You’ve probably noticed that 2017 is shaping up to be the year plus-size bodies truly went mainstream. Models like Ashley Graham, Iskra Lawrence, and Tess Holiday are all over Instagram, challenging body ideals and supporting body confidence.
Many fitness gear brands have followed their lead by promoting clothes for women with all kinds of bodies. Lane Bryant released an inspirational athletic ad campaign in January. Workout retailers like Nike and Adidas are offering a wider range of cute options for plus-size women.
And Athleta, the Gap–owned workout clothes brand, also carries a large selection of plus-size sports bras, leggings, T-shirts, and jackets, with sizes that go up to a 2X.
There’s just one thing missing with Athleta’s plus-size activewear collection: actual plus-size models wearing them.
The brand has come under fire this week for featuring size 1X and 2X garments on straight-size models on their online shopping pages. Shopping and fashion site Racked was the first to notice this, calling it out in a post on July 6.
While Athleta boasts a designated page on their site for plus-size fitness gear, the models photographed in this section are wearing a size medium, states the Racked post.
This was pretty surprising, considering that Athleta has always been a brand that celebrates women of all shapes and sizes. Remember their #PowerofShe campaign ad, which showed women uniting together and offered positive inspo and motivation?
To find out what was going on, we reached out to Athleta. A spokeswoman got back to Health, reaffirming the company’s commitment to body inclusiveness and promised changes.
“This is a place where we can do better. The positive portrayal of women in the media is very important to us. We celebrate women of all body shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and ages across our stores, website, campaigns, and social media channels. The Power of She campaign is what we really stand for. It’s really important for us to acknowledge the strength, health, and beauty all women have. This is something we’ve been looking at and working fervently to solve.”
While we’re glad Athleta was called out for their plus-size model fail, we love that the brand quickly realized their misstep and acknowledged that change is necessary.