LONG BEACH — So a professional model, metalhead and skater walk into a photo shoot. It sounds like the start to a bad joke, but on an overcast day in April Natalie Nootenboom, Georgia May Jagger, skateboarder Rachelle Vinberg and a gaggle of other models and Volcom ambassadors reported to Thunder Studios to shoot Volcom’s fall and holiday campaigns as the company gears up to expand its size offerings.
The Costa Mesa-based action sports company will begin with what it’s calling all-inclusive sizing beginning with the launch of fall denim, due out at Nordstrom and Volcom’s web site in July with the option of either a legging or ankle legging fit retailing for $59.50. The expansion is simple to remember: from 24 inches to a 24 waist.
“I feel like we’re already late to the game, but I think in just meeting with a lot of the girls and seeing everything that’s happening with consumers and social media plus all of the movements of body empowerment and women’s empowerment is so relevant right now that it just felt like a natural next step for us,” Volcom global head of women’s Lyndsey Roach said in an interview the day the company shot imagery and footage for the campaign. “As soon as we started talking to different girls, it was like we opened the floodgates.”
The market opportunity’s certainly there, with Roach pointing to the fact that more than 67 percent of women in the U.S. wear a size 14 or higher.
Volcom enlisted a group of its ambassadors and other influencers to hear what categories they wanted to see expanded sizing in, which is why the company’s starting with denim. It then went back out to the market to find what other pieces from its entire apparel range customers also wanted to see more diversity of sizes in.
“They were the ones that were handpicking which styles we were going to add into that collection because we didn’t want to design it in a bubble,” Roach said. “We also didn’t want to pretend we’re the expert on all of this. So we went to the expert, the consumer. I think, for me, I was hearing that they don’t really have that many branded options. They have a lot of private label. They have a lot of fast fashion, but they don’t really have a brand.”
The theme of “Volcom for Every Body” in some ways complements the brand’s older “True to This” tag line as the company pushes the idea of not just size inclusivity but also diversity of thought and personal interests.
“I think it’s really great Volcom includes all these different types of girls and I think that it’s really important for the world to see, not just in body type but also personalities and what they are doing and that they’re all doing exciting things and really confident in themselves,” Jagger said during the shoot as the group broke for lunch. “That makes other people feel the same thing and so I think that’s really positive.”
As the campaign’s models lounged on couches after getting hair and makeup done or changed into their next looks, the cast represented a plethora of diverse hobbies and backgrounds: There were members of the band Deap Vally there to play as part of the shoot with an exclusive song “Get Gone” for the campaign; the skateboarder Vinberg; Jagger, who has been collaborating with Volcom’s more fashion-forward line Stone Row; and the face of the denim campaign Nootenboom, an avid writer and heavy metal singer who counts Steve Aoki and Devon Aoki as uncle and aunt. The rest of the models in the shoot included models that included Tina Kunakey, Molly Constable, Bree Kish, Tamara Bell and Cassie Amato.
“It’s time for change within fashion,” Nootenboom said. “I think that a lot of the bigger brands are starting to open up to it, but then it’s just now spreading. It’s changing how you see beauty in general. There’s just so many stereotypes out there, especially for Asian women and I wanted to break those and say Asian women don’t have to be petite and tiny. Who says that we come one-size-fits-all? Why can’t we be size 12, size 14 or in-between? So I just want to say you know what? Let’s push the labels aside and reach out to companies that want to see change [and] that want to open people’s minds.”
Jagger echoed Nootenboom’s sentiments based on her own personal experiences in the modeling industry.
“As far as fashion, it’s been a long time coming,” she said. “When I started modeling, I was always a lot shorter than a lot of other models so even though I was hired for things, like when I did Versace once and we did, at the end of the show, you stand there and you do a presentation. People would shout out ‘Why is that model so short?’ So, for me, it’s exciting the world is changing because it is what the consumer wants because not all girls are a size 0 and six-foot tall. In fact, hardly any are. I think it’s good to show more varied types of bodies in advertisements because it makes people feel more confident about themselves.”