If you know your way around fashion, you’re familiar with the term “Lookbook.” Companies use lookbooks to showcase specific designs or a store’s upcoming seasonal lines. Usually, they’re filled with slim, caucasian models that have been used on runways and the majority of the fashion industry for ages. But Debenhams, a popular U.K.-based store, wants to be known for its enthusiasm for diversity as it is for its fashion-forward clothes. In Debenhams’ recently released High Summer Lookbook, the company made the choice to use models that accurately reflected the diverse population of the world we live in. The lookbook features an amputee, three models over 40 (including one nearing 70), a paralympian athlete and a size 18 model “to celebrate curvalicious women.” You’ll see models in a variety of age groups, ethnicities and body types! According to the company, it’s the first store of its kind to do so. Ed Watson, Director of PR for Debenhams, said:
“Our customers are not the same shape or size so our latest look book celebrates this diversity. We would be delighted if others followed our lead. Hopefully these shots will be a step, albeit a small one, towards more people feeling more comfortable about their bodies.”
This isn’t the only time Debenhams has led the way in creating a more body-positive attitude in fashion, celebrating a range of body types and ages in its advertising, marketing and design. The company has implemented size 16 mannequins in its in-story displays and voluntarily banned airbrushing in its swimsuit ads. The pictures are stunning. Why don’t more companies do this? Perhaps designers are afraid that presenting their clothing as too inclusive and not aspirational enough would dampen their desirability. I believe Debenhams proves that theory wrong. Seeing imagery that reflects the world we live in and bodies that are similar to ours – the consumer – we’re able to see the real potential of the product and we feel included. By the way, did you know that people are actually more likely to buy clothes when they’re modeled on mannequins that resemble their body type?
If Debenhams’ lookbook teaches us anything, it may be that simply because we’ve always done things in a particular way doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the only way, or even the right way. Source: I Acknowledge Beauty Exists, Debenhams blog