Soo Kyung Bae's jewellery draws attention to the "thigh-gap trend"


These jewellery pieces by Singapore designer Soo Kyung Bae are intended to spark a debate about unrealistic body-image expectations portrayed by the media.

Bae, a final-year industrial design student at the National University of Singapore, created the TGap Jewellery pieces to draw attention to the area between a woman's thighs – often referred to as a thigh gap.

The thigh gap has become considered a beauty ideal among young people in the Western world, sparking an internet trend for teenage girls and young women measuring the distance between the tops of their inner legs, then posting the results on social media.

"Thigh gap represents one of the first few trends regarding body ideals the media has popularised," Bae told Dezeen. "It clearly demonstrates media's power on influencing one's perception of body image."

Thigh gap jewellery by Soo Kyung Bae

"The jewellery pieces take the thigh-gap trend to another level, the pieces are created in hopes of sparking questions," she added. "If we let the media to keep popularising such unrealistic body ideal, will this eventually become reality?"

Each of the pieces were created from 18-karat gold-plated sterling silver, and are marketed on a website.

The online store is intended to show the media's ability to influence people to believe or follow a trend.

When a user reaches the site, a popup leads them to a platform that reveals the actual story behind the collection.

After the website was launched on 22 March 2016, Bae said she received a lot of shocked, enraged, and confused comments. But as the story behind the website was revealed, people were "appreciative" of her attempt to bring awareness to the issue.

"By using outrageous products, I hope to bring a provocative jolt that leads us to ponder and reflect upon what we are like as a society and the absurd things we value and obsess over – as well as how this creates unnecessary pressure for women and girls," she said.

Thigh gap jewellery by Soo Kyung Bae

"One can use design to spark debate and reflection, to be a catalyst for people to decide for themselves about their position on this matter," she added. "I hope it leads to more people-centred, people-loving conclusions, but it is for the audience to decide for themselves."

Designers are increasingly addressing issues surrounding body image. Debora Dax aimed to highlight the subject by creating underwear adorned with artificial pubic hair and a skirt padded to look like love handles, while Imme van der Haak printed photos of people onto silk shrouds so that the wearer's image is overlaid with someone else's face and body.

Earlier this year, the iconic Barbie doll became available in several different body types, including a more full-figured version for the first time.

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  • Mark

    I mean, isn’t that what genitalia is for?

    • amsam

      Genitalia is for a number of things.

  • Chris

    “Unrealistic”? I mean, it’s not attainable for everyone, nor should it be. But let’s stop attacking thin people as the enemy. Good grief.

    • G

      Very good point.

  • Zac

    This is ridiculous! The gap?!

  • Kay

    Haha this is hilarious! Weird to think of non-space as sexy but it can be.

  • Cam


  • Zoe Martin

    “By using outrageous products, I hope to bring a provocative jolt that leads us to ponder and reflect upon what we are like as a society and the absurd things we value and obsess over – as well as how this creates unnecessary pressure for women and girls.”

    A clever concept.

  • picky

    Golden rain, goldeeen raaain…

  • Chris A.

    “The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way.

    Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else.

    All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.”

  • Davide

    I’m sure this will spark the right discussion… *yawn

    Somebody please free designers of the idea their products need “added meaning”. These light-hearted concepts become embarrassing the moment they come to live in texts.

    • Guest

      It’s getting people talking though so how is this valueless?

  • Concerned Citizen

    Thigh gap is a new trend? I remember measuring thigh gaps of adult women back in the 70s, using finger widths as the gauge. Cher was three fingers. Was this kid born last night?

    • Guest

      You are grim.

      • Concerned Citizen

        You have to hide in anonymity.

  • I think any conceptual line that makes individuals think is fantastic! Particularly when dealing with difficult topics. Many people will not actually wear this type of jewellery and therefore the discussion can not go very far outside of the internet. I truly appreciate the intention behind the line.

    I am the creator of the Ideal Woman symbol, which also addresses the demands put on females bodies and the thigh gap. The symbol, which came from Barbie blown up to Westerns societal ideals, smiles back at you (aka the thigh gap), reminding you that she is an unnatural, unrealistic, oversimplified portrayal of “beauty.” It is a reminder that YOU ARE THE IDEAL WOMAN – perfectly imperfect.

    I am so thrilled to see other jewellery designers addressing this topics and issues! Thank you Dezeen for having and promoting this conversation.

    • Guest

      Well said.

  • AmmaarahF

    At the end of the day, beauty standards are unrealistic for everyone. The thigh gap trend is just another example of this. Some people naturally have them, yes, but the majority of women don’t. Yet somehow we’re being conditioned into thinking that in order to be desirable, we all need them.

    It’s sad really, and I’m grateful for concepts like this that add a sense a humour to the issue. It’s about time someone mocked how genuinely ridiculous today’s ideology of beauty is.

    • Guest

      Agreed. It highlights the ludicrousness of it all rather well.

  • James

    What about the women who didn’t realise there was such a thing as a thigh gap trend until they saw this jewellery? Now some might feel anxious about it. The project focusses on something with the aim of challenging a harmful body-image expectations but actually works to reinforce them.