A Pat On The Butt-Chique For Inclusivity!

A Pat On The Butt-Chique For Inclusivity!

Kamakshi Agarwala is the Founder and CEO of Butt-Chique, a home-grown shapewear and lingerie brand. Butt-Chique’s primary focus is inclusivity – as Kamakshi says, “I wanted to bring about a change in the product category, because I wasn’t comfortable in my skin.”

Tsunami CostaBirUpdated: Monday, April 22, 2024, 10:39 AM IST
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Kamakshi Agarwala - Founder and CEO of Butt-Chique |

Butt-Chique has taken the internet by storm with their bold marketing and imagery. Women looking comfortable and happy in pasties and boob tape, plus size models confidently posing in shapewear, or a person about your grandma’s age modelling a tank top… absurd, isn’t it?

What gave its Founder, Kamakshi, the confidence to go all-in on this avant-garde marketing style? “I didn’t even give it a thought! I decided to focus on what needed to be done rather than what people would be able to accept.”

What made you choose the lingerie space, in spite of the taboos associated with it?

When I started out, I felt like there was no inclusive imagery in India, especially in lingerie. Everything was shown on petite, fair-skin models. Even my mom didn’t like the idea of me venturing into lingerie. For the longest time, she wouldn’t tell anybody what I was working on. The taboo was in my own house. But I’ve always been a rebel kid - so I never bothered about it. Now, of course, my mom is super proud of our work and even makes her friends try and buy my shapewear and lingerie.

Shapeware, like makeup, has evolved from being a tool to cover up women’s “flaws”, to being branded as feminist. How has Butt-Chique worked on shaping this narrative?

We never emphasise in conversation the ‘before and after’ of what shapewear does to your body. It is more about what flatters your body type and is a very personal choice. Our goal was to create products that are easy to wear and not restrictive. We want women to feel confident in their bodies postpartum, or even when they want to party and cover up their food bellies. We want people to look at the product as a helping hand and not something that you need to change the way your body looks. 

Can you elaborate on the kind of research that has gone into making your products sensitive to the needs of Indian customers?

Shapewear is very common abroad, and we have worked on Indianising it with the sizing and shaping. Indians are different from the typical European in terms of our heights and body shapes. India is also majorly pre-diabetic, so we had to put thought into the adhesive used, ensuring it is not harmful on the skin.

While our shade range is not very colour diverse yet, we are mindful about the colours we choose. We didn’t start with the generic nude shade, but used a darker one to suit the higher melanin of Indians. And our size range goes from an XS to 5XL.

What is your brand’s vision for the future?

We are looking to expand on our size and colour ranges. We’re also working on launching new product categories in swimwear, maternity wear and nightwear. Even though celebrities use our products, we never went ahead with a celebrity ambassador. We have always been very clear about wanting women to feel represented.

What have been some hurdles in building your brand?

Often our images get rejected by e-commerce sites who say they don’t want anything to do with inclusivity. They want our models to be petite and light-skinned. Sometimes we’ve had to do shoots to comply with their guidelines. But over time, as the consumer evolves and our brand gains recognition, things have been changing. We also constantly need to point out that inclusive doesn’t just mean plus-size, it includes petite women too.

Any last words for consumers and people interested in your brand?

Even if you don’t like our brand, or don’t resonate with it, voice that in our community. Startups like us are able to develop through customer feedback, and women need to put their needs forward.

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