Bigger is not only better — it’s beautiful. That’s the essence of the new campaign “This Body” being launched by Lane Bryant, the nation’s largest specialty retailer of large sizes for women.
The $1 billion chain, which operates more than 750 stores selling sizes 14 to 28, is encouraging women to be confident in their own skins and own it. The campaign comes as body self-image is all over the news media, from a plus-size Barbie doll to successful performers like Emmy Award winner Queen Latifah and the comedienne Amy Schumer.
“The world is ready for more curves and Lane Bryant is leading the charge,” said Linda Heasley, the company’s president and chief executive officer. “We want to shift conventional perception and we have only just begun with ‘This Body.’ Lane Bryant will continue to be her platform for celebrating her as she is.”
The campaign was shot by Cass Bird; utilizes models Ashley Graham, Precious Lee, Tara Lynn, Denise Bidot and Georgia Pratt, and was conceived by Laird+Partners. There are eight looks in total in the Lane Bryant Collection, Livi Active (Lane Bryant’s exclusive active line) and Cacique (Lane Bryant’s intimate apparel line). The campaign will appear in Lane Bryant’s stores, social media, on billboards, on television and in magazines, beginning with the Feb. 15 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue — an irony given the issue’s focus on barely clothed women with bodies that have an otherworldly perfection.
“We see the same stereotype of the plus-size woman in the media: she is unhappy, projecting sort of a low self-esteem, not well dressed, and seemingly spends her nights at home dreaming of another life. ‘This Body’ aims to celebrate who she really is: today’s modern plus-size woman is the life of the party,” said Brian Beitler, chief marketing officer of Lane Bryant. “She craves the latest fashion trends. She’s the buyer of coveted brands. She should be in the pages of today’s fashion magazines and she’s the next Broadway star. She’s competing in the boxing ring. She is the voice of women everywhere.”
Last week, Lane Bryant and its Cacique intimate apparel collection received a Femmy Award for innovation from the Underfashion Club, which promotes the intimate apparel industry and student education.The award recognized the breakthrough “I’m No Angel” campaign launched last spring. The campaign involved “pop-up” concerts in New York City, with the female hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa, and models wiggling and describing themselves as “hot” and professing, “I’m no angel,” in an apparent crack at Victoria’s Secret top models, known as Angels.
Lane Bryant long had a reputation for dowdy, moderate-priced merchandise, some regarded as “tonnage.” But things began to change after the Ascena Retail Group acquired the chain through its $890 million buyout of Charming Shoppes Inc. in 2012, also picking up Catherine’s Plus Sizes through the deal and shedding other parts of Charming that it didn’t want. Ascena has been supporting new marketing and designer collaborations for Lane Bryant including Isabel Toledo, Sophie Theallet and Melissa McCarthy. Ascena also operates the Dress Barn, Maurices, Catherines, Ann Taylor, Loft and Justice chains.
“It can take a strong woman to be plus size,” said Heasley. “She must know that she is beautiful despite how most of society may see her.”