Talk about smart style—when casting its latest campaign, the San Francisco based clothing company Betabrand decided to exclusively use Ph.D. candidates and doctoral students to model their clothing. “We thought our designers smart new spring fashions would look best on smart women,” company founder Chris Lindland said in a statement. Next to each model is a caption about their work and their academic history—one has a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Stanford, for example, while another has a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from UC Irvine.
Betabrand is only the latest clothing company using “real” women to showcase their brand. In 2012, Free People began using customer’s Instagram images in advertising campaigns and this past winter at New York Fashion Week, Donna Karan cast “real” women to walk her DKNY show. In the same fashion week, designer Carrie Hammer drew accolades by casting a model in a wheelchair in her show.
And the best news: This “trend” of using real women to showcase style seems less a fashion stunt and more a lasting, positive change in the industry. “There is a great deal of research to suggest that even brief exposures to ultra-thin models may cause women to feel temporarily worse about their own bodies. This doesn’t happen when we’re shown images of normal weight women,” explains Jennifer Thomas, Ph.D., co-director of the Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.
What do you think? Do you want to see more real women in ad campaigns? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine.