|(left to right) Melinda Alexander, Neidy O’Connor, Lornalitz Baez, Krista Hart and Pia Schiavo-Campo
I mean…come on! A swimwear line with enough respect for women and belief in their product to actually do this is unheard of. When I found out the a couple of my friends were taking part in this project (see the two beauties flanking each end?) I was super excited, but when I actually saw these images I just about cried. Sorella Swim is officially the shit. THIS is the body positive/size acceptance activists dream. Women of different sizes, ages, ethnicities all simultaneously represented with elegance and joy…honestly, I am still reeling a bit. And I don’t think we even need to talk about what an amazing testament this is to their product, either. Honestly, doesn’t that suit look amazing on each of their perfectly different bodies? I knew right away, I was going to want to share this with you guys and luckily for us, the people at Sorella are so super nice they quickly agreed to answering a few questions for me.
The following responses are from Designer Jessica Petersen
Zaftig: How did the idea for Sisters of All Sizes come about?
I have always wanted to do the Sisters of All Sizes campaign! Since the day I started this business I have always believed and have made it my goal to offer women, all women, of all shapes and all sizes the same quality fashion. With this campaign I can actually show women that all different body types can wear fashionable, quality swimwear and look fabulous too!
Zaftig: What has the response been like so far?
The response to the Sisters of All Sizes campaign has been phenomenal! So many women are happy to see realistic women represented. I have noticed our customers starting to feel closer to the brand and have faith that they can look great too because these women look like they do.
Do you plan to continue using models in a variety of sizes going forward? Would you use them on the runway, as well?
I do believe in using models in various sizes for different events. At this time Sorella Swim does not do that much on the runway, but I can definitely picture it in the future!
Zaftig: I’ve seen the #noretouch hashtag on the images; was that part of the plan?
This was not originally something we planned on or even really discussed as a team. However, when we started to go through the imagery we saw that we really didn’t need to do much to these photos. The women were stunning as is and represented accurately. The whole point of the campaign was to show natural women and how they can look comfortable and fabulous in Sorella Swim. At this point some of our initial photos have been released with no retouching.
Zaftig: Who are these beautiful women?
Most of the women we chose for this campaign are not experienced or trained models. We wanted to represent real women as much as possible. From left to right you have Melinda Alexander, Neidy O’Connor, Lornalitz Baez, Krista Hart and Pia Schiavo-Campo.
As I mentioned, a couple of my friends were part of this campaign and I am so thrilled! Here’s a link to Pia’s blog post about the experience. She’s the gorgeous one on the far right.
“I stopped doing plus size modeling because the standards of beauty, though slightly curvier, were still reinforcing a distorted sense of self for women and consumers. Sorella’s Sisters in All Sizes campaign was the anti-thesis of this—with REAL curvy bodies, in varied sizes and dimensions, and even with some non-models—it was directly in line with the work I do as a stylist in helping women love their bodies where they are RIGHT NOW—not in “20 more pounds” or “if my stomach was that flat.” I have been a huge fan of the swimwear for a long time and was more than willing to lift my modeling ban to support such a monumental campaign with a very timely message about diversity within the curvy community. As a stylist I wanted to keep the distractions minimal, but also make the models feel their sexiest. The gold heels and delicate gold jewelry was all that was needed to give them a sexy feminine feel while keeping the focus on the swimsuits and beautiful curves.”
And photographer / super awesome fella’ Michael Anthony Hermogeno / 8×10 Proofs is quoted here: “It is so great to see the overwhelming response in sharing, liking, and commenting on this project. In traditional photography practice, campaign images would curves, rolls, and hair photo-shopped. Blemishes, body proportions, and any other anomalies would be retouched. Varying body types, poses, and the shooting angle of the photographer can cumulatively impact the photos, hence the purpose of retouching. In this initial set of photos, we purposely chose to unveil this campaign without anything retouched to show how great these ladies look without the fixes. Nobody is perfect; Even some of the hottest men and women in the industry can be dissected.”
I think that about sums it up. This is a turning point. This is what we have been screaming about from the rooftoops. This is an organization taking a leap of faith with the best of intentions in their collective heart. This is a company I will be happy to spend my money with, because they just get it. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate that and then start doing our happiest of happy dances that the times, they are a-changing!