Last July, Nike decided to capitalize on the body posi movement with their inclusive activewear campaign featuring the gorgeous plus-size model Paloma Elsesser who proved she is just as capable of slayage as any Hadid or Jenner. Body-positivity crackled electric through social media, fueled by motivated, empowered women posting selfies and the “flaws” of their frame with pride and confidence. Nike saw this, and thus Paloma graced the feed of their official Instagram, smoldering in tight-fitting leggings and a sexy af sports bra with the promise of more to come.
With the tease of the full line launch, Nike released a limited selection of extended-size sports bras with styles up to 38E. However, many were quick to note that there were no actual pieces of athletic wear beyond an XL to pair with the increased bra sizes, so plus-size women who wanted to hit the gym were stuck wearing over-sized airbrushed shirts from airport kiosks and the same pair of bleach-stained leggings.
Thankfully, someone at Nike got the hint that women larger than size XL are actually not invisible and may want to hit the gym feeling sexy, as the brand now offers over 85 different pieces ranging from compression sportswear to comfortable altheisure gear.
About the launch, the brand stated:
“Nike recognizes that women are stronger, bolder and more outspoken than ever. In today’s world, sport is no longer something that she does, it’s who she is. The days where we have to add ‘female’ before ‘athlete’ are over. She is an athlete, period. And having helped fuel this cultural shift, we celebrate these athletes’ diversity, from ethnicity to body shape.”
Even more important than the initial effort to cater to the needs of all women who work out regardless of what high street brands offer was that Nike didn’t just make XS-XL clothes bigger, they designed a brand specifically for plus-size women. Helen Boucher, Nike’s vice president of women’s training addresses the failure of most plus-size brand divisions in:
“It’s not just a matter of making the same product but just larger. When we design for plus size, we aren’t just proportionately making our products larger.”That doesn’t work because as we know, everyone’s weight distribution is different… and as we look at plus size, there is more variance. A woman is often a different size at the top than on the bottom. More than sizing, Nike plus size products are crafted specifically to fit and flatter her form, whatever her size.”
Anyone who has ever shopped in the dimly lit add-on that is the plus-size section (major side-eye, Forever 21. Who puts their plus-size section in a literal attic?) of major brand stores knows that there are generally two categories: horrific prints and tarp-like “things” that are pretty much just garbage bags with arm holes. The fact that Nike actually designed plus size clothing to flatter their target audience instead of just covering skin is without question, a step in the right direction.
We were rooting for you- we were all rooting for you– Adidas and Lululemon, but Nike has this round.