Celebrating the shape of you
Founded in 2019, SHAPE is an innerwear brand that works with South Asian body types, to celebrate intimacy and inspire confidence. It was recently selected for the Stanford Seed Spark incubation programme.
Monoshita Ayruani, the woman behind the enterprise, took a minimalistic approach that encompasses form and function so all bodies can lead more empowered lives. With different types of lingerie and cosmetics, SHAPE ensures that it stocks something for everyone.
We caught up with Ayruani, who spoke about how she curated a brand that promotes inclusivity and diversity.
What made you decide to launch a body-positive lingerie brand?
For centuries, we have been conditioned to believe, "Women need to be beautiful first, comfortable later." So comfortable lingerie always seemed like a mirage to me. I decided to introduce the notion that innerwear can not only fit, but also flatter every body type.
How will the Stanford Seed Spark incubation programme benefit SHAPE?
It is a five-month programme that works with start-ups and helps them scale. We will get access to a wider network of global funds and get connected with other ventures that are operating in similar fields. The networking opportunities, expert sessions and mentorship will be instrumental in expanding our enterprise.
What challenges did you face in building this brand in a conservative country like Bangladesh?
The biggest hurdle was starting the conversation since innerwear is a huge taboo in Bangladesh. Once we did that, it was like breaking through a glass ceiling. Since women have had the displeasure of wearing uncomfortable lingerie for decades, when the subject was broached, people eventually welcomed it with open arms.
Besides lingerie, how do you think we can fight the stigma surrounding weight?
A lot has to do with the narrative we set for ourselves and for the women around us. We need to have healthy, body-positive discussions. Our Facebook group "Shape Girl Talk" is a platform where women voice their concerns about topics that are typically considered taboos — sex, reproductive health, mental health, marital life issues, period, and of course, innerwear choices.
What is next for SHAPE?
We plan to expand to other divisions in Bangladesh. We see international brands penetrating Bangladesh all the time but not many local brands make it abroad. So, I want to introduce SHAPE to neighbouring countries.
The author is a student of BRAC University, and a freelance journalist.
Email: [email protected].