Lane Bryant is Shaking Up the Fashion Industry in a BIG Way and Here’s How

If you’re a regular consumer of social and digital media, you may have noticed that body type diversity in fashion has been gaining traction. We are in an unprecedented era of change, and embracing this body-positive outlook has definitely been a long time coming. It’s empowering to see women of all shapes, sizes, and colors representing and celebrating body types that look like mine and millions of other women in America. And one of my favorite retailers, Lane Bryant, is helping to pave the way to make plus size fashion a new norm.

“This Body is Made to Shine” is a second installment of the 2016 “This Body” campaign, and it’s being received exceptionally well on a variety of platforms. The campaign features models like Ashley Graham, Alessandra Garcia, and Candice Huffine, as well as OITNB actress Danielle Brooks and Empire star Gabourney Sidibe. Lane Bryant is pushing to overcome misconceptions by taking on the negative stigma of being fat and disrupting the tired and dated idea that women must strive for the “perfect” body. Take a look at the campaign commercial:

Unapologetic. Witty. Strong. These girls are quickly becoming my favorite humans in entertainment and fashion. Just sayin’. Welcome to the bakery!

Lane Bryant’s fall campaign is visible in stores and online, through digital and social media, as well as on billboards and in magazines. The plus size retailer has also partnered with Glamour magazine and Refinery 29, both women’s fashion publications, to spotlight and celebrate women’s diverse and unique bodies in a bold and unapologetic manner.

Of course, progress wouldn’t be progress if not for criticism, right? Through all the positive messages and empowerment, there will always be those who seem to think they can dictate what women should and shouldn’t wear, do, say, feel, or behave. On the other hand, there are also those who believe that Lane Bryant is selling empowerment as a commodity, or that they’re selling body-positive language in order to boost sales. Some even feel like the plus size fashion industry is “skinny-shaming” by shining a negative light on being thin in an attempt to boost the confidence of big girls. Take for example Lane Bryant’s “I’m No Angel” campaign – a jab at notoriously thin Victoria Secret lingerie models (also known as Angels). Whatever the case, there will always be dissent.

If you ask me, I absolutely love this campaign. It’s smart, insightful, and is targeting an audience largely ignored by the fashion industry until recently. I can’t help but wonder what took them so long to figure it out. Do you think this is just another way to sell empowerment to women as a commodity? Or do you believe its important for big corporations to use their positions to help shape societal norms? Comment your thoughts below.

#PlusIsEqual

References:

Moin, D. (3 Sept. 2016). Ashley Graham, Danielle Brooks and Gabourey Sidibe step up for Lane Bryant’s fall campaign. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from: http://www.latimes.com/fashion/la-ig-fashion-models-lane-bryant-20160923-snap-story.html

Ilyashov, A. (22 Sept. 2016).The New Faces Of Lane Bryant Are Exactly What We Needed — & We Think You’ll Agree. Refinery 29. Retrieved from: http://www.refinery29.com/2016/09/124036/lane-bryant-danielle-brooks-this-body-campaign-photos#slide

Williams, M.E. (15 Sept. 2015).Lane Bryant’s #PlusIsEqual campaign: Selling you empowerment, one outfit at a time. Salon. Retrieved from: http://www.salon.com/2015/09/15/lane_bryants_plusisequal_campaign_selling_you_empowerment_one_outfit_at_a_time/

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7 Responses to Lane Bryant is Shaking Up the Fashion Industry in a BIG Way and Here’s How

  1. Mona says:

    Hi Caitlyn,
    Such a refreshing and wonderful blog you posted. The 21st century has come a long way on defining what is considered beautiful. We all come in different shapes and sizes and that in itself is beautiful.
    Lane Bryant has come up with such a great campaign to bring self-awareness that the person does not have to be tall and skinny to be a model and to be beautiful. This is a great way to break the barriers of what society considered normal and what better way is to tackle this through digital and social media.
    To help answer your question, I believe it goes hand in hand trying to “make a sale” by using empowerment women as a commodity, while truly believing in bringing awareness.

