Shapewear brand Spanx has an image problem. “Compression is just so 15 years ago,” Jacqui Stafford, a fashion editor and celebrity stylist, told the New York Times. “Women today just don’t want to be squeezed into something uncomfortable. And they’re more comfortable with real bodies.”
Linguist problems of ‘real bodies’ aside, Spanx has seen its share of the market decrease in the last few years, facing increased competition from the rise of comfortable leisurewear like yoga pants. In response, the company is attempting to rebrand, moving away from the “thinly veiled fat-shaming that has long dominated its ads.” Spanx’s rebrand is jumping on the Dove-inspired trend of (faux) positivity. The company will now emphasize “smoothness” and curves over restriction and thinness.
Via the New York Times:
...starting this month, each red box of Spanx promotes a dose of what the company says is feminist inspiration: “Don’t take yourself or the ‘rules’ too seriously,” reads a message card, inserted in a pack of high-waisted shaper shorts and signed by Spanx’s self-made billionaire founder, Sara Blakely. And on the back of the packaging: “Re-shape the way you get dressed, so you can shape the world!”
It’s an interesting tactic the company has taken, and one that’s certainly been successful for a number of brands who have found profit in soft-peddling feminism. And though the Times has written the story as though Spanx’s rebrand is a coup for body diversity, it’s not quite a case that they can sustain.
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