Not only is she a brand with a purpose, but she’s helping other brands with purposes spread their message as well.
Cora started The Lingerie Addict in 2008 in order to put her thoughts out there and provide honest reviews for unmentionables that were just that unmentionable! She started a dialogue about the lingerie industry, and arguably paved the way for many other lingerie bloggers out there. She has now expanded her website to have guests posts, regular writers, and cover touchy topics such as diversity. Her website is now garnering over 240,000 visits a month, and she’s a key influencer in the industry.
Cora has written about and has had guest posts about diversity expanding past body types and shapes. Although it may be important there are other issues of diversity that The Lingerie Addict has brought to the forefront such as; being a POC (person of color) in the industry, being a lesbian, identifying as gender-queer, or being a person with disabilities.
I was able to ask Cora some questions about her purpose and why she does what she does.
1. As you may or may not know I’m quite young and I’ve been a fan of your blog for quite awhile now, did you ever think that you would play a part in reaching out to teens? I’m so glad to hear you like my blog! No, I don’t think of myself as reaching out to teens specifically, but I try to be very open and explicit about making TLA a welcoming environment for all kinds of people. I think about the kind of site I wish I’d had access to 10 years ago, and that informs what I and my columnists talk about. It’s very exciting to me to hear that teenagers find it useful and relevant…so thank you!
2. You arguably have one of the largest reaches in the industry did you ever see yourself getting this big? No, not at all. I’m very open about the fact that I started my blog as a hobby, and that I came from a career path that had nothing to do with fashion, PR, marketing, journalism or anything else remotely related to lingerie or blogging. The Lingerie Addict’s growth (we’ve been around for 6 years now) has been both slow and organic, and is mostly attributable to word of mouth. I feel incredibly grateful to be able to do something I love so much every single day, and I don’t take it for granted.
3. On The Lingerie Addict you’ve talked about issues of discrimination and diversity, what made you want to start this dialogue in the lingerie industry because it really wasn’t prevalent before? That’s a big reason why I wanted to start this dialogue…because it wasn’t prevalent before. I fully admit that I was at first reluctant to talk about issues affecting me as a woman of color because I dreaded the inevitable negative push-back. Not only am I one of the few women of color blogging about lingerie, I’m also one of the most visible women of color in the entire undergarment industry. While I’m quite vocal and passionate about dealing with discrimination in my offline life, I had to seriously consider if I wanted to deal with it online as well…because that would mean having no break from this sort of thing at all. And as we all know, fatigue and burnout from confronting discrimination is a very real risk when you’re a minority person negotiating homogeneous spaces.
In my case, two things “pushed me over the edge,” so to speak, when it came to discussing discrimination and diversity on The Lingerie Addict. One, when I reached the position of being the largest lingerie blog in the world, I felt like I had an obligation to start the kinds of conversations I’d always wanted to see. It was very much a case of, “If not me, then who else?” Two, I had a number of unfortunate run-ins with other people in the industry, both prominent bra bloggers and other lingerie experts, who made it clear that they thought issues affecting women of color were irrelevant or unimportant because they weren’t centered on more popular topics like bra size. One of the worst things about being a person of color in our society is that you’re constantly dealing with people telling you, both overtly and covertly, that you don’t matter. I wanted to show the women of color who read my site that yes, you do matter. Issues affecting you are important issues. They are worth discussion and analysis and passionate debate. For me, placing diversity of all kinds (ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, ability, etc.) at the center of The Lingerie Addict is part of being the change I want to see in the lingerie industry.
4. Did you ever think you would play a role in empowering women? I hoped it would! It’s hard to know what other people will find empowering, but to me, it always goes back to creating the kind of site I wanted to see and that I wished was around when I was a young woman. Women are constantly told what they should be doing, and the world of lingerie is no exception. So much of the dialogue in the intimate apparel industry is focused on making the bodies of women more palatable to outside observers (“You must wear a bra! You must wear shape-wear! You must hide your nipples!” etc. etc.). It’s important to me to create and nurture a space where the focus is on wearing what you want to wear because you want to wear it. To me, choosing your own identity and then expressing that identity through your undergarments (even if society requires you to wear a different external “mask”) is incredibly empowering.
5. You help tell the stories of lingerie brands similar to how we here at STANCE tell the stories of brands/nonprofits we find meaningful; do you have certain things you look for in a lingerie brand you support? I do. While the focus is always on fashionable lingerie, I’m very interested in supporting ethically made, independent lingerie brands. I also keep an eye out for brands that are owned by women, people of color, persons with disabilities, or LGBTQ persons. In addition, it’s very important to me to feature brands that show diversity in their choice of models, whether that means using women of color, models with visible disabilities, older models, gender-queer models, and so on. The quality and the story of the lingerie is always first (we’re a fashion-focused lingerie blog, after all), but I also actively try to make space for a vision, aesthetic, or principles that are usually excluded from the mainstream industry.
6. You’re what we like to call a meaningful brand with a meaningful stance; if you summarize TLA into one motto or one mission statement what would it be? At it’s core, TLA is about finding lingerie for who you are.
You get the picture Cora Harrington or The Lingerie Addict truly is a meaningful brand. Make sure you click the links to check out Cora, and all the mentioned articles.
About the Elevator of the Week Series by Intern Yves
In the Elevator of the Week series we talk about people who are making a difference, and have created their own personal brand using the different values and techniques we here at STANCE use to support meaningful brands.