I did more shopping from my couch during Thanksgiving week than I did all year. One thing I noticed, besides my rising credit card balance, was an impressive amount of diversity by fashion and retail brands as I shopped online.
I can remember too many shopping sessions in my lifetime where the models representing my favorite brands did not look remotely familiar. Where were my beautiful, cool, stylish friends whose diversity—in size, ethnicity and more—whose bodies and faces would make me want to tap “add to cart” in a second?
This Cyber week was different. As I browsed the internet for holiday gifts there were bodies of all types—on landing pages, in ads and on social media! This was a big step forward in inclusive representation in fashion, and I know I’m not the only one who’s here for it.
I remember the first time that I saw a plus model represented in an advertisement — a Lane Bryant intimates campaign that ran on public buses and subways in New York City — and on a fashion runway — Denise Bidot in the Chromat show in 2014. I’ve been plus all my life and had never seen anyone that looks like me as a fashion icon with a mainstream brand. I was inspired.
Not seeing ourselves represented where we spend the most time does great harm. We all—myself included—carry the cumulative self-image impact of it. Hopefully this is the beginning of our reaping the cumulative benefits.
What I’m loving the most this year is the diversity of all kinds on display. None of us have only one identity. There’s intersectionality in our lived experiences across so many dimensions, so seeing us reflected in mainstream retail, front and center, is momentous.
So let’s celebrate brands—from Chantelle to Athleta and Patagonia—for the body diversity they are showing this season. These mainstream brands are representing real women and helping to shift the narrative around beauty and fashion. Intimates, fitness and outdoors have long been especially exclusive categories so these brands stuck out to me in particular (and stay tuned for some news here from Dia next year).
So much progress has been made since we first launched Dia in 2015. We’re proud of having been a part of this conversation back when it was only being had in the peripheries of the industry.
As always, we celebrate progress in the same breath as we continue to push for more progress, because there is still so much further for us to go. As exciting as it is to see images like this on mainstream websites in 2020, I look forward to the year that this doesn’t prompt commentary because it’s just the way we expect women’s bodies to be represented.
Founder of Dia&Co