Earlier this month, on June 6th, Nike unveiled one of its most game-changing campaigns yet, in its flagship store in London.
In the NikeTown store at Oxford Street, Marylebone, London, plus size mannequins were unveiled as part of Nike’s campaign to celebrate diversity and inclusivity in sports. The mannequins are seen in active sports gear showcasing Nike’s most robust range of sizes yet, available in more colors and styles. Ranging from sizes 1X to 3X, the Plus Size collection is designed to provide the perfect fit at every size.
Back in February 2017, Nike launched its 1st plus-size range. The plus-size mannequins were rolled out this year to broaden Nike’s reach to athletes of all sizes and are part of their new orientation to inclusivity. The third floor of the store has been redesigned to highlight “a full range of athlete figures," Nike said in a statement.
The space shows multiple plus-sized and para-sport mannequins - a first for the city's store. The launch was planned in coordination with the opening of the 'Women by Nike' floor at the flagship London store. A Nike spokesperson said in a statement, "We continue to listen to the voice of the athlete and know that the female consumer wants to see a diverse and inclusive range of products to serve her sporting needs."
Most were impressed by the bold step. However, Nike's move wasn’t appreciated by Tanya Gold, a writer at British newspaper The Telegraph and this caused a stir. Gold took to Twitter to express her views, stating, “She is, in every measure, obese, and she is not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear. She cannot run. She is, more likely, pre-diabetic and on her way to a hip replacement. What terrible cynicism is this on the part of Nike?”
Gold’s comments received heavy backlash on the Internet from consumers and celebrities alike. Many fans and consumers took to Twitter and to state they felt empowered by Nike’s plus-size mannequins. While actress and body-positive activist Jameela Jamil bravely demanded an apology from The Telegraph.
Nike’s general manager and vice president for women in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Sarah Hannah, made the following statement in response, “With the incredible momentum in women’s sport right now, the redesigned space London is just another demonstration of Nike's commitment to inspiring and serving the female athlete.”
This incident simply shows how Nike has proved to be a game-changer as the plus-size mannequins are being joined by mannequins with disabilities as well, another big move in favor of inclusivity and body positivity. Many companies are opening up their size ranges to be more inclusive with the increased profitability of the market and consumer demands, and Nike is one of the first sportswear companies to do so.
The takeaway from this piece of news is that no matter how much you weigh or look like, being active and healthy is important. It’s high time, we must discard the idea that fitness is a one-size-fits-all concept and instead fight back against fat-shaming and hypocrisy.