In time for swimsuit season, Target celebrates body positivity and features Denise Bidot and Kamie Crawford
Target is trying to keep it real.
After coming under fire in recent years for using an apparently pregnant model to showcase a plus size collection and only stocking certain larger samples online, the mass retailer debuted its latest swimwear campaign, featuring unretouched models of varying sizes and ethnicities. They include plus size model Denise Bidot, who shows stretch marks, and the African American beauty queen Kamie Crawford. Target says it’s offering a little of everything in its upcoming collection, which includes monokinis and little black bikinis.
“When you’re a curvy girl it can be hard to find a suit that fits perfectly in all the right places,” says Bidot, according to a Target release. Once you do, “it will give you that extra boost of confidence that will make your pool or beach day even better.”
Never be afraid to look into the mirror and give yourself a pep talk before heading out to the beach. It might just be the confidence boost that changes the day. I love the simpleness yet elegant look of this @targetstyle suit. This bikini says "I've got this!" Click the link in my bio to see all the styles #targetswim has to offer you. 🦄😎 📸 @MichaelaDalzell #NoWrongWay #beyou #sponsored #targetstyle
Women are increasingly demanding more diverse representation in media and fashion brands and department stores are rushing to keep up. Target was praised recently for including plus sizes in its upcoming collaboration with Victoria Beckham and its Ava & Viv plus-size line, though its previous plus size faux pas are still in the minds of consumers. “If the customer has been told that the store isn’t interested in servicing them, they remember that,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD. “But there’s plenty of opportunity for Target to show they’re legitimately interested in their well being.”
The politics of plus-size can be tricky. Consider how Lena Dunham recently complained about the negative attention she received following her apparent post-election weight loss, after years of being told she was fat. “Suddenly I got all of these people being like, ‘You’re a hypocrite. I thought you were body-positive,” the “Girls” creator said on Wednesday’s “Ellen DeGeneres Show.” “I do, I just understand that bodies change, we live a long time.”
Still, navigating issues of body image can pay off handsomely. The plus-size women’s clothing industry is valued at $17 billion according to NPD. Aerie, the American Eagle Outfitters subsidiary underwear label that’s known for using a diverse cast of models, is a case in point. Sales there grew by 21% in the third quarter of 2016, even as many clothing retailers struggled. “If Target are even remotely successful, which they will be, you’ll undoubtedly see others emulating them,” Cohen says.
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