By ROSIE WATERLAND
So here’s the thing about plus-size swimwear advertising campaigns: They don’t exist.
Or, if they do, they tend to be so heartbreakingly drab and Golden Girls-inspired that it’s almost humorous. Almost.
Where are the sexy plus-size girls in bikinis with perfectly tousled hair laughing like they’re in a 90’s gum commercial? How come all I ever see is a few dusty mature-aged aquarobics costumes hidden underneath a sign that says 80% off?
Well, to be fair, I can’t really blame the stores because, since gaining weight, wearing a swimsuit has actually become my worst nightmare (or at least second to being chased by that lady who feeds the birds in Mary Poppins). And I assume that is the case for a lot of plus-size girls, so why would the stores advertise a product that women are terrified of wearing anyway?
How about, BECAUSE WE SHOULDN’T BE TERRIFIED! Whatever your reason for being whatever size you are right now, you deserve to go swimming and to look good doing it, damn it. And maybe if the stores bothered to
market stylish and sexy swimsuits to bigger women with fun campaigns the way they do with other sizes, some of us would be more inspired to buy a two-piece. Fashion campaigns are made aspirational for a reason, so why not give bigger girls something to aspire to?
Well, one fashion blogger in the US decided she would do just that. Gabi Gregg has an extremely popular plus-size fashion blog called GabiFresh and she writes a monthly column for US InStyle magazine. Last year, she posted a blog in which she coined the term ‘fatkini’, and boy, did she make plus-size swimwear look hot. Really hot. She put up several pics of herself looking gorgeous and encouraged other women to let go of their fears, put on a bikini and send in the photos.
Cut to the internet losing its shit.
That blog post became so popular that Gabi was asked to design a collection (sizes 16-24) for plus-size swimwear label swimsuitsforall. And let me tell you something:
The campaign is freaking fabulous.
Take a look:
The models look vibrant and joyful and sexy and fun. It looks like any other swimwear campaign, except the girls look like me. And do you want to hear something crazy? It’s actually got me thinking that I can maybe pull off a two-piece.
Note to department stores and clothing manufacturers: This campaign has actually made me want to SPEND MY MONEY. On something that I would otherwise never have bought. I’m pretty sure (from my extensive viewing of Mad Men, obviously) that that’s how advertising is supposed to work.
So get to it, guys. Follow this Gabi girl’s lead. Advertise swimwear on a range of different bodies, and you might just find those bodies have cash to spend. All they needed was an inspirational push in the right direction.
I think I’m actually looking forward to summer.
When was the last time you wore a bikini?