Stretch marks, thighs that touch, and full breasts — just a few of the physical features you’ll see on some of Target’s swimwear models this season. And, as you might expect, the Internet is already loving it.
Upcoming ads for the newly-released line will include four diverse women — models Denise Bidot and Kamie Crawford, pro skateboarder Lizzie Armanto, and YouTube personality Megan Batoon — who are all known for their social media presence, activism, and athleticism. But their ads will have one other bonus: According to Revelist, they won’t feature any retouching.
As a spokesperson for the brand shared in a statement:
“Target is committed to empowering women to feel confident in what they wear by offering a variety of style choices. We loved working with these women because they embody confidence and inspire women to embrace and be proud of who they are, regardless of their size or shape. It was important to us to use photography that represented their true beauty without filters.”
As for the swimwear? It’s gorgeous! No frumpy and color-less swimwear pieces here. The options are vibrant, trendy, and at first glance, comfy yet sexy.
“Target shows women of all shapes, sizes and colors looking beautiful and confident in themselves and their swimsuits and that resonates with women everywhere,” Kamie shared on Target’s website. “Confidence is contagious!”
It certainly is.
As a curvy girl myself, I seriously appreciate Target’s efforts to represent all shapes and sizes; especially when it comes to swimwear. Every summer, I struggle to find a swimsuit that gives me coverage without compromising my confidence. I don’t want a “mom suit,” but I also don’t want one created for a 18-year-old spring-breaker. You know the kind — the neon-pink, teeny-tiny triangle top that’s paired with a bikini bottom that has fringe hanging off in all the wrong places. I also have an additional struggle: I’m a Type 1 diabetic, and need a bathing suit that can support the weight of my ever-present insulin pump.
Luckily, I found one at Target last year that did just that:
So yeah; opening up a Target circular to see nothing but happy, energetic, and strong women rocking colorful, on-point swimwear isn’t just refreshing — it certainly makes me more likely to snag another cute Target suit (or two, or three!) this season, too.
This isn’t the first time Target has won the hearts of women (and especially moms) everywhere, though. Last month, a new Target tee for boys went viral for the simple, yet powerful message it had written across its front: “Strong Like Mom.” The new Cat and Jack clothing line for children pushes stereotypes aside, offering tees focused on things like music, science, art, and sports, instead of the pirates and princesses themes we usually see. And for parents like me, that’s a welcome change.
Target’s ads also consistently feature models of color and children with disabilities. Just last year, the retailer’s Halloween ad went viral for choosing a little girl with leg braces and arm crutches to model its Queen Elsa costume.
Luckily, though, Target isn’t the only major brand that’s hiring diverse models and changing fashion industry norms in big ways. April, an 11-year-old girl with Vitiligo, a skin condition causing varying pigment blotches, was featured in Gap’s “Fearless Beauty” campaign just last month. And in 2016, Jack Eyers became the first male amputee to model during New York Fashion Week.
The push towards more diversity in the fashion and retail industry isn’t just being seen on the modeling front, either. Madeleine Stuart, a model with Down Syndrome who has worked with clothing, accessory, and cosmetics companies for years, just launched her very own fashion line 21 Reasons Why.
Since the dawn of advertising, companies operated under the belief that if they showed consumers unattainable but appealing images, sales would skyrocket. And for a long time, they did. We were shown (and are still shown) an aspirational world, in which “flaws” or differences are airbrushed out, smoothed over, or worst of all, simply not represented at all. But the tides are starting to change; consumers want — and crave — the diversity they see in the world around them. They want to see themselves.
We’re making our desires known, and we’re doing it with our dollars, demanding that unless products are truly made with a real person in mind, we aren’t buying.
And I don’t know about you, but I’m so glad to be living in that new reality. Looks like we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief, because it’s about time.