Watch our exclusive interview with Bronté Intimates.

A Cape Town-based fashion brand has decided to tackle gender norms and promote gender equality through lingerie. Bronté Intimates was founded by Bronté McDonald because she was concerned about the fact that most lingerie brands produce products that focus on sexuality. 

“I started this business with the hopes of rewriting and redefining the traditional narrative that is often associated with the lingerie industry. I found that women’s undergarments were predominantly marketed through the often sexualised images of skinny, flawless women,” the brand’s founder, Bronté McDonald said.

“The lingerie industry has been known to mainly cater to smaller sized women, which leaves the vast majority of the global population without access to undergarments that are suited (and comfortable) for their individual shape and form. It is therefore hugely important to us at Bronté intimates to create a platform in which real bodies are being represented by the products we are creating,” she added.

As a lingerie brand, their mission is to make women from underrepresented groups feel included. They do this by making lingerie that fits all bodies and they also market their products in such a way that a diverse group of models are used.

“Our brand and lingerie seek to provide upliftment to individuals – by asking them to love their bodies for their every detail and imperfection,” Bronté explained. 

Currently, they are on track to release a unique range of lingerie which they coin gender-neutral products. The aim is to produce a range of underwear that highlight elements of both the masculine and feminine, so that people can express themselves through fashion, no matter how they identify themselves.

“We recognize how marginalized these communities have been within the lingerie industry, and want to create pieces which allow everyone to freely express themselves while aiming to deconstruct gender norms,” Bronté explained. 

Bronté did not elaborate too much about what the items will actually look like. They are, however, aiming to launch the new range as soon as March 2022. They have chosen this period due to the Cape Town Gay Pride Festival taking place during this month too.

Although Bronté Intimates is passionate about rewriting gender norms, on their website and social media platforms, they often censor out parts of their female models’ bodies, like nipples. We asked Bronté about their reason for doing this because some might argue that this kind of censorship is exactly what perpetuates gender stereotypes.

“The censoring of some of the nipples on our website is due to the personal preferences of our models and creates a conversation around consent and respecting women’s rights to have their bodies displayed in a manner in which they are comfortable with,” she said, explaining that their goal is to avoid situations where women’s bodies are sexualised. According to her, they want to break away from the tradition that lingerie is made exclusively for the “male gaze”.

Bronté Intimates also partnered with a local NGO, Fight Back SA. The organisation offers free self-defense classes and products, like pepper spray, to vulnerable women. The lingerie brand has produced a range of products which they share a percentage of the profits with Fight Back SA. For Bronté, their involvement with the NGO is a no-brainer, because it shows the brand’s commitment to core values, such as promoting the rights of women.

Customers who buy from Bronté Intimates can expect to go on a “self-love journey”. The brand often places handwritten letters and notes in packaging when fulfilling orders. According to Bronté, she also hopes that clients feel the care and love that all of their items are made with when they receive their order.

To view their range of products, click here