ModCloth

Modcloth today launches a campaign themed “Against the Current” to highlight its diverse customer base and the brand’s inclusive philosophy.

The cast of four featured in the campaign were chosen for their nonconformist attitude and unconventional looks or style, and includes singer-songwriter Halsey; “Crazy Rich Asians”‘s Awkwafina; Dascha Polanco of “Russian Doll” and Hari Nef of “You,” with each woman seen battling natural elements — earth, wind, water and fire.

The epic fights against the forces of nature are blown out of proportion with the help of special effects. Halsey, who tries to duck the rain with a folded newspaper over her head, is plunged into an elemental round pool, while Awkwafina fights mightily against gusting wind, holding on to a New York signpost with her hands as her legs and body are lifted off the ground. Polanco is engulfed in flames. The grass under Nef’s feet separates like a jigsaw puzzle breaking apart, leaving her in a huge dirt pit from which she tosses out stones.

A documentary on Modcloth.com that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the campaign features interviews with each woman. Listening to them, they sound like a band of enthusiastic outsiders spreading their positive nonconformist messages. Photographer and filmmaker Alex Prager directed Modcloth‘s new creative.

Halsey says: For a person in an industry where you’re often categorized, it can be really difficult to embrace that dynamic part of yourself. I’ve spent a lot of time saying ‘I feel like this,’ using a comparison, instead of directly explaining how I feel and who I am. And that was a real turning point for me when I realized that I’m allowed to be more than one thing. And it feels good to be myself. Be unapologetically yourself, no matter what.”

“My grandma once told me that life is a series of ups and down,” says Awkwafina. “Life is only up or down, and when you’re down, you can only go up. I want little girls to know that anything you feel that makes you weird — that’s the best part of you.”

Nef recounts a devastating exchange between a dresser at the first show in Paris where she was walking. “She said, ‘Are you one of the models?'” Nef said. “I said, ‘Yes,’ and she said, ‘Oh, I was just asking. You’re just a little uglier and fatter than the other girls.’ I’m starting to pull myself out of digging for things I don’t want to find. What I have in front of me is real, and important, and something that I deserve. You are enough.”

Polanco reveals how becoming a mother a year after she graduated from high school didn’t stop her from achieving her goals. “Motherhood surprises you in so many different ways,” she said. “Although I made the decision [to have a child], I knew that I wasn’t ready. I was going to put myself through college, I was going to get a job, and I was not going to be a statistic. Everything may seem hard now.…You’re so much more powerful than you even think you are.”

Modcloth, which was acquired by Walmart Inc. in March 2017, is expanding its partnership with Nordstrom to 20 stores, as it continues to roll out its fitshop concept. After last month’s opening of a 1,500-square-foot fitshop in SoHo, Modcloth plans to open 20 more this year. The brand recently launched global e-commerce.

“Who is the Modcloth woman?” said Lizz Wasserman, vice president of fashion at Modcloth. “The answer is there’s not one. It’s important to be open to all the different ways women can be and not pigeon-hole and not design for just one woman.”

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