Kiwi artists launch unique underwear designs for charity

Great Full Bum Huggers

Hanna Moore (left) and Kiri-Rose Kendall (right) model Great Full’s new Bum Huggers to support Bowel Cancer New Zealand. Images by Marissa Findlay.

Not-for-profit Great Full launched their new creative project this month and this time it’s an underwear range to raise funds for Bowel Cancer New Zealand. The underwear features new works by celebrated Kiwi artists including Dick Frizzell, Flox and Michel Tuffery and fellow creatives Misery (Tanja McMillan), Shane Hansen and Ruby Jones. The detailed designs are printed on Great Full’s Bum Huggers collection of limited edition underwear for both men and women.

The project was launched this month to support Bowel Cancer Awareness Month and all profits will go to Bowel Cancer New Zealand. As many people die of bowel cancer each year in New Zealand as breast cancer and prostate cancer combined as it’s the second highest cause of cancer death in New Zealand (according to Bowel Cancer NZ) and affects younger people as well as older people.

For Great Full founder Melissa Gardi, the project is a way to bring creative Kiwis together to make a difference in the lives of fellow New Zealanders. It’s the second charity project for Great Full with the first being a collection of baby onesies that was launched in August last year to raise money for the Starship Foundation.

The Bum Huggers are made in New Zealand using organic cotton and water-based inks and are an ideal gift at $40 a pair. They’re also delivered in plant-based, compostable packaging and all profits are donated to Bowel Cancer New Zealand. Great Full’s Bum Huggers are available to purchase online at greatfull.co.nz.

We caught up with Melissa Gardi to find out more about Great Full’s new project, what the production of the underwear was like and what the response has been like so far?

How did this new Great Full project come about and why was underwear chosen as the product to raise money?
Right after our first project launched last year to support Starship I got a call from Bowel Cancer New Zealand who loved what we were doing and wondered if we could help them raise awareness about bowel cancer. Once I heard the facts about how prevalent bowel cancer is in New Zealand, it made absolute sense to support them. Just as many people die of bowel cancer each year in New Zealand as both breast cancer and prostate cancer combined, and unfortunately increasingly younger people – we’re talking as young as those in their twenties! – are being diagnosed. When considering a collection that would be fitting, I thought a vibrant, colourful range of underwear (or briefs) featuring artwork by local Kiwi artists could be a practical and fun way to bring focus to a serious topic – and our bum huggers were born! Luckily, each of the artists I asked immediately got on board with the concept, with Dick Frizzell, Misery, Michel Tuffery, Flox, Ruby Jones and Shane Hansen each creating and gifting the artwork for the project. What was such a wonderful surprise was that each of the artists generously modelled their design for the project.

The underwear is made here in New Zealand, what was the production process like and how did you go about finding a supplier?
We are incredibly fortunate to have such talented makers In New Zealand – producing collections that are made here is a must for us. I had the advantage of being able to use the same local businesses for our bum huggers as we used for the baby onesies including our pattern maker, fabric supplier, screen printer, cutter and machinists. While we had some bumps in the road trying to produce a full collection during lockdown, but by employing a local team meant once we hit Level 3 we could get back on track quickly. Now, more than ever, it’s apparent that we have the means and the talent in Aotearoa. And while supporting worthwhile causes is core to what we do, by buying an item from Great Full’s collections, you’re supporting our local industry.

What has the response been like so far?
Amazing – so far we’ve had such a warm response from people worldwide – we’ve even had some orders from Australia and the UK! People also seem to love that they can learn more about the artists and collaborators on www.greatfull.co.nz. Sharing stories about those involved in each project is a big part of what Great Full is about. We want to highlight the great talent that we have in New Zealand.

Can you tell us some more about the photos by Marissa Findlay and the people featured in them?
Marissa Findlay is a gifted Auckland-based photographer, who made some beautiful portraits of people in our community wearing bum huggers – from lawyer/model Lanu Faletau to expecting mum Ashley McInroe and makeup artist Amber Carroll. Warm and inspiring, each of the photos showcase a different print in the bum hugger collection.

Marissa Findlay adds, “I cast people I felt were positive about their bodies and were grateful for their bodies. Hanna Moore for example has cerebral palsy but she doesn’t let it define her, Amber has struggles with her weight and has worked super hard on her body and health for the past 4 years and has been super confident at all sizes. Kiri is a dancer and athlete and her body has afforded her many opportunities in dance and athletics, Liam from Sauce mag, wanting to take care of his body and health, Ashley who is carrying a baby and Lanu who is respectful of her body and culture as a Tongan woman and she’s an incredible lawyer to boot! So when Melissa asked me to shoot models for the bum huggers I wanted to go further than that brief and I’m so happy with the images.”

Great Full Bum Huggers

Liam Sharma (left) and Ashley McInroe (right) model Great Full’s new Bum Huggers.

Great Full bum huggers

Lanu Faletau (left) and Amber Carroll (right) model Great Full’s new Bum Huggers.

 

Great Full Bum Huggers

Great Full Bum Huggers

 

Portraits by Marissa Findlay, underwear images supplied.

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