How Lonely’s Helene Morris is leading the body acceptance charge

Helene Morris

Lingerie as a love letter to ourselves? We like.

Helene Morris and her lingerie brand, Lonely, are leading the global charge when it comes to the topic of female body acceptance, by creating underwear for women “who wear lingerie as a love letter to themselves”.

We chatted to Helene about female empowerment and her role at Vivid Sydney 2016, in which she will speak alongside other creatives on the topic of how fashion can empower women:

First of all, tell us about the Lonely Girls Project?
When we began Lonely lingerie in 2009, we felt there was no lingerie imagery that really spoke to us or our customer – it all seemed so overly sexualized and Photoshopped. I think as a brand we have always been slightly rebellious and were happy to challenge preconditioned norms. This approach has always felt really natural to us, it is not something that we forced, we just love to question our choices and decisions so that we are really true to ourselves and our customers. The overwhelmingly positive response to our imagery is something I didn’t fully anticipate. We get a huge amount of feedback and it’s really empowering and inspiring to make a positive impact in peoples lives.

Do you think the fashion industry as a whole has been irresponsible in the way in which it represents women’s bodies?
We think the fashion industry could be more diverse. To us, it is important to represent women in empowering ways that help give them the confidence to be themselves.

You are one of the key speakers at Vivid Sydney’s Ideas talks. Tell us a little about the topic you are going to be discussing on the 9th June…
We are going to be discussing how fashion can empower women. We will be talking about what we think needs to change in the way we represent women in the industry. The aim being to inspire a more inclusive and empowering vision of femininity for the future.

Lonely lingerie campaign

You’re talking alongside some other heavyweights in the fashion industry – who are they and how have they influenced you?
Yes it’s definitely an honour to be talking alongside such amazing women! Georgina Safe is such a great writer and role model. She has been writing for over 20 years and is so experienced. We met her a few years ago at New Zealand Fashion Week when she came to our installation and it will be great to reconnect with her again. Ollie Henderson is such an inspiring woman also. I love that she challenges and works hard to give a voice for minority groups. From models to refugees, she is an amazing champion for people’s rights. The other speaker is photographer Liz Ham – I love her book called Punk Girls featuring over 100 women from Australia. She also shot a beautiful editorial shoot featuring most of one of our first Lonely ranges, it was so amazing to have that support at the time and will be great to meet and talk with her.

You’ve received quite a lot of publicity around your spring campaign, when you added some much needed body diversity to the underwear industry. Can you tell us about the campaign?
We were really overwhelmed by the reaction to our campaign. We have customers come into the store daily and talk about how it impacted them. The campaign itself seemed a really natural thing to do, Zara who is a long time Lonely collaborator took the women on a road trip through California and shot the range as they went. They took no hair, makeup or assistants with them so it was a really intimate experience. Over the three-day trip they formed a really close connection and hopefully this can be seen in the imagery.

Lonely lingerie campaign

Your A/W collection is available now. What was your inspiration for this season?
Our customers are always our main inspiration for each collection.

Can you give us a little teaser into what’s coming up for Lonely?
We have just started the build on our third retail store which will open in August and it’s been really exciting to work on the design with Rufus and continue to challenge the traditional retail experience.

Will you be enjoying the rest of the festival while you’re in Sydney?
I would love to see more at the festival but my trip is really quick, sadly. I am hoping to see a few speakers at the Un-Conference for Creative Women, the day after my talk which sounds like a really great event.

* For more information on Vivid Sydney and Helene Morris’ Ideas Talk, visit vividsydney.com.