Inclusivity has been a buzz word in the marketing world for years now, but how many brands are actually tapping into the more-than-trend? Athleta sets the standard in a new campaign that proves brands that aren’t, are missing out.
The company recently announced the launch of its most inclusive line yet. The new collection celebrates powerful women of all shapes and sizes and features over 500 crafted styles that will be available in stores and online this month. As part of its continued commitment to size inclusive apparel, Athleta will be extending the new sizes across all categories by the end of 2022. Additionally, over 5,000 Athleta employees will undergo inclusive sizing and unconscious bias training in the midst of the launch to get a real sense of what inclusive communication should sound like. As such, the brand has been winning the hearts of fans, both existing and potential, as reflected in a 16% sales growth. Though Athleta has admitted to mistakes on its journey to size inclusivity, its informed reactions, willingness to learn, and continued reliance on digital tools has helped both rectify and progress its path to success and into the Gifted class of Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Activewear, neck and neck with cult favorite Lululemon.
Currently, only half of tracked brands provide interactive size and fit tools, which reflects broader opportunities to not only enhance the overall digital experience, but also leaves an entire audience of shoppers relatively untapped. Brands need to begin stretching the standard to fit bodies of all types, not just the ones the industry has deemed “normal”. This ideology has been making its way into several industries, including the beauty sector, where CPG giant Unilever just dropped the word from all packaging in an open acknowledgement that there is no standard for being a human. By evolving its product lines, Athleta does more than just support body positivity, it takes action about it, a brand quality consumers actively look out for.
Labels looking to not only build a new audience, but simply remain relevant, need to look beyond established strategies and add a serious dose of humanity to an industry once ruled by mannequins.