Merchant spotlight
Nov 16, 20207 min read

Interview with Melanie Marsden, Founder and Chief Brand Officer at Lounge Underwear.

Emily Thomas

by Emily Thomas

Please tell us about you and your role at Lounge Underwear.

I’m one of the founders and Chief Brand Officer at Lounge. My day-to-day is literally never the same, but I guess if I had to sum up my role in short. I’d say it is inclusive of ensuring that everything we put out to our community connects closely with our core values; everything from product development, social platforms, email marketing, website aesthetic and campaign content being somewhat directed by my vision.

My main directive every day is, how can we connect with our Female Family and make young women around the world feel empowered by what we create and showcase across our various platforms. I like to think Lounge’s values are almost my personality imprinted into our brand… and I feel like it is that authenticity that has been built up from the early days that makes us stand out.

What does diversity mean to you personally?

Diversity is essentially the representation of the unique beauty that every single one of us have. It’s holding your arms open to inclusivity and breaking down the walls that the industry has built up over many years… and more importantly, not feeling that you should have to make a conscious effort to showcase it, it should just be.

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The fashion industry as a whole is trying to become more inclusive. Our campaign ‘Clothes Love All’ and your campaigns promote body positivity, and are examples where brands are helping drive this change. Why is this important for Lounge Underwear?

Because it’s literally a necessity for young women today. I grew up right on the curve of social media and all it brings to the emotions of young people; so I feel like I just missed the madness, and was already a young woman who had kind of ‘found herself’, before influencers and social media boomed.

However, for those young women trying to figure themselves out now, showcasing inclusivity and reminding them that their unique qualities are beautiful parts of who they are, is crucial.

There is this intense connectivity with reflections, ‘selfies’ and definitions of what are ‘flaws’ and what are not – it’s about breaking that down and reminding people that we’re all different, and that’s ok.

Can you please tell us more about the models you use and the decision to not edit your imagery?

Absolutely. As a brand, I would very openly say that we have been on quite a journey!

Looking back at Lounge in its younger years, where our campaign flexibility was much more restricted essentially due to resource and budgets as a smaller business, we have certainly come a long way in terms of being able to represent diversity. And honestly, we’re still growing and developing our approach rapidly.

Our website is aimed to showcase a range of women, to ensure that as a consumer you can bounce around the collections and feel represented in some way. Whether that be through your bust size, your curves, your race, the stretchmarks that look just like one of the models, or the fact she also has hips dips or is petite in height, just like you.

Our size range currently runs from a 30 band size through to a 38, and XS – XXL (whilst still expanding). We work hard to showcase 2 different models on all of our designs, so that as a consumer you can click between to see how the design fits on different figures; and as you mentioned we strictly do not airbrush or edit our imagery, across both product imagery and campaign imagery – and this is a decision that came very naturally to us. It was literally never in question!

Ensuring that we show our models natural bodies, shapes, blemishes and stretch marks is crucial to ensuring our community feels proud of who they are when they browse around our website. These are natural features we all have, so it’s mad to me that the industry has historically, and for some – still does, feel like it needs to hide these natural distinguishes that make us and our bodies human.

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What, in your opinion, is needed from brands to ensure all types of people are represented in one way or another in the fashion industry? 

I do believe the fashion industry has come a long way, and I must say that I think a lot of that has come from the brands that have grown through social media, that are young enough and smart enough to realise that enough is enough.

For me, it is the older household names that need to seriously step up their game and stop holding onto the old tradition of ‘sex sells’ – especially in the underwear industry. The consumer has evolved, becoming more empowered, more confident in who they are, so it’s time the industry did too.

What do you think individual consumers can do to drive this change?

Support the brands out there that are making a real effort to represent, and hold onto their personal values and what is most important to them.

How does Lounge ensure this is not only a marketing campaign but actually something that represents the brand within the company as well? 

I believe everything from our marketing to our internal team empowers diversity. We design in-house, so for one, we ensure that all of our designs are fit to a huge range of diverse shapes to ensure the fit of our products never acts as a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

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For our Clothes Love All campaign, Tan France shared with us his 8 principles to live by. What would be your principles to live by?

Oh wow, that’s hard, haha! I would just say be authentic to who you are, and don’t try to reflect what’s around you. False intentions are incredibly transparent, so trying to be a chameleon to impress a room full of people can only be upheld for so long before you lose yourself. I wouldn’t say I have 8 principles as such – just be unapologetically and authentically you. And feel proud of that.