Photo: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images
You probably know and love Outdoor Voices for their signature color-blocked leggings and seriously comfy running gear. But people are also taking notice of the realistic and relatable bodies the brand uses in their marketing images. Not too long ago, they showcased a model with cellulite wearing their running shorts—and didn't even call out the body-positivity because it's just NORMAL. Their website is full of such images that don't hide these so-called imperfections—something former Shape cover girl and Riverdale actress Camila Mendes picked up on as well.
Over the weekend, Mendes shared a series of photos off of the brand's website to her Instagram Stories to applaud them for not retouching their models. (Related: Outdoor Voices Launched Its First Swimwear Collection)
"So many activewear brands only hire models with flat stomachs, or they edit the photos so there is no visible roundness in the belly area," she wrote alongside a screengrab of a model with a heart drawn around her belly. "I really admire Outdoor Voices for hiring models with curves, and for keeping their curves intact and on display," she wrote, sharing another similar photo.
Everyone has a belly, BTW. And said belly is not always flat as a pancake, okay? Yes, even if you're otherwise healthy and fit. Still, embracing your body and your belly can be tough, which is something Mendes has opened up about before. This seems to be why the image below particularly spoke to her.
The image showcases a model standing normally, with a small skin roll around her waist on full display (something that may have traditionally been edited or smoothed out of the final image). "Little things like this make me so happy," Mendes wrote pointing at the so-called flaw. "This is what my body looks like when I wear activewear. Sometimes I get insecure when I see my curves folding into each other. But it's so normal. And we've been conditioned to believe it's an imperfection."
While a skin fold here and there might not seem like a big deal, Mendes explained why this kind of realness representation, even on a small scale, does matter—a lot. "I'm aware that not all of the models on my story are plus size," she wrote. "The things I circled are subtle details that you may not even notice but they are incredibly important. I find that fashion can be quite polarizing: Models are either super thin or plus size, forgetting that there is a range of body types in between." (Related: Camila Mendes Shared How She Bonded with a Fan Over Body-Positivity)
Mendes does have a point. While more and more women are embracing their shapes, there's a whole group of women being left behind: Women who don't fit the stereotypical label of "skinny" but wouldn't consider themselves "curvy" either. Katie Willcox, the founder of the Healthy Is the New Skinny movement, previously spoke about how these women, who fall somewhere in the middle, aren't seeing their body types represented in media—and more importantly, conversations about body image, self-acceptance, and self-love haven't included them. (Related: Is the Body-Positive Movement All Talk?)
Along with Willcox, Mendes hopes to draw attention to that fact via her mini Instagram-rant. "I wish to live in a world in which all body types can be celebrated and represented—thin to plus size, and everything in between," she wrote. "Sometimes what we are insecure about is not even size but rather the imperfect details of our physical shape."
At the end of the day, it's important to remember that a healthy body looks different on everyone—yep, you've heard that a million times, but it's still a needed reminder. And if you think what OV is doing might not seem all that groundbreaking, ask yourself: Then why are so many people noticing it?
Because our bodies are badass and feeling strong, healthy, and confident is for everyone! Help us spread the body love and be a part of our #LoveMyShape body confidence movement: Post a photo or video on social sharing why you love your shape. And check out Movemeant Foundation, our partner in empowering women and girls to be body positive.