A very different kind of photo exhibit is taking over a Toronto gallery next week, hosted by the Canadian women’s intimate wear brand Knix.
Toronto is the second stop for “Life After Birth,” which launched in New York last month. The exhibit features photos from 250 women, some of them famous (Amy Schumer, Jemima Kirke, Ricki Lake, Jillian Harris and Christy Turlington) but many not. The pictures are intimate moments of the postpartum experience that many women face but often don’t talk about. The exhibit is raw, natural and very real.
If you want to see what meaningful brand purpose and authenticity looks like in 2019, look at Knix. “Life After Birth” is a marketing initiative tied to the launch of the new Knix Leakproof Nursing Bra and maternity collection, but the exhibit speaks to the broader ethos at the core of the Knix brand and its founder, Joanna Griffiths.
Knix started as an underwear brand designed for the reality of women’s lives with leak proof underwear capable of containing urine, blood and sweat. But Knix has become about much more than the product. Since launching in 2013, Griffiths has built a community of real women sharing experience about their lives. It’s why Knix uses real customers rather than models in its marketing.
The idea for “Life After Birth” stems from Griffiths’ own postpartum experience. After giving birth in the spring, she felt frustrated by the unrealistic images of postpartum life and messages directed at women urging them to go on diets and work out to restore their pre-pregnancy body.
At the same time she was dealing with the common frustrations and challenges of breastfeeding. Griffiths felt like the postpartum narrative was at odds with her own experience and what Knix stood for (see the Instagram post below). Her idea was for a new message: “You are perfect as you, you are supported, and you are seen.”
Knix surveyed its own customers and found that more than 56% of women experience postpartum depression, 76% feel pressure to “bounce back” after giving birth, and 90% said people commented on their body after giving birth. The underlying objective of “Life After Birth” is to change the conversation so that postpartum women feel empowered and supported during a challenging time.
Some of the photos are user generated, while others were taken by birth photographer and doula Heather White. The project was produced through a partnership with Carriage House Birth and Empowered Birth Project. After Toronto, the “Life After Birth” exhibit will make stops in L.A., Austin, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, Portland, and Minneapolis.
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This is what happens when our 5-day postpartum founder & CEO plans the launch of our Postpartum and Maternity Line👇🏻 "I took this photo during a hospital visit with a lactation consultant three days postpartum. She told me my breasts were the same size and just as hard as "soccer balls" and handed me two ice packs to help with the swelling. Elsewhere across town in those same few minutes, a team member stood in for me as we were honored with one of our biggest industry awards to-date. Mentally it was a battle. I could build a company, but I was struggling to feed my child. I felt like such a failure. The nurse provided me with nipple shields, something I knew nothing about but saved me during that first month. Every image of breastfeeding I had seen the women looked natural, at peace and happy. I shared this photo and my sentiments on Instagram and was overwhelmed when over 100 people responded with their own struggles. In that instant, the idea for the Life After Birth Project (@lifeafterbirthproject) was born. In that moment, my eyes were opened.” Our founder and CEO @joannaknix shares how giving birth to her son Cole sparked the idea to create a movement to share all the real life moments of postpartum life. The Life After Birth Project (@lifeafterbirthproject) is a travelling gallery that highlights 250 women’s postpartum journeys, as well as the stories that honor their transformative experiences. In partnership with @carriagehousebirth our gallery will be open to the public in New York on August 22- at 27 Greene Street, in Toronto on September 17-22nd, LA October 24-27 and eight other cities this fall (more details to come!) Join us in this movement by using the hashtag #LifeAfterBirth and following us on our new Instagram account @lifeafterbirthproject #knix