This week, talk at the agency has been all about the first ever Body Confidence Awards, which took place at the Houses of Parliament last month. Over the past few days, we’ve already praised award-winner Mark Fast for casting curvy catwalk models, and Boots for their ‘real beauty’ No7 campaign, but they weren’t the only ones acknowledged for promoting body confidence.
Up against nominees ASOS Curve, La Redoute and Vivien of Holloway, high-street retailer Debenhams was awarded the Body Confindence Retail Award.
Back in 2010, the bloggers at Talent Management praised Debenhams for helping change the way fashion views disability by including disabled model Shannon Murray in their latest campaign.
Alongside three other models, Shannon, who broke her neck in her teens and has been confined to a wheelchair ever since, modelled in a campaign that appeared online and in Debenhams’ stores promoting the ‘Principles’ collection by Ben de Lisi.
When disability campaigners Natasha Wood and Nikki Fox, both presenters of the groundbreaking fashion TV show ‘How To Look Good Naked’, approached Debenhams with the idea to include disabled models in their fashion shoots, they were delighted with the positive response from Deputy Chief Executive Michael Sharp.
“We cater for women of all shapes and sizes, young and old, non-disabled and disabled so we wanted our windows to reflect this choice,” he said. “When Nikki and Natasha approached us with the idea, we didn’t have to think twice. We are proud to be the first high street retailer to deliver this. We only wished we had done it sooner.”
With Sharp’s great approach to diversity, and the company’s ongoing Inclusivity Campaign that showcases inspirational and realistic imagery by using older, curvier and, in Murray’s case, visibly disabled models, it’s no wonder Debenhams won over some stiff competition.
Debenhams now say that they are committed to using disabled and plus-size models in the future, and Talent Management hopes that the retailer has not only started a trend towards a more inclusive approach to model choices, but has inspired modern day British women.