We had a chat with Sara Jonsdottir, founder and designer of Revol Girl, a lingerie brand dedicated to menstruation. Its panties, sensual, comfortable and sophisticated, want to replace traditional sanitary napkins, so as to safeguard the environment and the wallet. The Canadian designer also told us about the reasons that led her to make this dream come true: the desire to help women, the need to go beyond stereotypes and love for punk (why not?!).
Find out what she told us in the interview:
How did the idea to create Revol Girl was born?
It was simply a combination of several circumstances that brought me to the creation of Revol Girl. It began with my discovery and fascination with the "Third Wave Feminism" in the 90s, where you saw the explosion of the Intersectional Feminists movements – which I felt really struck a chord with me. The movement focused on recognizing the different experiences and varying oppression seen in different minority groups. This is something that holds a lot of weight at Revol Girl, we are here to break every taboo we can and will uplift those that need it most. During this time, I was in my final year of Kwantlen’s Fashion Design degree program and I knew I wanted to do something that related to my new found love for Intersectionality and my desire to make change and help people. That’s when I began my research into alternative menstrual care, and just like that, the two ideas meshed and Revol Girl was born as a school project. I never actually intended to keep the brand going after school, but I got an overwhelming amount of feedback from people that wanted to buy my “product”, so I decided to go all in, and launched 7 months after school finished.
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Why woman’s period is still a taboo? What else can we do to turn it into something normal (as it is)?
I think that the taboo behind periods is very much a institutional conditioning. I think that we are not taught about it properly from a young age, and periods in general have been stigmatized, even in movies! Continuing to encourage the conversation about menstruation, and educating the next generation in the new options now available is our mandate! I also think the taboo extends past just it being something that ‘women’ deal with, but also identifying that not all menstruators are women and the lack of awareness around non-binary and trans issues when it comes to menstruation and me trial products. Lastly, I would say that the best way to normalize periods is simply opening up these conversations across all genders, so that we can all be aware and acknowledge this experience that is shared by so many!
What’s the meaning behind the brand’s name?
Revol Girl is an ode to a feminist punk song call Rebel Girl (Bikini Kill) and it is all about starting a revolution and standing against societal norms. From there we began our own REVOLution! We think of ourselves as a brand that has a main goal to Revolutionize the menstruation industry, an industry that drastically needs shaking up. We think it’s ridiculous that there is a new phone and new technology every single year, but when it comes to menstruation, we are still using the same products our grandparents used. We are here to REVOLutionize this industry.
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What are the things or people that inspire you the most?
We are most inspired by people who empower others! People who use their platforms to show to encourage change and break taboos. There is a lot of shame placed on everyday topics, from body image to body hair. We are so inspired by those that join us in breaking down barriers that people face, simply being themselves!
What’s the secret behind the panties’s names?
The names of the panties come from inspiring women, both in my life, and inspiring women in history! Everything from Serena Williams to Gloria Steinem, to my best friend Kim who was a big supporter of me while(and still to this day) I as launching Revol Girl.
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These panties are also about protecting the environment and saving money. Why do you think these topics are so important nowadays?
The undies help in the fight for the planet, by greatly reducing the amount of waste each menstruator produces. By creating a product that not only is excellent in its function, but also is fun to wear, the hope is that it will encourage menstruators to switch from using the regular disposable products, to products that are not only just better for their bodies, but also better for the environment! The topics of protecting the environment and saving money, are both very important, because we believe that we are stewards of everything we have, ie the planet, our bodies, and our money!
Your Instagram feed, as well as your website, is all about body positivity and diversity inclusion (and beautiful realistic drawings as well!). What can you tell us about it?
We are extremely passionate about inclusivity, in every form. We are all about empowerment, and so, we recognize that empowerment has no bias! We believe that as an intersectional feminist organization, it is our job to be as consistently inclusive as we can! From the way we talk, to our advertising, to the very product we sell! There should be no barriers for any menstruator, they should be able to see themselves in our product, in whatever form they encounter our product, whether on social, the website or in person. That being said we are always a work in progress, we are continually adding to our gender inclusivity and other barriers some may face, but as long as we are striving for total inclusion, we are following our values!
Is there a final message you want to share with our readers?
We have several goals and projects on the run at any given time, but we address needs on an individualistic basis. We have had people who at the time could not afford the underwear, (which we know is initially pricey – but it comes with the high quality and handmade aspects of the garment) but because we value a person’s life being revolutionized, we have been happy to offer the product at cost or in many cases, for free. We find it very important to create a culture of giving, so we give each of our employees the ability to gift one pair a week to anyone they might come into contact with. We also provide a platform for people with certain disabilities or needs, to customize their products. We work really hard to make sure everyone has the opportunity to use our period proof underwear.
Something else that is very important for me to mention, is that I do not (and could not) do the his on my own! I have an amazing business partner, who doubles as my life partner! As a duo we work incredibly well together, crushing taboos and double standards. He is able to bring a different perspective into a he mix and incredibly open to learning and advocating for menstruators. He is a true ally to the intersectional feminist movement. And together we have an amazing team of stellar employees that make this thing happen, we could not do what we do without a team that is just as driven to squash the patriarchy as we are!