It is some months ago now, that I first planted a seed that grew to be The Pants Project. Today I feel as though an inkling of the goal I set out to achieve, has come to fruition: a space that celebrates each and every human, no matter their gender, race, sexuality, religious beliefs, size, genetic makeup and whether they can have a child or not. I knew that pants were powerful and I knew that somehow we could harness that, and turn it into something meaningful. I am sitting on my lumpy university bed, in a soggy t-shirt with electric blue mascara caking my cheeks: the war paint of a woman touched from the fraying edges of her soul to the matted innards, truly moved, faced with the prospect of having to write something that’s anywhere near as honest and with as much gravity as these photographs.
A school friend of mine, who has gone on to bigger, better and more beautiful things at City&Guilds Art School in London, has contributed the most stunning donation I could ever have asked for. Having been in awe of her happy snappy abilities for a while, I knew I wanted to wrangle her into doing something for The Pants Project. Although I love art, I am by no means an artist and have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to defining the sort of aesthetic I might be looking for; don’t get me wrong, I know what I love, I’m just not great at finding the road to get there. (I think the extent of my curation talents ends with choosing between which selfie to like on Instagram, usually resulting in me feeling bad and liking both). One extremely wishy washy brief later, that went something like “I want honesty, so yeah, just some of your pals in pants would be good”, accompanied by a slightly random, Tumblr-eat-your-heart-out sort of Pinterest board and a few months of brewing time, I was sent the most beautiful collection of photos I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing. I’m sure that anyone who knows me personally will be aware of my tendency to exaggerate the things I fall in love with in this world, but trust me when I say the beauty that exists within these photographs is not the least bit exaggerated. It is raw, and real and so movingly tangible. I know not a single one of these models and yet I see their vulnerabilities and feel their personalities, and in some way, I empathise with every one of them.
I started The Pants Project as an effort to raise funds and awareness for infertility and hoped to inspire the odd Joe Bloggs, but I never dreamed it would turn into such a celebration of diversity and self-prowess. The word ‘diversity’ is thrown around almost as much as the word love is these days, and I far too often feel as though it’s meaning is somewhat whitewashed (pun kinda intended), and somehow attempted ‘diversity’ seemingly results in almost more marginalisation. I wanted these photos to speak inclusivity and to encompass the strength and unapologetic nature of youth, and I think Lucy read my mind.
Or, perhaps she didn’t.
Perhaps she took some photos of The Youth of Today in their pants and this was the result: an untouched, unedited, uncensored protest that screams “Look at me, in my underwear. I am so much more powerful than my genetics and so much more beautiful than societies aesthetics”.