Playful Promises launch the world’s first lingerie collection alongside an award-winning asexual activist – and receive harrowing response.

Playful Promises, an empowerment-driven lingerie brand, has launched an inspiring collaboration alongside award-winning a-sexual activist and model Yasmin Benoit. This is the first collaboration of its kind, celebrating asexuality and sexual diversity through fashion. However, whilst largely positive, the response to this collection has included acephobic abuse.

The ‘Playful Promises X Yasmin Benoit’ collaboration was created, in part, to celebrate Asexual Awareness Week (October 24 th -30 th ); an event designed to raise awareness, build a community and create change around the world. However, the goals of this project extend long into the future; its message will not cease as this week comes to an end. Asexuality is largely misunderstood and lacks vital recognition; by collaborating with Yasmin, Playful Promises are striving to promote widespread awareness and acceptance. They want to inspire permanent change, making asexuality something everyone understands. Meanwhile, as the first lingerie brand to collaborate with an asexual influencer, Playful Promises are positioning themselves as purveyors of progress in the fashion world; they are setting an example, encouraging every clothing and lingerie brand to
embrace the entire sexuality spectrum. Discussing the significance of featuring an asexual model in a lingerie campaign, Yasmin says:

‘Lingerie is associated with sexuality; it’s seen as being a sex-positive thing that sparks confidence and exploration. It’s also linked with feeling sexy for other people. I think celebrating an openly asexual model who loves lingerie, not for sexual reasons, highlights the many ways by which you can appreciate beautiful lingerie. It also positions asexuality In a sex-positive space, which is really important as we’re often left out of important
conversations. People assume were inherently anti-sex –we’re not. Being able to include the asexual flag in a photoshoot for a well-established lingerie brand is amazing, I’ve never seen that before and it really does mark a historical moment! Our collaboration, I hope, will make all asexual people feel seen and empowered.’
Meanwhile, Playful Promises’ Founder, Emma Parker, has discussed why the brand decided to monumentally celebrate asexuality through lingerie:

‘The fashion industry has diversified significantly over recent years and progress can be seen every day. However, we still have a long way to go. We’ve never seen a lingerie brand incorporate an asexual model because these individuals are surrounded by misplaced assumptions. As Yasmin says, asexuals are not anti-sex, nor are they incapable of adoring beautiful lingerie. After all, lingerie is not only designed to please others; it is created as a form of self-expression and to promote self-love. By highlighting this, we hope to inspire powerful change moving forward.’ Emphasising that lingerie is not solely worn to please others is of the utmost importance to Yasmin:

‘I’ve always had quite an unusual style – I don’t like limiting myself to anything. Growing up, I was interested in alternative and gothic subcultures; I also loved video games and professional wrestling, where women could be seen wearing something very akin to lingerie whilst kicking ass. For me, that made lingerie seem powerful! It
became something I wanted to incorporate into my style. Now, when I wear lingerie, I feel like I’m channelling that energy; lingerie is the closest thing you can get to a superhero outfit without going full Comic-Con! Everyone should be encouraged to express themselves through lingerie – it fuels self-confidence which is the most important power you can have.’

However, the Playful Promises X Yasmin Benoit collection has sadly received a proportion of acephobic abuse; highlighting the prevalence of this issue and desperate need for change. Sexual diversity is no longer an option – every brand must follow suit. Discussing the abuse she’s faced, Yasmin says:

‘I’ve been forced to take a break from Twitter because the environment was becoming too hostile’ … ‘The ace-friendly atmosphere I try to create on my page is being hampered by a continuous onslaught of attacks.’ ‘I knew that an asexual-themed lingerie campaign was going to get a mixed reception but I’m always a little taken aback by how much widespread chaos can be caused by something seemingly harmless’. ‘It’s the unapologetic asexual
expression from a black woman which sparks reactions laced with misogyny, racism, acephobia, transphobia and ableism, often under the guise of feminism.’

Now that ACE Week (Asexuality Awareness Week) has come to an end, and with this disappointing response in mind, Playful Promises and Yasmin Benoit hope to continue evoking important conversations and ultimately normalise asexuality across the world.

Their message does not end here; Playful Promises are committed to diversity and they will continue to be pioneers in utilising a beautiful array of diverse, empowered models, whilst Yasmin will remain integral to their efforts. Playful Promises’ lingerie is available via their website (www.playfulpromises.com) and
Yasmin’s featured pieces are readily available for purchase.

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