Anyone who has had the absolute pleasure of surfing the crimson wave will vividly remember the first time they saw red… down there. As a teen, I was dorky with knobby knees that knocked together. My whole body felt foreign—and that was even before my period came to town. When it did arrive, lighting up the seat of my pants like an airport runway at night, I was mortified in an entirely new way, feeling farther away from my body than ever before.
Did you have a similar experience? Who didn’t fear being the first in your group of friends to get our periods—or, gasp, the last. I don’t really know anyone who had a great first impression of Aunt Flo.
That first moment of panic is one Knixwear wants to help girls avoid with their new line, Knixteen. The design—offered in smaller sizes than the original, and in two styles, bikini and boy-short—features Knixwear’s famed “‘Oh-No’ Proof Technology,” which uses Lycra as a built-in panty liner to wick away moisture, kill odour and stop leaks. The reality of being on the rag for up to a week of every month is nothing to mess with, and that was, in part, the inspiration behind Knixwear’s period-proof underwear.
“Many women think they need to accept that having leaks is a part of having your period—that we’re going to ruin our underwear—but that absolutely does not have to happen. It’s a complete myth to think that way,” says Joanna Griffiths, the Toronto-based founder, CEO and inventor of Knixwear, a high-tech lingerie company that launched in 2013 with patented period-proof undies and has since expanded to include an 8-in-1 bra (that raised more than $1 million on Kickstarter!) and workout wear.
When Knixwear launched, it received overwhelmingly positive reviews, and it has continued to do so. But Griffiths kept hearing similar feedback from her devotees. “We were consistently hearing two things: the first was, ‘Oh my god, where was this when I was a teenager?!’ and the second was, ‘I love your product so much, I want to buy some for my daughter,’ says Griffiths.
The latter nagged at Griffiths, who started looking into the teen market. When her team realized that more research was showing girls getting their periods at younger ages, she decided to act. “I felt like we had the opportunity to create a product that could positively impact young girls,” she says. “It’s like a loss of adolescence becomes a huge stressor in 12-year olds.”
And that’s how Knixteen came to be. Griffiths and her team wanted to make sure that no teen is made to feel less confident, less powerful or less beautiful because she’s on her period. And she wanted to get rid of the anxiety of unpredictable cycles, especially when a teen is just getting used to her period. On the creative side, her brand released a series of ads focused on the stressful moments we’ve all face at school—the big test, the complex math problem, the sports game, the first dance—and showed how your period doesn’t need to add to anymore worry. “It’s like those quintessential junior high moments that every single person remembers experiencing—and I just love the concept off telling your period to shut up,” says Griffiths.
(Def wish we had Knixteen back when we were in junior high.)
Along with the two Knixteen underwear styles, the brand also offers some real talk on all things period, which can help remove a lot of the anxiety that comes with not knowing what the heck is going on. “We want to encourage women to embrace the blood, sweat and tears that accompany a life well lived. We firmly believe that life begins at the edge of your comfort zone and we want to squash boundaries and help women feel confident and comfortable in who they are,” Griffiths tells us. “I think in order for that to happen, we have to normalize these things that people don’t want to talk about. As a brand, we don’t want to sensationalize anything; we want to be really real and authentic with how we talk about periods, and we want to give women more options and power to live their best life.”