Undergarments as we know them today were first sold to promote cleanliness and improve the comfort of wearing clothing. The idea that they one day would be considered fashionable was not even a thought. Today underwear is marketed and sold just as much as the clothing we cover them with.
Underwear advertisements started as early as 1880’s but didn’t show any underwear, only text, then when images started being included, only classical statues with undergarments superimposed over them, or dressed people holding underwear up in front of them were shown. The early 1900’s included illustrations of women and men wearing underwear and only once photographic images took off in advertising did we see the first models very modestly modelling the latest undergarments.
Calvin Klein revolutionised underwear advertising in the early 80’s by adding sex appeal to the advertisements. It wasn’t until the 2000’s that we started seeing men and women together in underwear ads. The last 13 years have seen underwear and lingerie advertising take some momentous risks. Celebrities have taken advantage of the publicity that comes with posing near nude in your underwear for the public to admire. Celebs like Eva Medes, Cristiano Rinaldo, Rihanna, David Beckham and many more have all taken the risk and received valuable publicity and a healthy pay check.
Advertising content has become increasingly controversial and sexual, each year pushing the boundaries. Many campaigns that are banned are launched online or in some countries the sensors take weeks to respond making any censorship and banning pointless. With lingerie and underwear becoming increasingly revealing and micro and advertising exhausting every possible sexual and controversial innuendo it makes a person wonder what next? What is the ultimate new undergarment design and how else can it possibly be advertised to capture the publics attention in the future?