Indie fashion brand Lucy & Yak launches collection to celebrate breasts and chests and protest censorship
Walking into the event space I was met with an explosion of colour, boob-shaped bean bags and nipple cupcakes. I was at the press event to celebrate the launch of Lucy & Yak’s latest collection, ‘Baring All’ and what a celebration it was.
The collection features photography prints of a diverse range of breasts and chests, normalising difference and donating to three charity partners (Coppa Feel, Not a Phase and People vs. Big Tech). Surveying 2,000 people, the indie fashion brand found that half of the UK agrees society needs to normalise the diversity of breasts and chests. Two in five also believe online censorship of breasts and chests reinforces views that some parts of the body are inherently sexual or even offensive.
“With this new collection, we want to show off the bodies that might usually be censored either online or in real life, and get people talking by hearing other people’s stories.“ Co-founder Lucy Greenwood says.
“We’ve come up against many barriers to showcasing the campaign photography in public, from issues of showing our images on billboards, to worries about posting the print on social media due to censorship and shadow banning."
On the day of the launch, a social media post from Lucy & Yak, showcasing the prints, was indeed taken down, proving their point rather brilliantly and fueling the fire behind the campaign.
Removing imagery that celebrates and normalises diversity in this way can have devastating consequences. Another statistic from the survey Lucy & Yak commissioned was that a fifth of respondents weren’t happy with their breasts or chests.
“My relationship with my chest hasn’t always been the greatest,” Says Naomi Native, a model from the collection, “I don’t remember ever having a small chest, my boobs always felt cumbersome, and it made me feel very uncomfortable.”
Naomi explains that she has experienced censorship online by the platforms themselves and commenters, and knows she wouldn’t get the same response if she existed in a smaller body.
Fellow model, artist and activist Oscar, discusses censorship as a pre-op transman, “I know so many trans people who get targeted often for things they never should. It makes me sad to see that the world of censorship is so picky and others get to live their lives but people who are the exact same can’t. All trans bodies are heavily censored and it’s always classed as something sexual when it’s always far from the truth.”
At the event, censorship was nowhere to be found. Instead, a brilliant range of humans showcased the collection, bared their chests and showed us what it means to celebrate yourself.
Lucy Greenwood explains that the aim of the collection is to help their community feel empowered and informed. They will support this by using their platform to share stories and expert advice about all things breasts and chests.
By opening up the discussion and asking questions like, why are some bodies/nipples censored and sexualised while others aren’t, the brand hopes to make a difference, “We know we can’t change the world, but we believe opening up the discussion can help shift the dial.”
Towards the end of the event, after the panel talks, performances and nipple-tassel workshops, host Ruby Rare made a comment that stuck with me. Social media posts may be censored, but no one can censor what we wear. And with that, me and my breast and chest printed T-shirt sauntered home, shoulders back, chest out and proud.
The Baring All collection is now available at Lucy & Yak.