Techies bare (almost) all in undies ads

Julie Sygiel, the founder and CEO of underwear start-up Dear Kate, didn't expect the backlash over her latest ad campaign.

Sygiel's company bills itself as a maker of "performance underwear" for "high performing women." So when the company rolled out its latest underwear line called The Ada Collection—after pioneering computer programmer Ada Lovelace—it used real-life women techies as models.

"It's been surprising because we've tend to feature women in our ads who we admire because of who they are and what they do and not only what they look like," Sygiel said Friday on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "And when you think about it, we are an underwear company, so we have to show some women in their underwear."

The ad for Dear Kate's Ada Collection.
Source: Dear Kate
The ad for Dear Kate's Ada Collection.

The photo shoot struck a chord with other women in the tech industry. Elissa Shevinsky, CEO of Glimpse Labs, told Time last week that Dear Kate's latest concept makes it harder for women to overcome sexism in a male-dominated industry.

"Posing in your underwear undermines the message that you aim to be taken seriously as a technologist," she told Time.

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