Body image and the shopping revolution, two topics close to our heart at Looker – and a name for our band if we ever decide to branch out.
This month we brought together a panel of women, each with different perspectives, to discuss their thoughts on what consumers want, how they feel and what the fashion marketplace really looks like today.
- Aj Odudu – TV presenter
- Lottie Lamour – Blogger and body activist
- Liz Cardwell – Stylist
- Roxanne Nejad – Looker Co-founder
- Lauren Smeets (Curvy Roamer) – Blogger and early adopter of the Looker app
- Nicola Hughes – Reality TV Star (Made in Chelsea)
- Arieta Mujay – Digital influencer and creative consultant
What became clear very quickly is that at one time or another of these women had felt social pressure to look or present themselves in a certain way.
It’s undeniable that we are part of a generation faced with media at every turn. Even if you aren’t an avid reader of glossy mags – where the perfectly airbrushed people look incredible holding $5,000 handbags – you’ll certainly have been stood next to that same advert waiting for the bus or scrolled down your timeline on any social media channel, only to be faced with beautifully shot images of someones seemingly perfect life. Maybe their even holding that same bag.
Whether we know it or not, this kind of content is can set a benchmark in our minds for what we should look like and what we need to achieve in order to be happy.
There is always going to be a place for these adverts. Just like there is always going to be a place for beautifully shot social media content, but what became evident throughout the panel discussion is that there’s also a clear gap in the market for the counter-argument, and a balance of reality needs to be struck.
Studies conducted on behalf of Be Real, the campaign for body confidence, have shown that children as young as five years old are now concerned about the way they look. The UK population is incredibly diverse, there are hundreds of skin tones, body shapes, sizes, abilities but only a small percentage of these are represented. So, if children can’t see representations of women who look like them, or look like their mothers, sisters, aunties, and friends it’s easy to see why they are feeling pressurised to change.
How are women of any age meant to feel about themselves if they don’t match up to the images they see?
Brands are taking steps in the right direction. ASOS, opting not to photoshop out any stretch marks on their models. ZARA, styling female models in the ‘Mens’ range on their New In pages. Monki, showcasing minimal retouching on unconventional models with beautiful, natural results. Glossier’s Body Hero campaign, using 5 nude women different body types each from very different backgrounds – reinforcing their point that anyone can have glowing, smooth skin.
It’s a start.
What was great to hear from the panel was that they saw the Looker app as being part of the solution and helping to restore the balance of reality. By not allowing comments or likes, there’s less pressure to pose or filter their images – which is a “breath of fresh air”. The Looker app is providing a platform for a burgeoning community of stylish women who may or may not have felt comfortable sharing images of their style before. There’s no pressure to look a certain way, and there is always someone who is going to feel inspired by what you’ve shared – either because they love the look or because they are finally seeing someone who’s similar to them being represented.
What was agreed upon is that people want more authenticity. Reality is the next frontier for shopping, and this is a change that is currently being driven by the consumer. Often women of this generation are inspired by their circle of friends, of the likeminded people they’ve found on Instagram – be they bloggers, influencers, celebrities or just someone who’s got great taste that they discovered by accident. Looker encompasses all of that, allowing you to easily discover people whose style will inspire your own.
Everyone is different, and those differences should be represented and celebrated.