If you haven’t seen the buzz around the new Nike Plus Size collection then you probably didn’t have access to the Internet over the last week or so. With top blogging influencers Danielle Vanier and Gracie Francesca fronting the new Black & White collection, it’s graced the pages of media all over the place. I feel really strongly about this collection and its been playing on my mind all week so I’ve decided to write about it. Let me explain… I can’t actually wear the new collection. But, stay with me here. Rather than being mad about it… I’m praising it… here’s why.
Image From Danielle Vanier by JKG Photography
When I was a teenager I was a size 14 to 16 and worked in Topshop. I thought I was pretty hot to a degree (back then working while in college, let alone in Topshop made you super cool!) The only thing that really ate away at me was my size. I could SQUEEZE into a size 16 pair of Topshop jeans. (Which is why you could never find them in store because when that ONE pair came in the delivery, I’d swipe them. every single size 16 I was taking. No holds barred). It made me feel terrible. Like there was something wrong with me. Nike has ALWAYS been a cool brand and when I was in college First Sport and Footlocker were the places to be too. I remember seeing these super cool girls looking effortlessly chic in matching tracksuit and fresh trainers. The Nike t-shirts were a fave too but ended up looking like a belly top on me! A couple of occasions I tried to wear a men’s T Shirt that epically failed and generally being a teenager, this felt awful. It indicated to me that being big wasn’t cool. Even if I had the money to spend.
Roll on 10 years too late later and Nike has finally released a range that fits up to a 22. You know what that means? It means all those young girls between a 14 and 22 can feel included, cool and comfortable. Just like their friends. Yes, this is about feeling good, looking good and being cool. Because when I was a teenager that’s what mattered. My parents ALWAYS stressed its what’s on the inside but society, well, that played a huge part in making me feel ugly and spending ALL my money on clothes that didn’t fit to make me feel better. Now, the 17 year old me could have bought that matching tracksuit and not only filled it with my chunky thighs but the also the absolute swagger and confidence it would have helped me with. Maybe not even realizing it.
Image From Gracie Francesca by JKG Photography
Yes, there is still a HUGE problem that right now being a size 24 / 26 I’d struggle to fit in the range. Yes, that sucks. But I understand unless we get behind something and support it, why should a company (morals to one side here… business is business) invest in expanding a collection if it isn’t popular. Not just the size, but also everything from the color, to the style. If it doesn’t sell and create a buzz, why bother doing anything else with it. River Island is a great example. They started at a 24. Because it was so popular, they knew it would be received if they expanded to a 28. Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate the frustration of being bigger and not having the choice. I want the Nike vintage tracksuit SO bad I’d pay double for it. But I really hope if this collection does well, they’ll expand (and hopefully it doesn’t take another bloody 10 years!) This is why it’s so important that women like Gracie and Danielle have these platforms. It removes the stigma that plus size is ugly and reinforces that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. That being cool is so much about confidence and the way you feel about yourself.
In the mean time, it’s going to change so many young girls lives; the confidence it will enhance will be spectacular. I might sound like I’m exaggerating, but I’m talking from experience. I spent years tormenting myself with diets to fit into the clothes I loved. Finally I started to accept myself and then the fashion industry started to change too. But if young girls have access to the clothes they love, in their size from an early age, hopefully it will start to break the chain and they never need to learn to accept themselves because they always have. They’ll have a worldwide, famous, super cool brand that sponsors major sportswomen all over the world available at their fingertips. And wear what their friends wear.
I guess, in a nutshell, what I’m saying is support the efforts, the change and help pull it forward. I know it’s hard when it’s still not there for you but it’s making a difference. I know it’s hard when we’re constantly settling for not enough. But sometimes, you just have to support what seems like a small step.