Lizzo launches new shapewear brand YITTY

As a singer, rapper, songwriter and flutist, Lizzo is already booked and busy - but the 33-year-old has added yet another string to her bow, venturing into the bankable but competitive shapewear market with her new line, YITTY.

Debuting with three collections spanning outerwear, underwear, loungewear and athleisure essentials, YITTY may have Kim Kardashian - founder of shapewear behemoth SKIMS - shaking in her Balenciaga boots. 

Although announced at the end of March, Lizzo's line of shapewear officially launched on Tuesday (local time) in partnership with Fabletics - an activewear empire co-founded by Almost Famous star Kate Hudson in 2013. 

As a beloved paragon of body positivity, Lizzo has formulated a range of shapewear that takes body types and proportions into consideration, as well as traditional sizing. Long heralded as a leader of the movement - which focuses on celebrating diversity and varying body shapes - the 'Good as Hell' hitmaker has also made sure her collections are available in sizes XS to 6X.

"I felt that I was constantly being told through TV and magazines that my body wasn't good enough and in order to be considered 'acceptable', I had to inflict some sort of pain upon it to fit into an archetype of beauty," Lizzo said in a statement. 

"Because of this, I've been wearing shapewear for a long time, maybe since I was in fifth or sixth grade."

The line's three collections include 'Nearly Naked', a range of lightweight shaping garments; 'Mesh Me', an array of smoothing mesh styles that can be worn as underwear or outerwear; and 'Major Label', an assortment of athleisure pieces including leggings and sweatshirts.

Unlike its Spanx and SKIMS predecessors, YITTY offers a subscription model which has been subjected to some criticism on social media. The VIP membership provides exclusive offers and benefits, including a monthly credit which unlocks additional savings. However, many of the major discounts are only available to VIP members - who pay US$49.95 a month to be part of the programme.

"I hate that YITTY [is] connected to Fabletics. I literally hate how they try to trap you in a membership for some clothes," one woman tweeted on Tuesday.

"Yeah the Lizzo YITTY line looks great but unfortunately the non-membership prices are out of my league... why do I need to sign up before I even look at the product?" another added.

However, fans of the brand are already heralding the line as an extension of Lizzo's music - bright, bold, direct and empowering. Unlike SKIMS' simple designs and muted, neutral colourways, YITTY embraces bold hues and statement patterns, spanning vibrant yellows, blues, reds, pinks and purples, modelled by women of varying shapes and sizes.

"Pinch me [because] I must be dreaming! That was the best online shopping experience I've ever had, seeing all the women who look like me, seeing stretch marks not airbrushed out," one woman tweeted following YITTY's official launch.

"Nearly cried when I saw models that looked like me in every single item of clothing I purchased," another agreed.

"Just bought me some YITTY [and] this shit best be litty for the titties and bitties," a third joked.

As the world gradually returns to pre-pandemic norms with travel, significant events and socialising now largely back on the cards, shapewear sales have spiked following a prolonged drought. As people were confined to their homes and embraced a 'comfort-first' mentality, Spanx, lingerie, thongs and uncomfortable undergarments were relegated to the back of the drawer, unwanted and unworn. 

But according to the Washington Post, shapewear sales steadily began to climb in early-to-mid-2021 as more people returned to the office and day-to-day norms. People once again began springing for slimming pants, supportive bras and bodysuits to compress, lift and squeeze their way back into their pre-pandemic clothing, long forgotten in the depths of the closet.

Although modern iterations of shapewear are far more comfortable than the early and historic precursors (think corsets and girdles), with now mostly seamless and stretchy designs, the premise remains the same: to shape, flatter and 'correct' the body.

People use shapewear for the "exact same reason they used to wear corsets: because mainstream fashion does not fit real bodies," historian Alanna McKnight told the outlet. 

"As people prepare to go back into the world, it's easier to slap on a pair of Spanx and suck it in artificially than it is to get in marathon shape."