This week, Nike London opened its revamped women’s floor which features plus-sized mannequins—a first for its overseas retail stores—and the brand’s latest step in a continued push for equality. Clad in sports bras and leggings, the displays are being applauded for sending a body-positive message.
“At Nike, our mission is to serve all athletes and we continually evolve how we display product across our platforms to reflect the diverse consumers we serve every day,” a Nike spokesperson told Complex.
The brand elaborated in a press release. “To celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of sport, the space will not just celebrate local elite and grassroot athletes through visual content, but also show Nike plus size and para-sport mannequins for the first time on a retail space. The brand says the plus size mannequins were first introduced in select North American stores last year before making their London debut this week,” Nike said.
However, not everyone is pleased with the push for inclusivity. A recent editorial from the UK’s The Telegraph lashed out at Nike over its plus-sized mannequins, calling them a “dangerous lie”—and the internet let the writer have it.
“She is immense, gargantuan, vast,” author Tanya Gold wrote of the displays and the women who she perceives might wear the clothing. “She heaves with fat. She is, in every measure, obese, and she is not readying herself for a run in her shiny Nike gear. She cannot run. She is, more likely, pre-diabetic and on her way to a hip replacement.”
Almost right away, Gold’s words were met with backlash, with several readers and other outlets pointing out the error in her ways. Not only did social media users respond in droves, but The Telegraph itself published a counter-piece just days later.
In the rebuttal, writer Rebecca Reid makes a strong case for the extended size clothing, explaining that proper workout clothes can go a long way in motivating someone to get active. Reid says others, including personal trainer Miranda Larbi, have echoed her sentiments. “You feel extra good when you’re in quality, flattering kit,” Larbi said.