This Hashtag Has a Blunt Message for the Fashion Industry About Body Image

September 15th 2015

When Vogue's September issue hit newsstands last month with a two-page ad featuring curvy, female silhouettes beside the hashtag #PlusIsEqual, many speculated that plus-size retailer Lane Bryant was behind it, as the company tweeted out a photo of the ad in late August. Since, the brand has confirmed it created the campaign just in time for fall New York Fashion Week (NYFW), which typically celebrates fashion with thin models.

The campaign, which will be featured on E! and at the upcoming Emmy Awards, has released more images and Instagram posts for NYFW and aims to give plus-size women as much attention as others traditionally represented at the fashion event.

As ATTN: has noted before, the market for plus-size women's clothing was worth $9 billion in 2014, but the fashion industry as a whole has not fully invested in this group. Not only are manufacturers failing to properly serve the plus-size community, but they are losing out on a major money-making opportunity themselves by ignoring this group. Lane Bryant CEO and president Linda Heasley highlighted this issue in a statement about the #PlusIsEqual campaign:

"110 years ago Lane Bryant was created to offer 'our size women' fashionable well-made clothing. Traditional department and specialty stores simply didn't stock them in any depth so these women's needs were not being met. What is amazing is that over a century later, most retailers still offer extremely limited options to our customer so we're as relevant a brand now as we were when we were first founded. Though 67% of women range in size 14-24, the media still fails to represent them. The inequality exists and we're continuing to balance the equation. Plus is Equal. Our women are not only equal they are sexy and fabulous!"  

Ashley Graham, a model who participated in #PlusIsEqual, told the Huffington Post of the campaign, "Everyone deserves to see themselves being represented equally. #PlusIsEqual is showing that curvy women are accepted, they're represented and being made a priority in the fashion industry. We definitely still have more progress to make, but campaigns like this and #IAmSizeSexy are raising awareness for body diversity and continuing these great conversations. I'm thankful to be a part of such an impactful movement."

Lane Bryant showcased the campaign at an event in New York on Monday.

Here are some posts and photos Lane Bryant just released on Instagram for the #PlusIsEqual movement:

#ImNoAngel campaign

Lane Bryant's latest move comes a few months after Lane Bryant launched the #ImNoAngel campaign as a response to Victoria's Secret Angels models, none of whom are plus-size.

"How boring would it be if we were all the same?" a plus-size model says in the video ad for #ImNoAngel.

#ImNoAngel was well-received on social media, with many women praising the campaign for embracing different body types:

The push for body positive campaigns in fashion

Many people have taken to social media in recent years to push back against an industry that favors thin women over plus-size ones. At the beginning of the year, Change.org member Dana Drew created a petition urging Victoria's Secret to cater to the plus-size community once and for all. 

"My money and my credit are good enough for [Victoria's Secret], but the fact that I can only buy items like perfume, lotion, and body spray sends the message that my body is not," Drew wrote. "Every year I watch the Angel fashion show and would love to purchase the items I see on my screen but can’t because Victoria’s Secret doesn’t sell plus sizes. There are over 100 million plus size women in the United States ... Victoria’s [S]ecret already offers larger bra sizes for women with enhanced and naturally bigger breasts; it makes perfect sense to expand their lines so women with larger bodies can also join the club ... My point overall, let anyone, any size, walk in and pick something from the drawers."

Last year, Victoria's Secret came under fire for launching a "Perfect Body" campaign:

Following backlash, the company changed its campaign name to "A Body For Every Body":

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