Nike praised for using plus-size mannequins in store

9 June 2019, 09:21 | Updated: 9 June 2019, 09:22

Nike is showcasing its athletic wear on plus size mannequins.
Nike is showcasing its athletic wear on plus size mannequins. Picture: NIKE

Nike is adding plus size mannequins to its flagship London store, bringing inclusivity and diversity to the forefront of its business.

The Oxford Street Nike store is the first to have plus size and para-sport apparel displayed on mannequins in an effort to celebrate all bodies.

"To celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of sport, the space will not just celebrate local elite and grassroot athletes through visual content, but also show Nike plus size and para-sport mannequins for the first time on a retail space," Nike said in a press release.

Read more: ASOS praised for using plus size bikini model.

The Oxford Street store is the first to feature plus size mannequins with more stores to follow.
The Oxford Street store is the first to feature plus size mannequins with more stores to follow. Picture: NIKE

The retailer launched it is first plus size collection in 2017, and said it plans to introduce the mannequins to other stores.

"With the incredible momentum in women’s sport right now, the redesigned space is just another demonstration of Nike’s commitment to inspiring and serving the female athlete,” said Sarah Hannah, Nike's general manager and vice president for women in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Plus size fashion bloggers and instagrammers are praising Nike for their inclusivity and encouragement for women of all shapes to embrace their status as an athlete. Curvy fashion and style blogger Denise Kokinis posted she's never been considered athletic even though she played sports.

"I’ve spent years of my life working out, doing yoga, figure skating, playing soccer, and so much more... only to have people look past that and simply say 'you’re fat.'

"@nikewomen is pushing those boundaries: creating pieces for plus size women, using curvy models and mannequins, and encouraging each women that they are an athlete."

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I’ve never been the ‘thin’ one, never been considered athletic (even though I played sports), and told that I don’t work out because of my size. So, when I took a trip to the @nikechicago recently, one of the girls reminded me “if you have a body, you’re an athlete.” I’ve spent years of my life working out, doing yoga, figure skating, playing soccer, and so much more... only to have people look past that and simply say “you’re fat.” @nikewomen is pushing those boundaries: creating pieces for plus size women, using curvy models and mannequins, and encouraging each women that they are an athlete. I found this set and jacket at Nike and have never felt better in a workout set. It hugs my curves, shows off my assets, and makes me feel like the athlete I always knew I was 🙌🏼💪🏼#NikeChicago #nikeplussize #nikewomen #fashionloveletters

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While the response has been largely positive, some have suggested the mannequins are just marketing strategy. Though many plus size consumers are just fine with that.

"However, for me, regardless if they’ve done it to gain more customers, as someone who is overweight, has a tiny waist, big boobs, big hips, it can be difficult to find clothes or gym gear to suit your body shape. If I was to walk into a Nike shop, I wouldn’t even bother looking at their gym clothing line because I would know I wouldn’t fit in to anything. But if I walked in and saw this mannequin, I would be more confident in finding something for myself," said Instagram user@therealslimsammi__.

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✅ Rate or slate? ❌ . . So I’ve seen this picture floating around social media and have been reading a lot of comments. A lot of people are as you can imagine being negative and saying it’s “promoting fat girls” or “Nike are just being clever to create a larger audience” to mention a few and let’s be honest, it very well could be the latter 🤷🏼‍♀️ . However, for me, regardless if they’ve done it to gain more customers, as someone who is overweight, has a tiny waist, big boobs, big hips, it can be difficult to find clothes or gym gear to suit your body shape. If I was to walk into a Nike shop, I wouldn’t even bother looking at their gym clothing line because I would know I wouldn’t fit in to anything. But if I walked in and saw this mannequin, I would be more confident in finding something for myself. . I’m sure this would give other ladies more confidence to maybe even buy their first gym outfit to get the ball rolling instead of thinking gym clothes are for smaller sized people and give up before they’ve even started. . Therefore I see this as a positive move overall and I’m impressed with Nike 🌈 what are your thoughts? 🤔 . . . #nike #mannequin #plussizefashion #plussize #plussizefit #plussizegymwear #gym #gymwear #bodypositive #bodypositivity #slimming #weightloss #weightlosssupport #women #womenswear #nikegymwear #nikewomen #positive #positivethoughts #positivevibes

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"I’m sure this would give other ladies more confidence to maybe even buy their first gym outfit to get the ball rolling instead of thinking gym clothes are for smaller sized people and give up before they’ve even started. Therefore I see this as a positive move overall and I’m impressed with Nike."