M&S launches 'new neutrals' lingerie line with inclusive skin tone range
M&S has ramped up its inclusive approach to one of its core categories — lingerie — with the launch this week of a “new neutrals” line. It comes with a “bold and relevant” customer campaign dubbed Nothing Neutral About It.
The launch addresses the long-term problem that has been seen not just in the underwear segment, but also the hosiery and make-up sectors, in which anything dubbed "neutral" or "nude" has been likely to be matched to lighter skin tones.
This is an issue that beauty companies have been addressing for some years with a much wider offer of foundation shades now available. And now M&S’s brand new neutrals offer is a “clear and simple proposition for all women – more colours, more sizes and more choice within neutral (also known as nude) bras and knickers”.
It said the new range “gives customers the freedom to complement or contrast their skin tone”.
It's an important move both for the retailer and for the sector given M&S’s market-leading position in the lingerie segment with the company being the key player in underwear sales in Britain.
The retailer has been working on the development since last year and said it "was driven to go harder and faster, fuelled by the global conversation on racial inequality, following the horrific death of George Floyd, as well as clear customer feedback on industry standard colour names such as ‘tobacco’.”
It worked with the M&S Culture & Heritage colleague network, as well as using wider colleague feedback, with its initial focus being on redefining its ‘nude’ staple items.
The retailer said its previous offer was “inconsistent and inadequate for all ethnicities”.
The new offer comprises a selection of its customer’s favourite styles available in five shades named Opaline, Rich Amber, Rich Quartz, Rose Quartz and Topaz.
It added that the “crystal & gemstone theme signifies things that are special and precious and was selected with the Culture & Heritage network to reflect the shades”.
The range includes its smoothing Body T-Shirt bras and No VPL 3-pack Knickers, Body Flexifit crop tops, Wildblooms lace bras (including F-H) and knickers, Rosie exclusively for M&S silk & lace bras (including F-H) and knickers, Cotton/Lycra 5-pack knickers, Full Slips with Cool Comfort, and Smoothing shorts with Cool Comfort. The neutrals offer is also being trailed in in M&S’s First Bra range, Angel.
The launch is being backed by a campaign featuring “fantastic models all with unique styles, talents, and stories. They all share a passion for showing beauty in different shapes, styles, sizes, and colours”.
Each model picked their own lingerie and how they wanted to pose for the campaign – as well as the clothing items that feature, including denim and knitwear.
The imagery will be used across all of M&S’s channels, from social to store signage, “setting the tone for how M&S Lingerie will show up for customers – with energy, confidence & style”.
M&S Lingerie director Laura Charles said: “We are the UK market leaders in bras and knickers and with that comes a responsibility to ensure what we sell makes all of our customers feel fantastic. We listened when our customers and colleagues told us we hadn’t got it right when it came to colour; both in the choices available and the way we talked about the neutral shades.
“The global conversations around race and equality over the last 12 months spurred us to go faster in creating a better, more inclusive range.”
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