Kotex vs Lunapads designer showdown

As if we weren’t already jealous and mildly tweaked when we saw Kotex’s progressive “U by Kotex” campaign last year engage millions of girls and women to talk positively about periods – the folks at Kotex have done it again. But this time, with the help of a celebrity fashionista, Patricia Field of Sex and the City fame.

In their latest campaign, called “Ban the Bland“, with the help of a cool online tool, budding artists are asked to help design a limited edition fashionable menstrual pad and win a trip to New York Fashion Week.  Wait a minute: a fashionable menstrual pad? Isn’t that what Madeleine set out to do 18 years ago when she made her first set of Lunapads? Sheesh, we’re really starting to feel like Kotex is taking a page from everything Lunapads has done to make periods cool, stylish and fun.

Kudos to Kotex for investing in positive messages about periods (in a way that we could never afford to do!) and revitalizing the feminine hygiene  product category.  But let’s not forget that at the end of the day they are still pushing disposable pads and tampons (that happen to be priced up to 50% higher than other disposables.) Disposable feminine hygiene products are an ugly environmental blight to our planet; according to E-magazine, Franklin and Associates reports that over 12 billion pads and tampons go into North American landfills every year.  I haven’t worn a disposable pad in a decade but remember how they feel: sticky, sweaty and made from plastic and other synthetic materials.  Is that cool? I don’t think so.

What’s your take? Do you like what Kotex is doing? What ideas do you have for us to help get our message out to girls and women that Lunapads have always made beautiful menstrual pads that are better for your body and the earth? We want your ideas!


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  • Olivia

    I like the positive spin on periods, but I don’t like the disposable part. Instead of looking at our periods as an inconvenience, we should embrace them as signs of our fertility and ability to reproduce. My girls will start with cloth when they are old enough and they are being taught that a period isn’t an inconvenience. Now, if we could just go back to the days when we got a week off from our work. 🙂

  • Ashley

    I don’t really like it. I think it’s sort of pushy, and fad-ish using the whole Sex and the City thing (which is a show I don’t like to begin with). It’s all very… Plastic. Just like the products. I think it just pushes the disposable, easy, materialistic culture that we are living in. It’s like today’s “fashion”- it’s only meant for one season and then you toss it. Not very healthy for the environment, for your body or even for the emotions.

    Yes, it’s good that it promotes discussions about THE PERIOD (something that was sort of hush, hush, even when I came of age) but I’m not sure it’s totally the right message. I don’t think menstruation is cause for a fashion show. It’s a natural part of our cycle, and buying the “cool pads” should not become a status symbol…

    I use cloth pads because they are healthier for me and the environment (and really, not as inconvenient as people make them out to be). It’s just a bonus that it can be cute.

    Just my thoughts on the matter…

  • Nicole

    The existence of reusable menstrual products is still not main stream. It’s big with feminists and environmentalists, but even in those circles I’d bet that its only popular among the truly devoted and their word of mouth/web sites.

    Mainstream awareness of what lunapads (my phone won’t let me go back and proper noun that!) As an organization is is necessary. I suggest using public radio/television as a platform…your pads4girls alone would make a great show. Also, networking with feminists/female focused ‘toy stores’ like Babeland and For Her Pleasure here in the states would bump awareness.

  • It’s hard to believe that disposable feminine hygeine products could be made even MORE wasteful. How many extra resources go into manufacturing “custom fashion pads” that are made to BE THROWN AWAY AFTER ONE USE?!

    Good grief.

  • In this interview on fashionista.com: https://ow.ly/4vwFz Patricia Fields says:
    “I want my environments to please my eyes, my ears, and make me happy so I can burst out like a supernova.”

    Oh the irony!!!!
    How can she talk about her “environments” being pleasing to the eyes while shilling disposable menstrual products???

  • EC

    Lunapads deserves all this credit. What Kotex doing might be nice for feminism in rich countries (let’s face it- their ideas wouldn’t fly in the third world) but the environment is more of a time sensitive issue. I’m really bummed out that Kotex is pulling focus from what really matters in the name of fashion. Ick.

  • The interview is totally creepy! How do you all like her idea for colored tampons?

    “But for example if I were going to merchandise a tampon line I would have black, purple, blue and a more magenta-ish pink and I would call it “jewel tone woman.”

    Nice: bet that would have some totally supernova chemicals and dyes in it. Maybe she is friends with the gal over at My New Pink Button?? (For our thoughts on genital cosmetic coloring see: https://www.lunapads.com/blog/2010/01/pretty-in-pink/)

    Finally, what is the deal with this?? “Charlotte was always the most popular for the men. The men will go straight for the preppy because that’s the woman he can bring home to mama. He’s got this dream he has to bring this girl home to his mom and he can’t bring home the hooker, or the professor smarty pants who will be too strong for the mama. (Charlotte’s tampon) would look like flowers and gingham and Barbie dolls.”

    This is just getting weirder and weirder…

  • This is un-logical. I mean, if you want a nice environment, how can you work in the disposable industry?

    As ideas to how to get Lunapads more wide spread, as a retailer I’m also willing to have suggestions.
    I am soon doing an advertisement in an awesome -definitely eco-feminist and empowering- magazine and I hope it will help.

    The difficulty for small businesses is to compete with big ones in term of advertisement. We don’t have the budget to get seen times and times again in big magazines, yet ultimately it is what would get us noticed the most.

