Bonds, the iconic Australian underwear brand, recently launched their 2023 Pride Collection campaign, which featured a non-binary model named Mikey Sakinofsky sporting a bikini. While the brand aimed to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, the campaign faced criticism from some segments of their audience.
Pride month is traditionally celebrated in June, but Bonds chose to start their celebration early. This month holds significance for the LGBTQ+ community as they reflect on their progress and celebrate their identity. Bonds launched the UnGENderwear Project, aiming to challenge gender stereotypes with their campaign. Their website states, “We have stripped back the gender stereotypes and left only the freedom for you to wear our pieces however feels right.”
The inclusion of Mikey Sakinofsky in the campaign wearing the vibrant fuchsia pink “Retro Rib™ Seamless Tonal Hi” bikini set garnered mixed reactions from the audience. Detractors took to social media, particularly X (formerly known as Twitter), to express their displeasure. Some threatened to boycott the brand, labeling their inclusion of a non-binary model as “off-putting” or accusing the brand of “going broke” for being “woke.”
Despite the negative feedback, Bonds also received support from a section of their audience. Many praised the brand for celebrating diversity, with one commenter expressing gratitude for the brand’s support and representation. Bonds encouraged their followers to donate to organizations benefitting the LGBTQ+ communities on their Instagram page. However, even there, negative comments managed to find their way, with some adamant about never supporting the brand again.
In response to the backlash, Mikey Sakinofsky, who identifies as non-binary, uploaded a video addressing the negativity surrounding the campaign. In the video, Mikey emphasized the importance of gender diversity and criticized media coverage that focused on “ignorance and hate” instead of celebrating love, kindness, and acceptance. Drawing an analogy using shades of green, they highlighted the infinite variations found in gender diversity.
Mikey’s inclusion in the Bonds campaign raises awareness about the importance of representing and acknowledging individuals from all walks of life. It serves as a reminder that diversity and acceptance should be celebrated. The campaign sparked a conversation about the need for more visibility and inclusivity in the fashion industry.
What are your thoughts on Mikey’s inclusion in the Bonds campaign? Let us know in the comments!