PrettyLittleThing has often promoted size diversity in the past, but one particular image shared on the brand’s Instagram page has ignited a heated debate online about health and body image.
The photo, which shows models Kayla Jane and Tabria Majors clad in brightly coloured bikinis from the British label, has gained more than 140,000 likes and nearly 500 comments with Instagram users arguing about whether it promotes body positivity or glamorises obesity.
“The unhealthiness jumped out in this pic,” wrote Rickimaraj. Another user, Saidane, chimed in with: “Pretty big thing,” but the vast majority of comments were aimed at rebuking these two users and defending the picture.
“This snap by no means advocates obesity! It’s highlighting that we are all different shapes and sizes and not all one size!” wrote Ands_bx.
“I’m just so glad we are seeing sizes bigger than an 8-10 and clothes that are fitting natural curves.”
“They are curvier ladies, they are hardly morbidly obese. They look amazing. You can still be bigger and be healthy, and body confidence is something severely lacking in this society,” added adriennewx.
While laurataylorxx posted: “We aren’t all size 6 Instagram models and these are more realistic pictures than half the ones portrayed on Instagram these days! ”
Kayla Jane responded to the debate on her own Instagram page:
“In a world where we see women in the media (cough Nicki cough Cardi) constantly bringing each other down, it’s that much more important to show young ladies how to uplift one another,” she wrote.
“We must model how to be confident not only in their bodies, but in their talents and in their minds.”
The Manchester-based brand issued a statement in response, saying: “At PrettyLittleThing we are all about celebrating body diversity and we believe everybody is beautiful.
“We are proud to be able to offer a clothing range which caters from a size 4 to 28 and we pride ourselves on using all different body types and sizes in our campaigns.”
Brand founder Umar Kumani also posted on his personal Instagram account: “We live in a world where mental health is becoming a bigger issue and our aim is not just to sell clothes but to fill girls with confidence and happiness through the way they dress.
“We want every girl and #everyBODY to feel comfortable in PLT. We will continue to support all body shapes and sizes and we will continue to build a brand that actually cares about our customer deeper than just selling to them.”
It’s hard to argue with the logic – if they make clothing up to size 28 why shouldn’t they show models in those clothes?
PrettyLittleThing have actually been sharing similar photos for a long time and the brand’s dedication to diversity is admirable – plus size models and wheelchair users regularly feature on its Instagram feed alongside celebrities and famous influencers.
The more that brands, whether fashion or otherwise, champion inclusivity and stand up to critics, the sooner we’ll reach a point where a couple of models in bikinis don’t cause a social media storm.- Press Association