I’ve been waiting for this day for a while. Routinely scrolling to the bottom of our Instagram page to reach the very first post, checking the date against my iPhone calendar. Today has seemed a long way off, but somehow it’s finally here and I’ve done it… and it feels pretty magical. A year ago today, I started The Pants Project. Honesty hour: I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning and one year in, if I’m being realistic, I still don’t. Blind and ignorant and oblivious, I waded into the deep end of non-profit organisations, the charity world, the fashion industry, the lingerie business, PR, marketing, social media, event organisation and one hell of a learning curb. Stumbling/falling/tripping into adulthood aside, I don’t think I have ever been more proud of myself. I had a vision for The Pants Project that resembled the Notting Hill scene where Julia Roberts confesses her love to Hugh Grant in a dusty bookshop. Instead of two movie stars on a film set, it was real-life raw human beings, in their own private spaces, standing in front of the mirror with nothing on but a pair of pants, asking themselves to love themselves. Somehow, three hundred and sixty-five days down the line, an ocean of tears, countless lists and thousands of emails later, I think I have achieved that vision – in some satisfying capacity at least. The messages I have received, from both men and women, telling me that one of our Instagram posts has changed the way they see themselves or feel about their body, or that they’d danced to Blondie in the bathroom wearing their favourite pair of undies that morning, is proof that this insane idea has actually made some miniscule difference in the world. Yes, I wanted to give the world the glamourous gift of beautiful underwear – an armour in it’s own right – and take back some practical support in return, that we could use to help those struggling with infertility, but ultimately I just wanted to make people feel better. I just wanted to give normal people that tiny glimmer of hope that in order to feel whole and unbroken, we don’t have to look further than ourselves, and that the tools we need to get better and be our best already occupy a space within us.
I started The Pants Project a year ago, to fill the hole inside me and turn the thing that had broken me, into a tool to help fix others who were broken themselves, whether that was because of infertility or some other evil. I wanted to fix myself, through helping to fix others. 12 months ago, one follower and the odd ‘Thanks for the support!’ message would’ve satisfied me, but this last year has changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. I never thought this project would be as successful as it has been so far. I honestly didn’t think many people would care or think my work was necessary, but I have never been so wrong. I never dreamed Vogue would interview me, or that I would’ve had the opportunity to work with the incredible roster of designers I have done. I never thought anyone would say yes, and that I’d somehow get to be a part of the most wonderful and dedicated fertility charity to my knowledge, enabling me to reach and help those struggling with infertility in ways I never thought possible. I never EVER dreamed we’d raise as much money as we have done this year – nearly ten thousand pounds, all of which has gone towards helping those struggling with infertility… I wonder how many lives have been enabled because of this pants wearing community. Thank you will never cut it, and words will never come close to how grateful I am to each and every individual who has been a part of this journey. To my friends and family, who have helped me when I’ve asked for it and stepped back to let me make my own mistakes when I needed to, thank you for letting this be my own project, but helping carry it when it’s gotten too heavy – thank you for your love. To the people I’ve worked with, who have been patient beyond belief and trusted me as an underqualified teenager winging pretty much everything, learning the ropes and balancing her time somewhat erratically – thank you for your faith. To the women who have inspired me the world over, through your courageous acts of self love and defiance – thank you for showing me it’s possible. And finally, to those of you who have supported this project in any way, shape or form, for giving me this platform that has changed my life, filled the gap within myself and enabled me to help fix others, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, with all the pants power I can muster – you have given me my life back and for that I will be eternally grateful.
The past couple of months have been less pants filled (sorry for the radio silence, we’re back on air now!) and more life filled as I reflect on a year that was harder in ways than any other I’ve had to face, but better than any other I could have imagined. This year has taken a lot out of me, but also put a LOT back into me that I never thought I’d see again or ever discover in the first place. The best thing about all of this, is that this is only the first year – there is so much more to come, so many more avenues to explore and SO MANY PAIRS OF PANTS TO WEAR! The Pants Project is only just getting started, so please do stay tuned, I can promise you it only gets better.
This has been one hell of a year and quite the journey, with some huge highs, huge lows and plenty of ‘why on earth am I doing this at 20-years-old, I have no idea what’s going on, someone hand me a G&T or help’. One year on though, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I have learnt so much, achieved more than I ever, ever dreamed I would and I still can’t believe it’s only been a year. I could rattle on for days and mention every supreme individual who has carried me to this point, but the list would be longer than the doomsday book and ‘aint nobody got time for that. Besides, it’s our first birthday, so imma put on my favourite pair of undies and paint the town red in honour of you, us and everything the last three hundred and sixty-five days of this project has given me. My pants feel like they could burst with pride. I never thought I’d give birth, but now I’m saying Happy 1st Birthday to my very own baby.
So here’s to this year and many more to come.
Thank you for everything,