fashion . Trends & Shopping

Nike Champions Body Positivity Through Plus-Size Mannequins

Breaking stereotypes


This week, Nike’s flagship store in Oxford Street, London underwent a major makeover. Starting 5 June, the third level of NikeTown London opens with an updated women’s section. Like their flagships in New York and Shanghai, the new floor offers various treats like personal styling services and so on to NikePlus Members. However, it's not the new offerings that drew the excitement of the Nike store’s visitors but the introduction of new plus-sized mannequins. It’s the first time they manifested their inclusivity efforts on a display, breaking myths and stereotypes about plus-sized people and health. Encouraging body positivity, the new level also had extended offerings of plus-sizes and an apparel customisation service to ensure the right fit for everyone.


A plus-size mannequin in a sportswear boutique

A plus-size mannequin in NikeTown London’s revamped third floor. (source)


Inclusivity efforts


This isn’t the first time Nike attempted to shift the narrative towards plus-size athletes. Back in 2017, they rolled out their first-ever collection available in sizes 1X to 3X. Since then, Nike has tapped various body-positive models and influencers like Grace Victory and Chloe Elliot for collection collaborations. Also, just earlier this year, they worked with online British retailer Very to sell their curvy clothing range. 


Mixed reactions



Though their bold move to feature plus-size mannequins in their flagship store was mostly lauded, the brand received criticisms as well. Plus-sized bodies have long been associated with inactivity and unhealthiness. That’s why people online are quick to comment that these body-positive efforts are going away from the healthy, sporty lifestyle Nike stands for. But contrary to these negative beliefs, female athletes don’t come from the same slim mould, and that’s what Nike attempts to show.  


Representation matters



Despite fashion collections becoming more and more inclusive, in most cases, the mannequins they use don’t look like a majority of shoppers. According to the Guardian, the average mannequin back in 2014 was six-feet-tall, with a 34-inch bust, 24-inch waist, and 34-inch hips. These barely changed in the past few years and set an unrealistic body standard for all. Given that, Nike introducing plus-size mannequins in their store is a huge step in the right direction. With these efforts, Nike is breaking the stereotype that curvy women don’t participate in active pursuits. Everyone, no matter their shape or size, is free to enjoy an active lifestyle and wear comfortable clothing while doing so. 



Still, there’s a long, long way to go before people accept that health looks different with every body. For one, Nike’s products here in the region aren’t available in extended sizes that fit curvy women. Hopefully, the plus-size mannequins are introduced in their stores worldwide as well, and that their stand for inclusivity doesn’t just stop there. For now, we can just wait and get some of their plus-size active wear from ASOS.com


(Cover photo from: news.nike.com)


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