S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL

6 comments | February 6th, 2012

(by Seth and Eva @OOC)

We shot the look-book for our women's StoryTee Collection the other day.

For those who don't know, a look-book is (as defined by Wiki)  "a collection of photographs compiled to show off a model, a photographer, a style, or a clothing line."  For Off Our Chests, it's the latter…it's showing retail buyers our new women's StoryTees, and how the shirts can be dressed up or down.  It's about giving the clothing a little attitude and context, and the retailer a little spark.

Here's the thing and the reason we bring it up at all.  We had 2 models.  They were both thin, really thin.  One was African-American and the other was white, size-wise they were "small", and we can't help but wonder if we should have had more body shape diversity, and so we feel the need to explain why a brand and platform like Off Our Chests that opens its arms and mind to the full diversity of women and their experiences as we do, did not reflect the same in our look-book.  Here's why.

Simply, we pretty much capitulated.  We gave in to the norms and standards of fashion retail.  Here, unless you're making clothes solely for the "plus-sized" market, clothes are typically sized and fit on women that are "small'.  This seems to be the standard that allows you to look at a picture and get some sense of fit, cut and style.  It's what we the people have been served up, and it's what we're used to.  But we can get used to banging our heads against the wall, abusive relationships, and all kinds of things that aren't good for us.

While we're not suggesting that small is anything but small, and there are plenty of "real women" who are size 0-2, we still can't help but feel like we should have done it differently.

But as we launch this brand and collection, as we take our first steps towards generating revenue for Off Our Chests, this was a battle we chose not to fight and an arena in which we chose not to fight it.  Did we give in?  Did we compromise or diminish who we are and what we stand for?

Obviously, there's a part of us that worries we did and that we have.  While we're about and for all women (and that includes small women)…does OOC have a special responsibility to reflect a broader spectrum on everything, every time?  To go outside the typical and so-called norms of beauty?  We may.  But we also have a responsibility to the business we're building and wonder if we'd gone outside the norms if that would have been pragmatic.  But if WE capitulate to what IS pragmatic and what is status quo, how can WE help change and create what could be and should be?

Truth is, here, we don't know.  But we're mindful of the need to figure it out and to do right by both conscience and commerce.  That's what we stand for and believe in, and we hope this first step is just that, and like a child's…it's a little wobbly, a little uncertain, and we may have fallen on our butt.  

Let us know what you think in the comments.  As always, here @OOC HQ, we're listening, trying to grow, and get better. 



  • Melissa

    Posted on February 6, 2012

    Dove managed to incorporate a multitude of sizes in their advertising campaigns very successfully…but they are an already established company. I don’t hold it against you that you used “small” models for your look books for buyers, but I hope you can branch out a bit for the advertising you do for the public.
    Here’s what burns my socks about this stuff, Lane Bryant uses plus sized models for everything except panties. I stopped buying from them after going online to shop and discovering this. But I digress…if you have two models to show your tees, how diverse can you really be? Cut yourselves some slack, and keep doing what you do!

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  • Carrie

    Posted on February 6, 2012

    Hey, at least you’re thinking about this stuff! Most companies wouldn’t even know what you are talking about. So, thanks!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted on February 6, 2012

    I started my own business and it was SO much harder than I thought it would be. You think you can do everything right, but it’s pretty close to impossible. So, I get it, and maybe later you can have more diversity. Doesn’t all have to happen today.

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