It’s no secret that the Kardashians have influence: Just check their nine-digit Instagram followings. But America’s first family of pop culture doesn’t just use their fame to sell lip kits and shapewear (not to say that we don’t want those too). They’re also known to push forward ideas that go on to make a real difference. Khloé's area of impact? Shaking up the modelling industry with open casting.
For those of you who aren’t in-the-know about the modelling industry, open casting is when brands allow anyone to attend a casting, rather than limiting the search to just models from an agency. Think of it as a grown-up version of the Mickey Mouse club, but instead of 9-year-olds singing and dancing, it’s real women (over the age of 14) auditioning for a chance to model truly size-inclusive jeans. And thanks to Khloé Kardashian and her Good American partner Emma Grede, the concept of real-world open casting is back en vogue.
Kardashian and Grede launched Good American in October of 2016 as an answer to their own problems with denim. Their goal was to alleviate some of the anxiety that women face every day when they are not a sample size (which most women aren’t), but they want to buy a pair of jeans. In the four years since the launch, the duo has successfully done just that.
2016 was also the year that the duo first announced open casting with a campaign meant to act as a catalyst for the fashion industry to broaden its horizons. “With open casting, we’re able to give all women from anywhere in the world the opportunity to join the inclusivity movement and our #Good Squad — real women who celebrate and stand for the brand’s commitment to inclusivity, diversity, body positivity and female empowerment,” Khloé Kardashian explains. “Part of our mission is to show a diverse representation of all women in our campaigns. What better way to achieve that than to give our customers the chance to be cast?”
Open casting isn’t the only practice in place at Good American that is changing industry standards. The denim brand also joined a small community of companies that provide shoppers with the ability to see merchandise on all types of bodies, currently showing every piece on a size 0, size 8, and size 16. They were also the first to develop a size 15 in an effort to bridge the gap between straight sizes and plus sizes.
“It’s one thing to represent women of all sizes in campaigns, but it’s another to actually show every product on-body in every size,” Khloé says. “This led to the launch of our sizing tool earlier this year after hearing our customers' pain points when it comes to online shopping. We invested heavily in how we merchandise online to feature product shown on 15 sizes across 15 different fit models in sizes 00-24.” All of these aspects of Good American combine to create what the third oldest Kardashian sister likes to call the “inclusive experience.”
“In the past, designers have been hesitant to create more sizes — many times due to the lack of experience with a process that differs from the industry standard. That’s why at Good American, we hire a diverse range of experts to make sure we have the best fit and quality,” Kardashian says. “This is something that has been baked into our business model since day one, so now we are thinking how can we push the boundaries of inclusivity even further.”
Whereas a lot has changed in the fashion industry over the last few years, especially in terms of inclusivity, many brands continue to dig in their heels, avoiding extending their size ranges no matter the repercussions. Good American isn’t one of those brands. And given the fact that the company made $1 million USD on the day of its launch (making it the biggest denim launch in history), chances are good that Good American’s influence over the shopping landscape will help to persuade the rest of the industry to follow suit.