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Betabrand’s Clothing Shows Off These Women’s PhDs
By: Jennifer Graber
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Each day millions of women, young and old, peruse fashion publications and websites. And when they do, honestly, it can be challenging to find positive images and people to look up to. Often the models portray an impossible standard for the "normal" woman. Photo editing is so commonplace in the fashion industry that the line between reality and pictures can be quite blurred. And these standards that basically demand those photo edits can often result in a "wtf" failure that can have a detrimental impact. Remember Target’s completely unrealistic thigh gap in a junior’s swimsuit web ad? It was obviously a mistake, but there is more than likely someone out there wondering how to achieve it.
Fashion brands tend to value beauty above all else, forgetting that brains play a pivotal role in the development of a woman’s life. And not just brains, but other personality quirks and traits as well are crucial in female development. One clothing brand is seeking to change the face of fashion with its models for its new spring collection — Betabrand. Betabrand is “an online clothing community” based in San Francisco. The clothing brand is crowdfunded by fans and consumers. According to Betabrand's website the company’s process is to “design, manufacture, and release new products nonstop." Fans and consumers also “co-design” pieces for the brand.
When Betabrand was getting ready to market its latest spring collection, it put out a casting call for women. But this casting call would be a little different than the rest. The clothing brand asked women to apply who have already received or were currently working towards their PhDs. The brand’s co-founder Chris Lindland said, regarding this tactic, “Our designers cooked up a collection of smart fashions for spring, so why not display them on the bodies of women with really big brains?”
Betabrand’s campaign sprung to life via online and social media requests. Approximately 60 women, from around the globe, responded. The models were then photographed in Betabrand’s clothing pieces in real, everyday poses. And the response has been wonderful thus far. The brand has said it has even received requests for focuses on other professions and degrees, such as MBAs, lawyers, and doctors. How phenomenal it is to have a segment of women represented in an industry that typically does not do so? Hopefully other brands will see Betabrand’s move as a source of inspiration for future marketing.
There is nothing wrong with valuing beauty. There is also nothing wrong with valuing brains, either. The problem is that brands tend to teeter more towards one side, which causes women and young girls to chase the unattainable. It is okay to be beautiful, smart, quirky, different, funny, nerdy, or any combination of traits. Fashion brands, or all brands, really, should seek to represent a wide variety of women. Women across the world are not all the same — they are incredibly diverse. That diversity needs to be well represented. And how boring would it be if they were actually the same, cookie-cutter molds of one another? Brands need to let women know it is okay to be themselves—whatever that may be.


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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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