When it comes to ads for athletic gear, customers are used to seeing the same thing. Straight sized people and muscular athletes make up the vast majority of campaigns. But Outdoor Voices' OV Cotton campaign is breaking the mold by featuring a model who uses a wheelchair. Honestly, it's about time.
Texas-based brand Outdoor Voices just launched its new cotton range. As you may have guessed, the new pieces are made of 100% cotton and cotton terry for lightweight, breathable athletic gear. Plus, it's super cute and colorful. Outdoor Voices is known for their relaxed approach to athletic wear, focusing more on its motto of "doing things" than the typical hardcore workout-focused sportswear you'll see elsewhere. Now, the brand seems to be extending its motto to people with diverse abilities.
Model Aaron Philip is featured in the new OV Cotton campaign. The model can be seen using a wheelchair in the center of the new images from the brand, and she's rocking Outdoor Voices' new cotton short sleeve and long sleeve tee as well as its shorts. Philip looks incredible amongst a host of other diverse models of different body sizes and ethnicities. The new OV campaign is incredibly inclusive, and the representation is so vital.
Outdoor Voices' campaign featuring Phillip is the first time that the brand has included a model who uses a wheelchair. Models and athletes of different abilities, such as parasport athletes, have been featured in campaigns for other brands in the past, but the inclusion of a person who uses a wheelchair is still rare.
In a statement to Bustle, Outdoor Voices founder Tyler Haneys says, "We put real people at the center of everything that we do, so it was a no brainer to include Aaron. She is a key player in this campaign because of the energy she exudes and the strength she carries, and we are excited to have her on Team OV."
Bustle has reached out to Philip for comment on the campaign.
Thankfully, other brands are also on the right track like Outdoor Voices. In July 2018, ASOS teamed up with para-athlete Chloe Ball-Hopkins to create an adaptive track suit for festival season. The bold tie-dye ensemble could be worn by anyone, not just those who use wheelchairs. Like with Outdoor Voices and Philip, ASOS and Ball-Hopkins' work together draws no distinction in style or design between those who use wheelchairs and those who don't.
Perhaps one of the biggest athletic wear stories of 2019 has been Nike's decision to include a plus size mannequin in its London flagship store. The brand opened the store in May and included both a plus size mannequin and para-sport mannequins creating a more inclusive shopping experience for those with diverse bodies. While there was criticism of the inclusion of the plus size mannequin, the general consensus regarding the inclusion of different types of representation was a positive one.
If you want to support Outdoor Voices and its decision to include a model who uses a wheelchair, the brand's new OV Cotton collection is available now at their website. The only drawback is that the brand's size range only extends to an extra large. While the new campaign is powerful, here's hoping that Outdoor Voices extends its size range.
Until that day, though, fans of the brand can celebrate its commitment to inclusivity with its new OV Cotton campaign.