Appreciation of the natural body is a concept we should wear inside and out. Feeling sexy shouldn’t be taboo, nor should it have a predetermined definition – especially when it comes to lingerie. Meet Mary Young, the newest business resident in the Toronto Entertainment District. Her eponymous loungewear line MARY YOUNG is designed with body positivity and empowerment in mind, featuring everything from sexy lingerie to cozy sleepwear. Recognizing a need for body inclusive undergarments, Mary creates pieces meant to make the wearer feel confident in the skin they’re in. Using knits, jersey and soft, adjustable elastics that feel good on everybody, the designs celebrate the beauty of our natural curves (or lack thereof), regardless of size, gender, age or ethnicity.
The idea of self love goes beyond design; it’s an ideology she’s taking beyond the garment and into the community with her “Self Love Club.” The campaign has nothing to do with buying or wearing MARY YOUNG – it’s an attitude for everyone. The Self Love Club aims to empower by creating dialogue around body positivity, acceptance and self love. It’s also a way to create safe spaces within the community and your friendships by encouraging people talk openly and honestly about self love (you can share your stories with this awesome community by using #theselfloveclub!) As if that wasn’t incredible enough, Mary is working to impact women in tangible ways, and $1 from every purchase goes to non-profit organizations focusing on benefiting women through resources and opportunities.
When we spoke to the CEO, founder and designer at her new digs in the Toronto Entertainment District, she explained that she knew she wanted to stay within the downtown core specifically, so when she found the studio here – a former fashion production house – she fell in love with it.
“So many things take place in the studio… we do a lot of sampling here, testing different styles, working with fabrics, pattern making, we’re brainstorming marketing initiatives, different pop-ups, events, things like that”
– Mary Young
One perk of the brand’s new home is its proximity to a slew of restaurants like The SOS, where she enjoys its range of legitimately delicious gluten-free pasta, and Rialto for its magical matcha lattes. Not only is she close to food, but she’s also surrounded by other creative designers she’s already become acquainted with like Ellie Mae Studios and Top Knot. Being in a central location also facilitates two-way discussion with the brand’s customers and the local community. “The biggest thing was realizing that I wasn’t the only one who felt alienated by industry, and so for us to have social media to have two-way conversations with our customers, explain the mission behind the brand and have each other within the community empower other women is really important,” she says. Beyond interacting with and empowering customers, it’s important to Mary that her brand resonates with women to change problematic attitudes born from the traditional lingerie industry at large. “Lingerie to me is something very different than what you would traditionally think,” Mary explains.
“It’s the first item of clothing you put on. For women, it’s a very intimate experience because it is how you can actually channel confidence and comfort.”
– Mary Young
Noticing this missing niche in the industry, Mary saw the opportunity to create well-made garments women can wear to feel comfortable AND sexy – whatever their shape or lifestyle. “The one thing I always felt from other lingerie brands was that I had to reshape my body fit into something be something different than what my natural shape,” she says. “MARY YOUNG encourages women to celebrate their natural shape, and really celebrate who you are at your core and feel confident throughout the day.”
As for the person she has in mind when designing her collections, she describes the MARY YOUNG woman as a broad spectrum. Her aim is to make sure she’s representing as many women and being as inclusive as possible. “That woman is someone who is busy, living an active life, whether that’s social or work or having a side hustle, different things like that – and we want to compliment her lifestyle.”
To get the latest news on the brand, from pop-ups to when the next collection drops, make sure you sign up for the newsletter and follow MARY YOUNG on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. And connect with others using #TheSelfLoveClub!
And if you want to get in touch with us…you can do that too. If you’re a business in the Toronto Entertainment District and want to be featured, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, creep us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. #TorontoED