The debate is on.
It seems that some people are starting to wake up to the idea that all women (and people for that matter) were created uniquely. What a concept! For us this conversation is nothing new, but for big brands like Nike, Old Navy and Nordstrom they’ve only begun displaying their plus-size lines on curvy mannequins in the past year. Nike’s move to add full size, real looking women, to their floor in their London Flagship is making the conversation even louder.
Perhaps it is because they are a dedicated fitness company and forcing people to think about women that are not a size 2 (4, or 6…) exercising is more than the general public can handle. Whatever the reason is, we at HydroChic have been leaning back in our office chairs just watching the show. The time has come, however, for us to chime in.
The new wave of plus size clothing is a wonderful thing and for a multitude of reasons. Mainly, because women need options but also because progression as a society comes by way of awareness. Acknowledging that women don’t fit into a size chart from 0-12 and that it is absolutely no ones business whether they are healthy or active except their own, is where progress happens. We have long stood by this principle and it is exactly why our garments offer legitimate options for women to feel comfortable in activewear and swimwear. Whether it is healthy for a woman to be thin or curvy is not up for discussion. In fact, a response from model Iskra Lawrence has summed up our sentiments on the subject pretty succinctly. She writes that the backlash to the Nike Plus Size mannequin is quite simply, fatphobia and that excluding diverse body types is the opposite of progress.
In terms of progression in the 21st Century, the debate surrounding Nike’s mannequin is essentially a giant stumble backwards. For really there should be no debate nor hesitation, and so what if some thin journalist or talkbacks are appalled by plus size mannequins. Women of all sizes should not let this deter them from being themselves and embracing it. One article is not the voice of all people, and that is clear from the profound feedback that has taken the internet by storm. Nike is doing a service to customers who already trust the brand and their quality of clothing.
For years we have been offering our fitness swimwear in plus sizes and when our customers asked for 5X, we added it. Making sure our customers know that they can rely on us to be accommodating us of the utmost importance. That’s because we get it. We get that there needs to be accessibility, and comfort, and confidence evoking swimwear for everyone. Beyond carrying swimwear that will fit women in a full range of sizes, we set out to design bathing suits that would also offer coverage that was impossible to find anywhere else. Our aspiration was and is to see swimwear with more coverage take its rightful place in the swimwear market, part of offering women choices (hey it’s the modern world) – whether she is a size 2 or 22. Inclusivity along with becoming an option within the swimwear industry was important to us because we know that not all women are interested in wearing skin baring swimsuits, for a majority of reasons, of course.
Initially we made bathing suits that fell under the ‘Modest Swimwear’ category but as we began to sell our products and listen to our customers, we saw that many women were coming to us to find a swim solution that would offer them confidence and comfort at the beach while maintaining the use of swimwear fabric that is chlorine proof and sun protective. It made perfect sense to us and so we, along with thousands of women, threw out our baggy men’s T and showed up ready to jump in, thrilled to finally be feeling confident and beautiful.
By creating swimwear that comes in a wide variety of sizes and styles, women everywhere can leave the dreaded beach body stereotype at home and enjoy summer just like anyone else. So to Nike we say thank you and welcome aboard!