    I think selecting with whom we work for adverts, trading blog articles with other green/eco-conscious brands, etc. can definitely help. That’s what I’m working on for now, inspired by your awesomness! 😉

  • I guess I am happy about the “baby steps” of the mainstream companies taking toward being body positive and characterizing women and their natural cycles as something to be celebrated rather than something shameful.

    I think that campaigns such as this move us as a society toward celebrating and valuing the natural, and eventually that attitude can be directed back at the earth. Once we as a society value the earth and women’s bodies as much as they should be valued, it stands to reason people will return to healthier, more eco-friendly products for feminine hygiene.

  • Hmmm… Like many of the other posters I have mixed feelings on this… On one hand playing with the designer thing was fun and I have mad respect for Patricia Fields as a stylist but even after one month using Lunapads just looking at that plastic thing grossed me out and they are insanely marked up.

    What they are doing really well though is apealing to a young audience. I want everyone to know about Lunapads and how wonderful they are so my advice would to start going for a younger demographic. I can say as a teenager I was really close to being turned off from cloth pads by everyone calling them “mama cloth” Thats is in part why I chose Lunapads, I felt they had a much “younger” aproach to cloth pads (with the designs and style ect). I found out about cloth pads through an alternative fashion site (https://www.mookychick.co.uk/) so I think it would be awesome if blogs or sites that are geared more to teenagers reviewed Lunapads or if Lunpads advertised in magazines that younger girls read (like New Moon, Kiki, Seventeen)I know it must be difficult for a smaller buisness to market on the same scale as a monstrosity as big as Kotex but i’ve seen someother younger lunapads users here that I’m sure would be willing to help rally the younger demographic (including myself!) Also I think it is important to emphazise how much better they are for your body… Wow that was long! But I really want everyone to know about the fabulousness that is Lunapads!

    • absolutely! totally hear you loud & clear on this, alex — thanks so much for your thoughtful comment and suggestions.

  • So now Kotex wants the consumer to do their design work for basically free?!!? Marketing ploy or uninspired?!?

    Ugh… glad to be sportin’ my psychodalia lunapads this month!

  • Elyse

    I would love to see cloth pads (and periods too!) talked about in schools. From 5th grade on the public and private schools (catholic to boot!) I attended made a big deal out of sex ed, but no one talked to me about my period. I was told about male and female anatomy and how they worked to make a baby, but my monthly bleeding was completely ignored, swept under the rug like a dirty secondary thing inappropriate for polite company. When did sex become more appropriate than periods? My mom gave me a book and told me where to find “the stuff” and that was it. Someone needs to start talking to girls about their period. Yes, mothers should be the ones doing it and my daughter will know cloth is a great option, but parents are supposed to be talking to their kids about sex too. If we can’t trust them with the sex talk, why do we trust them with the period talk?
    I’d also love to see doctors talking about cloth pads and periods. I’m in my second year of medical school and you can bet that will be a topic of conversation with my female patients who are reaching adolescence. Maybe you can drop some fliers at some pediatrician offices. Pharmaceutical companies do it. Why can’t you 😉

  • Benelux2000

    I thought playing with the design tool was fun, but I have some questions: are those dyes safe?  Isn’t it wasteful to just have a fun pad that you throw away?  I love my Lunapads because I can have fun month after month and they’re actually paying for themselves now!  How cool is that!?!?!  Where most people pay for pantyliners, normal sized pads, long pads, overnight pads, tampons, every single month (if they go for the sizing options), I have 2 sets and I feel that I’ve paid for them even in the 3 months I have had them.  

    It’s sort of funny how disposable companies are trying to make their products more consumer friendly, but they’re putting more money in their pocket because the designer pads probably cost more and they have to have more machines knocking out their designs, probably more people too… oh maybe that’s a plus…more jobs.

    Anyway, I will stick with my Lunapads.  I also would love to have them talked about in classrooms.  Most sex ed classes are all about the condom, but sex ed is more than that… it’s understanding your bodies and that’s not always easy for girls.  Many times it’s taboo to even mention the P word (period).  Let’s loosen up and celebrate girls turning into women!

  • Honestly, instead of spending so much time and money on making their products more fashionable, I believe they need to move their focus on making their products mold-free first. 😉 Just a thought? 

    At the end of the day, I need to know that my body, as well as the environment, is healthy – there is nothing more fashionable than that. Lunapads fit the bill, literally.

  • Sarah

    I would love to see Lunapads given to girls in school as samples in health class or after a maturation lesson! I would have loved to see these cute cloth pads instead of pastel yellow boxes filled with bleached cotton plasticky pads and cardboard tampons. I’ve suffered with stuffing bleached cotton in my nethers and sweating through plastic pads and oftentimes toward the end of my period when it’s light, i just said screw it, wore two pairs of underwear and free bled.

    As a young college student considering lunapads and the diva cup after having had enough of disposables, I have read reviews and looked on this website for information which awesomely enough there is plenty. I am going to order a sample and see if I want to make the switch, but Lunapads sound so much better than disposables and I wish I could have gotten this option as a girl in school learning about my period. (In the Utah, periods are definitely taught in school but in a very medical way, and if a teacher says the words “condom” or “sex” they get fired.) I think giving these cute cloth Lunapads to young girls will make them feel better about their periods because they’re easy to use, easy to care for, comfortable, and they can match their Lunapads to their outfits!

  • Furrypals_5

    I think it’s a great idea and about time mainstream plastic/disposable pad companies jumped on the bandwagon that Cloth pads started.  I still would NOT use a plastic, smelly pad—but kudos to Kotex for opening up this taboo subject!