Sports Illustrated entered new swimsuit territory and real women were “moved to tears” by the sexy new looks.
The annual Miami Swim Week show last Saturday featured the debut of body-inclusive Sports Illustrated Swim and Active apparel line, all modeled by real life curvy women, the New York Post reported.
From one-pieces to tummy revealing tiny tops and high-cut briefs, the fashions were modeled by women who are contest finalists vying for the grand prize of being photographed for the February Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated.
“[People in the crowd] lost their minds when the curvy girls came out,” the editor of Sports Illustrated Swimsuits, MJ Day, told The Post.
“I think they were shocked because you don’t typically see that at fashion week … especially at swim fashion week,” Day added. “Some people [in the audience] were moved to tears because they saw themselves represented on the runway, which they never thought they would.”
Brands like Swimsuits for All, Chromat and the New Zealand-based Lonely have been at the forefront of the changing body-positive bathing suit trend. They not only design fashionable suits in many styles, they also feature a diversity of models in runway shows and advertising campaigns.
Retail stores like Target have joined the boom and launched a body-inclusive swim-wear collection in March. Sports Illustrated’s new line featuring styles up to size 20 will be available in 2018 with prices ranging from $40 to $160 a suit.
“Being a larger person myself, I know that if you’re over a size 10, there often isn’t an option for you,” Day said.. “That’s really frustrating because I’m happy to spend my money — if I can just find what I want.”
In the US, annual sales of women’s apparel size 14 and up jumped from $17.4 billion in 2013 to $20.4 billion in 2016, according to a 2016 study by market research firm NPD Group, the Post reported.
“Retailers are noticing that a large majority of the population are demanding more body diversity,” Jessica Lewis, who produced the modeling-industry documentary “Straight/Curve,” said. “It’s a great opportunity not only to be more socially responsible and ethical but also for marketing,”
Lewis added that social media is also helping with the trend.
“Social media has empowered the public to let their voice be heard,” she said.
Susan Marasco, fashion director of ready-to-wear at Bloomingdale’s, believes the body-positive movement is not a passing fad.
“I think now more than ever, with supermodels promoting body diversity on Instagram, a younger audience is expecting more trends to become available for everyone,” she told the Post. “I think the trend is only going to get stronger.”
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