“I really believe we can change culture,” says Thinx cofounder and CEO Miki Agrawal. That may seem like a lot to ask of a line of stylish underwear designed to prevent menstrual leaks, but Agrawal brings the wit and provocation of a performance artist to marketing products that have historically been associated with shame—and she’s catalyzed a movement along the way.
Agrawal first grabbed everyone’s attention with a New York subway ad campaign featuring a series of refined, innuendo-filled images of peeled grapefruit and runny eggs. Last September, in lieu of a traditional New York Fashion Week runway show, she staged an event where models in Thinx (including a trans man in the company’s boy shorts) delivered monologues about oppression.
As Thinx expands (it reached tens of millions of dollars in revenue in 2016), Agrawal brings the same approach—a mixture of high-tech merchandise, considered design, and a rule-breaking philosophy—to new efforts. Last year, she introduced Icon, a brand of incontinence underwear, and Tushy, a bidet attachment, along with six different styles of Thinx underwear. The company is now creating a line of reusable tampon applicators and athletic clothes that incorporate its moisture-wicking technology.
This article is part of our coverage of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2017.