Plus size styling company Dia&Co kicked off 2017 by challenging designers to create more plus size friendly clothes for its customers. Now the brand is throwing a summer celebration of those customers by encouraging them to show off their arms with the Instagram hashtag #DiaARMy.
Dia&Co is a personal styling service that sends boxes of hand-picked items to clients' doorsteps. Before customers receive boxes, they fill out a style profile, indicating not only their size and things like color and pattern preferences, but also what parts of their bodies they're comfortable showing off.
Ashby Vose, who is Dia&Co's community manager as well as a Dia&Co personal stylist, tells Bustle in an email that despite the hot weather, the brand's customers keep sending feedback asking for more cardigans, jackets, and other nonsleeveless items in their boxes.
So, the brand decided to create the #DiaARMy campaign, encouraging plus size babes to take to Instagram and boldly show off their arms.
For Vose, seeing Dia&Co customers be too self-conscious to bare their arms hit home. "The inspiration for this campaign came from my mom and her disdain for her arms," she explains. "I know that I have her arms, but it's up to me to decide to celebrate or hate them. I'm choosing to celebrate them and skip the shrugs, cardigans, and jackets. The more times we see images of plus size arms, the more normalized they will become. And truly, each time I go sleeveless the only one that notices my arms is me."
And the ripple effect of seeing fellow plus size folks going sleeveless has impacted Dia&Co's employees and customers alike. More than 100 photos and posts with supportive comments have filled the #DiaARMy hashtag, including one from Dia&Co's culture and outreach manager, Marge Hudson.
"Dia has given me way more than new clothes," Hudson tells Bustle. "It's given me a new life, and a life I'm proud of. #DiaARMy is yet another reminder that I have a serious squad of women who support me and love me unconditionally. My arms allow me to hug, dance with, cook with, but most importantly, serve the Dia community. Why would I want to limit that? It's about damn time they had their moment in the sun."
Dia&Co CEO and co-founder Nadia Boujarwah agrees. She tells Bustle, "The #DiaARMy campaign is designed to encourage members of our community to take a step outside of their comfort zone. It's time to let our arms have their moment in the sun." She adds that, "Our vision at Dia is to spark radical self love through style. Like with style, self love is a journey."
For many in the #DiaARMy hashtag, that journey involves overcoming internalized stigmas about how plus size people "should" look. Dia&Co customer Jess Hays tells Bustle that one of the most common things she sees plus size women say is that they're uncomfortable showing off their arms. Like Hudson, the beauty of the #DiaARMy lies in focusing on what her arms can do, not on what other people may think about how they look.
"I'm a boxer and my arms have strength and power behind them," she says. "I'm a comforter and my arms are a safe place for people to find giant hugs. My arms are worth not only loving and appreciating but also celebrating!"
There's no arguing with that. Take a look at some amazing #DiaARMy folks and their celebration-worthy arms below.
Creating movements like the #DiaARMy is what makes brands true advocates. While more companies are slowly becoming open to producing items in plus sizes, it's necessary for those brands to show support to their plus size customers, too.
Hopefully brands will see just how much good Dia&Co's love for their customers is doing, and will show their own customers that they recognize designing for plus size bodies is about much more than just putting bigger clothes on shelves — it's about genuinely embracing and supporting the people who need it most.
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