requests for the removal of the store's latest ads. The imagery features models that promote diversity in terms of race, size, and physical abilities — a refreshing, positive contrast to the exceedingly thin, white castings typically found in lingerie ads. When the store's owners, Molly Hopkins and Cynthia Decker, put the ads up, they received a call from their management company to take the images down. But the duo is standing their ground.
Livi Rae, which had its own Lifetime show, Double Divas, a couple years ago, carries intimates for women with a wide range of sizes, needs, and disabilities; there are even items designed to aid women who've undergone mastectomies (the boutique stocks thermal cooling bras for breast cancer survivors). In short, Livi Rae is pretty awesome. Hopkins and Decker were surprised when the backlash from their latest ad campaign came about. The images feature a model of color; a model with M.S. who is in a wheelchair; and two plus-size models. "We’ve never had to clear an ad with the management property in the past. We were told the ad is in ‘poor taste,’ but no one has explained what that means," Decker told Yahoo Style.
Livi Rae's slogan is positive, too. "No bust too big or small, we fit ’em all." So, why would the ads be a problem? According to the retailer's property management company, the matter is still under investigation, but the ads are still up. "We wanted to show people that they didn’t have to have perfect skin, bone structure, or bodies to feel beautiful," Decker explained to Yahoo Style. People are taking to Twitter and Instagram to show support for the store owners with the hashtag #NoShameLiviRae and a slew of positive messages. Men are speaking up for Livi Rae, too:
Change often involves some pushback, and the fashion industry is no stranger to this type of controversy when it comes to more inclusivity. We see it with a lot of brands that decide to expand their lines to clothe all types of women. But it's moments like this that make us wonder: when customers want change and it's granted, how much is too much — or, really, how much is just enough? What separates Livi Rae from other retailers in similar situations is the boutique's vocal support and unwavering stance on the issue: It won't take the ads down, and we don't want them to.