Growing up in the ’80s and being obsessed with fashion and beauty advertising, most of the body types I was exposed to as a young girl were fitness bodies a la Jane Fonda and the statuesque supermodels like Cindy Crawford.
It wasn’t until 2004, when I saw an ad featuring women of different ages and sizing – all part of Dove’s brilliant Campaign for Real Beauty which made an indelible mark on marketing to women. I first saw the campaign on the TTC on my way to work and I felt so much pride and happiness. – finally! Here were women who represented far more than what we were used to and I finally felt like there was a woman with my body being represented in advertising.
I know first hand that Dove was casting actual “real women” – an industry term which, unfortunately, slipped in to the public conscious, simply means someone who was not a professional fashion model. I had been a model agent for 7 years at the time, representing a diverse group of men and women up to 74 years old, from petite commercial models to “plus size” fashion models. The industry was on the cusp of change – though a slow change it has been, but this was the start. The casting breakdowns from Jigsaw Casting – who travelled across Canada seeking vibrant and diverse women for their latest campaigns – always requested “real people”, not professional models. Our models didn’t fit in those categories – and that was a great thing. Change was coming and I couldn’t be happier.
The Campaign for Real Beauty was a massive success. It wasn’t necessarily about directly selling products, it was a movement which started the conversation between women on how we have viewed ourselves, the pressure society has put on us for how we look, how we feel about ourselves, and how we can start seeing the beauty in the diversity of women. And it put pressure on other brands to re-look at how they were marketing to women.
A lot has changed in the past 16 years, but not nearly enough for this conversation to have ended. In fact, I feel it is still the beginning.
Enter Toronto-based global leader in women’s intimates Knix with a message to share with the world: women over 50 still exist, and they are as sexy, confident, and badass as ever!
Launched just before International Women’s Day this year, Knix released the first-ever lingerie campaign video [watch in its entirely here] exclusively featuring women from age 50 to 81 featuring Demi Lovato’s hit song “Confident”.
“The inspiration for this campaign is pretty simple: society as a whole has pretended that women over a certain age don’t exist,” shared Joanna Griffiths, Founder & CEO of Knix. “We wanted to celebrate women of all ages and really honor the fact that we’re beautiful at any age.”
I had the pleasure of being in the same room as some of the cast to celebrate the video launch in the brand’s beautifully laid out store on Toronto’s Queen West a couple of weeks ago. The women shared their stories about how they had heard about the casting (a lot of their daughters had forwarded it along), and how their family had reacted to seeing them in a lingerie campaign, with the overall message was one about feeling empowered, confident, and beautiful even though they may struggled with this when they were younger.
Watch it here and celebrate all the beautiful women you know and next time you are shopping for some new undies, check out their online shop at knix.ca.