When we look back on female icons over the years, they’ve appeared in different ways. They’re on album covers, advertising campaigns, movie sets, and more. But one thing that they do have in common, however, is that they all exist in thin bodies. This, of course, doesn’t take away from the fact that they are indeed icons, but it does leave many women – women who don’t look like them – wondering if they could ever even come close to icon status.
The lack of representation within the media is troubling, but it’s no secret, nor is it anything new. That’s why when new campaigns drop celebrating bigger bodies for all they’re worth, it excites us, because it’s about bloody time. Dia&Co’s We Are All Icons campaign is not only shifting the number of plus size women seen in the mainstream, but embracing the icon within each and every one of them.
According to Dia&Co, women who wear a size 14 or above actually make up for 67% of the population, but despite taking up over two thirds of the women who make the world go round, only 3% of images within the media include bodies that accurately represent them. Fashion is the worst industry for excluding bodies that don’t fit their unattainable mould, but all industries are guilty of it.
The general consensus around bigger bodies revolves around diet culture, the need to shrink in order to be seen or deemed as worthy, leaving plus size women feeling ashamed to live in their bodies and shunned from the self-love conversation. But now, We Are All Icons works to show women exactly that – that they too, even as plus size women – can be iconic. The campaign’s imagery is simple, yet effective (not to mention stunning) as plus models recreate nine, yep, you guessed it, iconic images that have impacted popular culture as we know it.
Within the campaign, you’ll find Jessica Larsen reclining against a vending machine in a pair of killer denim cut-off shorts à la Cindy Crawford’s famous Pepsi commercial, not to mention Jessica Torres paying homage to Audrey Hepburn’s all-black Givenchy look from 1954 classic, Sabrina, and Arielle Pierre sporting fresh, wet, curls and a white t-shirt inspired by Diana Ross’ 1980 Diana album cover. Each truly outstanding in their own way, other images from the series include shots inspired by Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Brooke Shields, Kate Moss, and Kaia Gerber.
Plus model Jovanna Albino, whose shot honoured a 1980 photograph of Sade, by David Montgomery, told followers on Instagram, “I never thought I’d be in this position. For a plus size company to do this, and showcase that we can do the exact same things that other size women can do is everything.”
Whilst someone may just look at the campaign and appreciate its use of pastiche, it’s messaging is important to our society, and addresses the need to shift perspectives and push for more inclusivity and diversity within the fashion community. The choice to opt for denim isn’t accidental either, as it’s a subtle nod to American fashion (where denim is an icon in itself), not to mention the difficult relationship that many women – not just plus sizes – have with it, as many plus size women struggle to make denim a staple within their wardrobe. The brand found that by celebrating bodies wearing denim, they were simultaneously celebrating the various fits of Dia&Co’s denim range.
Dia&Co’s co-founder and co-CEO, Nadia Boujarwah, said: “At Dia&Co, we know that every woman can be iconic. Often, size is used as a barrier to keep plus women out of the conversation and hidden from the spotlight. We wholly reject that notion. Representation will always matter, and our mission with this campaign is to propel these images into the mainstream, making space and giving voice to generations of plus women.”
What’s your favourite image from the campaign?