Fashion’s lack of inclusivity is a travesty well-documented, whether it's on the catwalks of Fashion Month or in the restricted size offering from some of the high street’s biggest retailers. Occasionally, though, it takes seeing what’s sorely missing to realise the full extent of the problem. Today, Nike highlighted this with the unveiling of plus-size and para-sport mannequins in its brand-new NikeTown women’s space, a shopping destination created exclusively for female athletes (both professional and aspiring) located on the third floor of its London Oxford Street flagship.
While plenty has been said about the poor diversity displayed on shop floors (according to The Guardian, the average mannequin measures around 6ft tall, has a 34in bust, 24in waist, and 34in hips), and Nike is not the first to introduce more realistic bodies into the retail space (Debenhams has featured size 16 mannequins since 2013), seeing the brand’s new offering puts into sharp contrast how much more progress is needed from the industry as a whole.
“With the incredible momentum in women’s sport right now, the re-designed space is just another demonstration of Nike’s commitment to inspiring and serving the female athlete”, says Sarah Hannah, Nike’s GM/VP for Women in EMEA. “This is more than a shopping experience, it’s a destination to celebrate sport just in time for an incredible summer of football, netball, athletics and more.”
From the Nike Plus Size collection, to the national team kits for the upcoming Women’s World Cup, the performance and lifestyle giant is making space for women of all sizes and abilities in a market that had previously overlooked and under-served them.
Services offered in the women-only space includes 1-1 personal styling and shopping advice with Nike+ Run Club coaches on everything from legging adjustments to bra fittings (so no more yanking up your falling waistband while smashing that 10k, or dealing with awkward boob-slips in poorly-designed swimsuits at your local pool.)
With this being the first year ever that the Women’s World Cup kits were designed specifically for the female players (about bloody time), plus with the widespread excitement building around the upcoming summer of women’s sport, it feels like change is finally happening - and now anybody (and any body) can get stuck in.