Debenham’s ‘Inclusivity Campaign’ offers a view of fashion that is both inspirational and realistic for its customers with models who represent a diverse range of sizes, ages and races, including an amputee and a paralympian athlete. The department store’s ‘High Summer Look Book’ has rejected the traditional industry approach and specifically chosen a more realistic array of models to show off their collection – a break in convention that is not simply a gimmick, but hopefully the start of a new, healthier view of fashion advertising.
The high street retailer is the first in the UK to diversify their choice of models, in the hope that the move will help to promote body confidence in its customers. Director of PR for Debenhams Ed Watson explained: “Our customers are not the same shape or size so our latest look book celebrates this diversity. We would be delighted if others followed our lead. Hopefully these shots will be a step, albeit a small one, towards more people feeling more comfortable about their bodies.”
Debenhams won a Body Confidence Award in 2012 for the on-going campaign, and is now part of the Government’s ‘Body Confidence Advisory Committee’. Minister for Women and Equalities Jo Swinson commented: “Once again Debenhams is showing that beauty comes in all forms – different skin colours, ages, body shapes and sizes. It was one of the first to introduce size 16 mannequins, and continues to send a clear message to the rest of the retail industry that many customers want to see more diverse and realistic images.”
We say hooray for Debenhams for not being afraid to break away from the unrealistic expectations enforced on us by the media and encouraging their customers to feel good about their bodies and appearances. Maybe Abercrombie and Fitch could take a few lessons…