We all know Nike as being one of the most iconic sportswear brands ever.
Millions of people own their products and the brand has been proud sponsors of big names in the celebrity world – think Michael Jordan, Serena Williams. Although Nike is pretty cool and very comfort-friendly, I’ve never been particularly in love with the brand, maybe due to my lack of grace whilst running – or my bust that has its own gravitational pull – but alas, I digress. In spite of this, over the last few months, I have been pleasantly surprised. Nike are doing something good; they’re using their power and worldwide following to tackle some big issues and I’m totally here for it.
Let’s start with something close to my heart. Nike’s new plus-size range, which includes items such as hoodies and sports bras in sizes 1X to 3X, has been launched and it’s being received in a range of ways. The campaign features several fuller-figured models showcasing the inclusive garms and doing a damn good job of it too. They’re killing it but the best part of this is the normality. For me, I see myself reflected in these women and it feels right. The average sized woman and those above are finally being accommodated for by popular brands and not in a we-couldn’t-really-be-arsed-but-be-grateful kind of way. The models look stunning and they look fierce.
While this sounds great, the internet is the internet and, at the end of the day, there’s always going to be a few whiny arseholes complaining. The campaign has received backlash from some who called the models, such as Grace Victory, ‘unhealthy’ because of her size. The internet now offers access to people’s medical records, didn’t you know? Despite the sheer ignorance of the comment, Grace shrugged off the comment and replied by pointing out that she was still fabulous and, indeed, would be ‘“laughing all the way to the bank.” Girl, fair play.
If I wasn’t already feeling like a proud mother, Nike then came along and floored me again. The dawn of 2018 will see the widespread release of the Nike Pro Hijab. This campaign features an array of women wearing their traditional clothing whilst exercising and, quite honestly, enjoying life and the freedom of movement.Coming from Nike Middle East, the ad is bold and controversial, mirrored in the videos narrative which features a female voice speculating: “What will they say about you? Maybe they’ll say you exceeded all expectations.” Personally, I think this is groundbreaking and a step in the right direction for brands such as Nike. In Saudi Arabia where women’s gyms are illegal in the kingdom, this kind of thing is huge. Women are being empowered through their clothing – is that not beautiful?
I may not be the biggest fashion follower out there but I notice something great when I see it. This is a new wave of liberalism, feminism and empowerment coming from one of the top names in an industry where the rules have been rigid for far too long. I’m not saying to bow down to Nike and praise them as the saviour of our fellow females; just acknowledge that the change is well underway and normal is being redefined day-by-day.
Get Volume #17 here.
Words by Claudia Knight