Designer Vagina winning garments

This is what a real ‘Designer Vagina’ looks like

Labiaplasty – a procedure that shortens or reshapes the lips of the vulva to make them look ‘neater’ – is the fastest growing cosmetic surgery globally empty[1]. And girls as young as 9 empty[2] are requesting a ‘Designer Vagina’.

Vulva shame is wrong on many levels. And it’s a huge problem, affecting almost half of women (44%), with millions risking their health by avoiding cervical screenings. So we decided to turn the phrase ‘Designer Vagina’ on its head. In September 2019, we launched a competition for students to design garments that represent vulvas in beautiful and positive ways. Because we should celebrate them in all their diversity. And love our own just the way they are.

A panel of industry leaders judged the entries, and five winners were awarded a bursary to realise their creations. See them in all their beautiful glory below.

Elena Coli:

Self-acceptance is something I work on daily myself, and although I am not against aesthetic surgery, any enhancement done to please the male gaze is problematic.

The winners, in their own words


“Crafted from handmade granny squares showing 40 unique crocheted vulvas, the Fanny Square Jacket celebrates the diversity of vaginas and vulvas. The squares represent different skin tones, and not everyone has a vulva, just like not every woman has a vagina. The sleeves characterise pubic hair, another taboo. I wanted to make the surface textured to encourage people to touch it – I hope it makes them smile. My final year of university has been full of all things vulva! I wrote my dissertation about the lack of vulva diversity in art and media and how this has increased demand for labiaplasty surgeries and affects mental health. So when I heard about this competition, I had to apply!”

Sanna Karjalainen designer vagina
Credit Sanna Karjalainen
Sanna Karjalainen sketch designer vagina

“The inspiration behind my garment was the ‘vagina dentata’ (Latin for toothed vagina), which was itself inspired by Medusa’s head. In mythology, her hair of snakes represents the natural cycle of life – birth, death, freedom, and sometimes even pubic hair. I wanted to take something seen as ‘ugly’ and celebrate it as beautiful, relating to how society tells women that their vulvas aren’t acceptable, making them feel insecure and pushing them to change their body. Plant-based dyes and fabrics – and embroidery to represent hair – support the concepts of natural beauty, female empowerment and ending shame around the appearance of vaginas.”

Lucile Mazeaud designer vagina
Credit Lucile Mazeaud

“I was really saddened to learn that women and young girls had considered and gone through surgery to permanently alter such an intimate part of their body for aesthetic purposes. The opportunity to challenge the mindset of not being good enough was one I couldn’t pass up. I was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, when artists rebelled against mass production, believing there was more value in handcrafted, unique products, and that beauty was found in their imperfections. I wanted to convey to women that we do not need to fit a generic pattern to be beautiful. As a print and textile designer, I wanted to bring vaginas into the pattern, in an elegant way. Which is why I incorporated them into the flower – ‘flower’ or ‘lady garden’ are terms I've seen and heard used for vagina. Plus, we find florals beautiful, yet they have imperfections and each petal is unique.”

Rebecca Davies designer vagina
Credit Rebecca Davies
Rebecca Davies sketch designer vagina

“In creating this garment, I drew on how women throw on oversized clothing after intimate moments and why we feel the need to hide, whether or not there is a need for comfort. The frayed vaginas suggest cuts, whether from surgery or unwanted genital mutilation. And they’re all different, to portray the natural and beautiful differences in all of our vulvas. Vulva shame is an issue that has affected me personally. It’s something I feel we have all been made to feel self-conscious about. We shouldn’t have to feel this way and we should be made to feel more comfortable with and confident about our image. The experience was really empowering and helped me become more confident in myself.”

Kian Richards designer vagina
Credit Kian Richards

“Listening to Nirvana's Heart-Shaped Box, there’s a passage about meat-eating orchids, which triggered my idea for this garment, even though I’m not a floral person at all, I prefer weird plants! In terms of the biker element, I love what that subculture stands for, the way it became a place for gay people to experience and experiment with free love in its extreme (fetish leather looks come from there). I researched the British female scene and ended up finding VC in London. Although my piece is not functional for riding a motorbike, I wanted to channel that freedom and sense of belonging. I ended up with this strange, butch, bodice/orchid-like patent leather biker garment. The competition really appealed to me. Self-acceptance is something I work on daily myself, and although I am not against aesthetic surgery, any enhancement done to please the male gaze is problematic. Self-worth should come above all.”

Elena Coli designer vagina
Credit Elena Coli
Elena Coli sketch designer vagina

No more vulva shame, just vulva love

Descoperă mai multe