Brands love jumping on a good bandwagon, and there’s no better bandwagon right now than the body positivity movement. From Dove to Barbie to Lonely Lingerie, companies all over the world are showcasing a wider array of female figures and recognising that there’s more to being beautiful than runway thin.
But when Zara used an ad featuring skinny models to promote its new denim line for curvy women, it became an unfortunate example of when brands jump into trends without really understanding them in the first place.
Irish radio personality Muireann O’Connell was one of the first to notice the poster and tweeted about it in disgust. It later drew the ire of thousands of observers online as it whipped up a firestorm on social media.
— dr. dalia ☥ (@DALIAMALEK) February 28, 2017
I assume Zara is doing irony. pic.twitter.com/8BAomw5Yy8
— Just John (@emptyjamjar) February 28, 2017
— Bert Swattermain (@BertSwattermain) February 28, 2017
As some criticised O’Connell for body shaming the models, she told CNN: “It’s nothing against their body frames at all or how they look, they look like beautiful, beautiful women. It’s the marketing campaign behind it.”
While many expressed negative disdain at Zara’s woeful campaign decisions, others took a more proactive (and humorous) approach by offering to model for Zara themselves.
— Kita van Slooten (@kitavanslooten) March 2, 2017
— Eva Padawantazo (@Eva_Zeta) March 2, 2017
Zara has yet to respond the consumer uproar, but considering there are more than enough ‘curvy’ models around these days—from Ashley Graham to Tess Holliday—the high street retailer might do well to rethink their ways.