This blogger recreated a fashion spread to make a point about diversity
Earlier this year, Evans — a plus-size clothing retailer based in the UK — launched #StyleHasNoSize: A limited-edition t-shirt and shopping bag line with the goal of promoting body diversity and body acceptance in fashion. The line and subsequent social media campaign were a huge success; and, to help kick off UK Plus Fashion Week, Evans decided to take to the streets to further promote their message. Posted to Twitter last week, their latest campaign features five models walking down Oxford Street — easily one of the busiest and most touristy in London — each wearing a white t-shirt with a word from #StyleHasNoSize on it.
But one blogger thinks Evans can do better — and decided to take matters into her own hands. Along with a few of her blogger friends, Nerd About Town’s Stephanie Yeboah created a #StyleHasNoSize photo of her own, featuring a more diverse range of ethnicities, sizes, and body shapes — and it’s totally badass.
“When the #StyleHasNoSize campaign photos were released, it rightly left a sour taste within the plus-sized community, as it did not portray an accurate representation of the plus-sized community as a whole,” she tells HelloGiggles. “While I can acknowledge that it is difficult to portray a whole community of different shapes and sizes through one photo, my friend Hollie from prettybigbutterflies and Abi from aisforabi came up with the idea [to gather] us up and recreate the photo on the same day.”
When Yeboah had originally heard about the campaign, she had been excited. “Finally an awesome campaign to highlight the diversity and kick-ass style within the plus-size community!” she wrote on her blog. But after seeing the campaign photos, she was disappointed to find that it wasn’t as representative as she’d originally hoped: Each of the models looked to be of similar size, height, and body type — and the majority of them were white. By recreating the photo, she wanted to show Evans how diverse their representation had the potential to be.
“It is so important to celebrate diversity in all its forms, simply because EVERYONE is beautiful,” she tells HelloGiggles. “This ideology of a ‘certain standard of beauty’ — which is often Westernized and slim — needs to be destroyed completely. It’s tools such as this that aid in creating low self-esteem and confidence in those who don’t feel ‘pretty enough’ by societies’ standards. Everybody deserves to be celebrated in all forms of media.”
It’s no secret that fashion has a major diversity problem — and that extends far beyond body diversity. The majority of fashion models are still white, straight, able-bodied, size 0, cis women. And while there’s nothing wrong with celebrating these women, it’s important we not do so at the expense of everyone else. When we’re consistently told that only one very narrow definition of physical beauty is “acceptable,” we leave one too many women out of the picture. When asked why Yeboah believes diverse representation is more important than ever, her answer shows just how big of a problem exclusivity has become.
“Because it seems like the only women/models we have to represent plus-size fashion are white, hourglass shaped, and no bigger than a UK size 18,” she tells us. “Because in 2014, only 119 out of 611 covers featured models of color.”
“I hope that brands especially take away the importance of finding and using people who represent your brand or campaign in order to deliver a clearer and more effective message,” she continues. “If they believe that style is for all and can be worn by all, use people who can at least represent a part of the campaign, whether it be on the lesser or grander half of the scale, size-wise.”
We couldn’t think of a more empowering and body positive message.
(Images via Evans / Stephanie Yeboah.)