    Thanks,
    Mona

  2. Lindsay King says:

    Hi Caitlyn,
    Great find. It’s nice to see a retailer break the mold and let the audience know “normal”. I like that Lane Bryant has fashionable clothes for curvy women. Their campaign is a way of letting consumers know not everyone is a size 0 and you can still be beautiful. Plus, I like the powerful women they picked for their campaign. These are strong and confident women proud of their image.

    And, wait, did I read correctly? Some say the plus size industry is “skinny shaming” by shining a negative light on being too skinny? How many years have we seen commercials that have done the opposite. I believe the plus size industry is simply trying to push a message that women need to be comfortable and healthy in their own skin. Maybe the fact that this is getting a positive response has upset some in the skinny industry. For me I applaud the move. I have curves and campaigns like the one Lane Bryant has launched make me comfortable in my skin.

    Lindsay K

  3. Kristina says:

    An empowering campaign for sure! Love the push for reality – that beauty doesn’t fit in a box. Beauty comes in different forms, and we choose to make it what it is, and we choose to embrace it how we want to embrace it. It is gorgeous to see women choosing to accept themselves for who they are, how they look, etc. This campaign does well – much like Dove – to push the discussion further. And all that “noise” (critics) it causes? It’s only going to bring about good – whether to the company, people of this country, or both!

  4. Christina says:

    Hi Caitlyn,

    Empowertizing is definitely very tricky. On one hand, I do think that it can be exploitative in a sense. It commodifies activism, and arguably steals the work of real activists for the profit of individuals who may or may not even care about the causes that their brands support. On the other hand, whether we like it or not, brands do shape our culture arguably more than any other institutions. As such, supporting brands with positive messages is a way that the public can (and does) vote with their wallets about what kinds of messages they want to promote.

    Best,
    Christina

  5. Stacie says:

    Great post! I have always wondered why the fashion industry has not taken advantage of the “plus size model.” I get frustrated when I go shopping and the stores only sell smaller sizes, but online you can get larger sizes. What? So, because I may not fit into the “mold” I have to shop online and deal with returns and trying on clothes at home? I understand there may not be a “market” for larger sizes at Loft or Jjill but if they sell it online why can’t they have a few sizes in the store. The only store that I have found is Lane Bryant and Talbots (but even only certain Talbots sell the plus sizes). It is refreshing to see a brand celebrate the differences in the size and shape of women because we are not all the same. Then I think about brands like lululemon that does not make clothes larger than size 10. Is it that they don’t want their “brand”‘ to be associated with someone who is not their ideal shape or that larger women wouldn’t need yoga or comfortable, fashionable work out clothes. Larger (and I say that with a giggle as anything over size 10 does not mean you are a larger woman) women still exercise, still do yoga and would be a customer for them. Sorry for going off on a tangent, but this is a great post and I honestly can’t stand the Victoria’s Secret commercials. Great post!

  6. Carolyn says:

    Hi Caitlyn,

    Great topic, and way to go Lane Bryant! Women are always being told what to do — what to wear, how to dress…don’t wear this if you’re over age 30, don’t wear that if you’re not a size 4. Most men don’t look like the male models on the runway, but that doesn’t stop them from buying the clothes and wearing them no matter how big their bellies are or what age they are. They don’t give a damn. My hope is as women, as mothers of girls, as a society, we can learn to turn off the negative messages we are bombarded with and embrace our differences. It would be great to see more “diversity” in all ways by brands in their marketing and promotional materials.

  7. Mary says:

    Hi Caitlyn,
    I believe that Lane Bryant is determined to change the way the advertising media disseminates the basic stereotypical image of women. I also think that Lane Bryant believes by doing so improves the self-concept, self-esteem, and self-consciousness of plus size women.
    Lately, in the news, there has been information about Lane Bryant bullying skinny women by taken a swipe at Victoria Secret with their “I’m No Angel” campaign. Although I embrace Lane Bryant’s celebration of women, putting skinnier women down is not the way to go with their campaign.