The Fenty effect has finally forced its way into the world of plus-size fashion.
Lane Bryant has announced in a press release that they will be rolling out new melanated mannequins. The plus-size staple store reveals they were inspired by diversity attempts from the cosmetic industry.
“In recent years, top beauty brands have been putting a major focus on inclusivity when it comes to innovation, yet in fashion, too many U.S. brands are lacking diversity when it comes to size, shape, and skin tones,” Lexy Onofrio, VP of Brand Marketing Strategy and Creative at Lane Bryant, told HelloBeautiful.
She added that the ultimate factor in shifting away from the previous pale monochromatic mannequins the decision was about wanting to impact the way the customers feel.
“We want our customers to feel represented and see how our clothing will look on differing tones, so that they can choose their lane when it comes to style.”
Mainstream plus-size retailers that excel in embracing the curves of their consumers have traditionally struggled with acknowledging their racial identities. This choice is a small but significant step towards achieving true diversity in the industry.
According to the press release, Lane Bryant’s mannequins are going to initially come in four different shades that allow shoppers to see how their sexy high necked swimsuits and shimmery cocktail dresses will look on their skin tones.
They are also going to be a standard size 14 so that the Lane Bryant shopper can envision an actual plus-size body in the clothing. Getting plus-size mannequins on sales floors elsewhere has been a struggle full of medical non-facts, and messy judgments.
The company was one of the first to source displays, and commission advertisements, that reflected the women that looked like the women who were spending in their stores instead of those the women their customers were told they should want to look like. Now they are taking it a step further as the first major retailer in the country to make this commitment.
No information has been released on whether or not the brand plans on rolling out different body shapes later on.
The mannequins will be presented for the first time in their new Columbus, Ohio flagship store. Opting to roll out a new commitment to diversity in the midwest instead of a coastal location like New York or Los Angeles is another indication that the brand is really centering on who and where their consumer is.
Colorism, even in inanimate objects like high heels or band-aids, has an impact on the way people see themselves in the world. Body positivity and the brands who benefit from its commercialization have as traditionally the prioritized hourglass shapes and loose curls patterns of the ethnically ambiguous.
Let’s hope the attempts being made to change that are here to stay.