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Paloma Elsesser and Claire Fountain Star in Nike’s New (Sort of) Body Positive Bra Ads

Curvy model Paloma Elsesser in Nike's latest sports bra offering.

Image: Nike

Nike has been through its share of ups and downs. Recently, the company received some good press for upping worker benefits and sustainability goals, only to be dubbed toxic by Greenpeace soon after for failure to eliminate 100 percent of PFCs and a lack of transparency about suppliers. However, we can now add another check in Nike’s “win” column thanks to the brand’s latest social media initiative, #Brahaus, which consciously, refreshingly, features non-straight-sized women without labeling them as “plus-size.” Nike is the first activewear giant to make the statement that being curvy doesn’t equate to being unhealthy.

Underlining the idea that women of all sizes care about fitness, among Nike’s five social media campaign stars are curvy model Paloma Elsesser and Trill Yoga creator Claire Fountain. The brand shares their stories whilst also showcasing its latest line of sports bras, the Nike Pro bra collection.

New York-based “culture creator,” ASOS Curve model, muse to Pat McGrath and all-around cool girl Paloma tells Nike she first discovered her love of fashion “rifling in my sister and mom’s closet. I would construct these costumes and leave for school the next day. Some days I was girly, some boyish, some punk. I remember being fascinated at how I could transcend my regular dress and be whoever I wanted to be, by simply using clothes.”

Yoga instructor Claire Fountain in a style from Nike's Pro bra collection.

Image: Nike

In her segment, Claire Fountain describes herself as “yoga teacher and wellness educator with an unconventional approach. I started Trill Yoga as a way to break the stereotype and stigmas of yoga and show that it’s for every body and anybody. It’s for the many that yoga isn’t marketed to currently. It will be.”

Unsurprisingly, most of Nike’s followers welcomed the inclusive campaign with open arms. “Let’s hear it for the curvy, sexy, sporty women,” wrote one Instagram user. Another applauded Nike for representing curvy body types within the sportswear space, whose ads are dominated by slim, chiseled physiques: “Love love love! I know a few brands who could learn from this ad.”

The Insta-ads themselves feature tips for choosing your perfect sports bra, whatever your support needs, whatever the occasion. “Most women wear a band too big and cup too small. Raise your hands above your head. If the band moves up, you may need to size down,” reads Paloma’s spot.

All that said, it is worth noting that the bras themselves are offered only up to a size XL or E. So, for many of the women to whom Nike is ostensibly preaching, these products remain unattainable. “This is all very well but the cup sizes only go up to an E cup! Fine if you happen to be a larger woman with smallish boobs (relatively) but not good for those of us who aren’t as large but have proportionally larger busts,” wrote one disgruntled Instagram user.

The Nike Pro bra collection's lookbook features professional athletes rather than curvy models.

Image: Nike

Furthermore, the actual lookbook for the Nike Pro bra collection sticks to the brand’s traditional advertising formula. All of the women featured, though diverse in terms of race, are professional athletes boasting picture-perfect abs. And so the fraught struggle for body positivity and inclusivity in fashion rages on.

[ via Oyster Magazine ]