When it comes to plus-size fashion, many mainstream retailers drop the ball. Often, they’ll debut a plus-size line or designer collaboration with flourish only to later shrink it, eliminate it entirely or hide it away in some nook of their superstructure. JCPenney is known to be on the inclusive end of things — a recent search by the NDP Group revealed that about 16 percent of dresses on the retailer’s site are plus-size, as compared to Nordstrom’s 8.5 percent. However, by the look of JCPenney’s latest ad campaign, that percentage is about to take a much-needed leap.
On Friday, the retailer revealed its #HereIAm campaign to the crowd at theCurvyCon, the nation’s only convention dedicated to plus-size fashion. An accompanying video celebrates the brand’s new plus-size boutique and the incredible women to whom it caters. Jes Baker, author of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls, Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Mary Lambert, plus-size blogger and designer GabiFresh, Ashley Nell Tipton of Project Runway fame and Valerie Sagun, a proudly curvy yoga practitioner and blogger with over 136,000 followers on Instagram, all look into the camera and share their inspiring-as-hell stories.
“There is true beauty in individuality,” JCPenney wrote in the caption of the video. “So, when we start letting go of preconceived notions of who someone is based on what they look like on the outside, we all take one step closer to body positivity.”
The three-minute feature begins with each leading lady (in the commercial as well as in their craft) telling of how society shunned them and shamed them. The women’s somber, reflective tone then shifts to one of defiance and pride as they showcase their formidable talents and successes. Ultimately, it’s a testament to the power of self-love. Jes, Mary, Gabi, Ashley and Valerie have all proved their naysayers wrong. They no longer abide by the rules and preconceptions assigned to curvy women. They love their bikinis. They want to be noticed when they walk in the room. They’re sexy.
“The bodies don’t need to change,” Lambert proclaims. “The attitude does.” Truer words were never spoken.
Check out the full video above and prepare to witness some serious #curvygirlmagic.