Lingerie and swimwear brands who exhibited at Moda last month are throwing their weight behind the Lingerie Football League UK (LFL UK) in its fight for gender equality.
More than 60 international labels, from Panache to DKNY, have pledged their support for the new organisation, donating samples to its Shimmy Video Lingerie project, set to be the biggest online lingerie video channel in Europe, and upcoming celebrity football matches.
LFL UK is made up of 14 women who play football in their underwear. Their aim is to close the gender wage gap by generating media coverage and public interest in women’s football.
The video channel will feature thousands of lingerie and swimwear items shot on the catwalk at LFL’s Preston-based studio at the University of Central Lancashire.
Each brand that takes part will receive high quality video of their merchandise to embed on their website and social media.
The channel will also feature football matches, including the BBC Radio 5 Live Battle of the Five-A-Sides for Sport Relief, which commenced in Manchester yesterday.
LFL UK players are wearing sports bras by Freya and Anita for the three-day event, which will see 1,000 people, including Alan Shearer and Robbie Savage, playing a combined total of 57 hours of continuous five-a-side football.
Shearer and Savage will manage their own squads, which include men, women, children and wheelchair users.
LFL UK will also form eight women’s football teams to play this summer, with matches being broadcast live on its website.
It hopes to encourage lingerie brands to sponsor a team and supply kit.
Gemma Hughes, founder of LFL UK, attended Moda Lingerie and Swimwear last month to persuade brands to support her organisation.
“The response we received from the brands was absolutely remarkable,” she said.
“To name a few brands we are working with on the project; Panache, Anita, Guy de France, MEY, Michelle Morren, Love Laura, Maidenform, Swegmark, Chantelle, Freya, DKNY and many more.”
LFL was inspired by the history of women’s football during World War One, when women played to crowds of over 50,000 fans and raised money for war veterans until the Football Association (FA) banned the matches at the end of the 1914/1915 season.
“To celebrate women’s courage and to raise money for today’s war veterans, Lingerie Football League planned a women’s football tournament at St Georges Park (SGP), the FA’s £105 million national football centre in Burton-on-Trent, but the FA has banned us from playing at SGP and any FA affiliated ground,” said Hughes.
“Peter Maxwell, communications officer at the FA group confirmed that Lingerie Football League ‘will never play at SGP or any other FA affiliated ground’, effectively banning the Lingerie Football League.”
LFL UK has organised an online petition in an attempt to reverse the FA’s ban and is hoping lingerie brands will sign the petition.