The beauty and fashion industries have seen a marked evolution in recent years with regards to diversity. But there is still such a long, long way to go in ensuring all women are represented. One thing that has long been an issue is the mannequins we see in shops, all of which are the same tall, slim size. Now one sports brand is trying to change that. Nike has introduced plus size and para-sport mannequins and while it's taken a long time to get here, I'm hoping this is the first step in the right direction for all sporting brands, fashion labels, and clothing stores.
Nike's plus size and para-sport mannequins are stationed in the brand's huge flagship store at Oxford Circus, where the brand are rightly celebrating a wider range of diverse bodies. Seeing as the average mannequin's measurements (according to The Guardian) are around 6ft tall, with a 34in bust, 24in waist, and 34in hips — a far cry from the body shape of the average UK woman — this latest move from Nike should be applauded.
This news also follows the introduction of Nike's plus size range, which launched in February 2017. The collection offers sports and active wear up to a size 32. Discussing their reasons for extending their size range, Nike said back in 2017:
"Nike recognises that women are stronger, bolder and more outspoken than ever. In today's world, sport is no longer something that she does, it's who she is. The days where we have to add 'female' before 'athlete' are over. She is an athlete, period. And having helped fuel this cultural shift, we celebrate these athletes' diversity, from ethnicity to body shape."
Nike's new mannequins stand alongside the flagship store's full plus size range, as well as the brand's performance and lifestyle ranges. The women's floor also offers bespoke personalisation services, and NikePlus member services such as bra fittings and personal styling.
Speaking about the new space, Sarah Hannah, Nike’s GM/VP for Women in EMEA, said of the newly designed women's floor:
“With the incredible momentum in women’s sport right now, the re-designed space is just another demonstration of Nike’s commitment to inspiring and serving the female athlete ... This is more than a shopping experience, it’s a destination to celebrate sport just in time for an incredible summer of football, netball, athletics and more.”
This is not the first time Nike has proved itself as a pioneer in women's representation. Earlier this year, the brand launched its 'Dream Crazier' campaign, with Serena Williams starring as the face, and voice, of the campaign video. It's one I particularly love and respect, and I challenge you to watch it and not get goosebumps. If you haven't watched it yet, I will pop it in below.
Nike has made a great move with the introduction of more representative mannequins in store, and I really hope this will start a revolution. More brands and bricks and mortar stores need to show up and diversify their mannequins in order to make this the new norm.