Creating a Dialogue on Women, Confidence and Power
Posted on September 26 2016
This post marks the first instalment in our Body Language blog series where we share insights into the inspirations behind our business.
The launch of Rose & Willard’s latest collection brought with it a prime opportunity to use the brand’s profile as a force for good. At the Confidence Tricks event and AW16 collection preview held earlier this month, brand founder Heidy Rehman talked about the role of models, body language and fashion with regards to how women are viewed in wider society.
Rose & Willard is an ambitious brand that aims to connect with a highly educated customer base on a cerebral level. The design and fit of its clothing drives to empower every wearer and encourage women to be confident in themselves. When taking a look at images of women in current advertising campaigns, there would appear to be quite a battle ahead.
It seems that the body language adopted by female models show them largely as the following – passive, sexually suggestive or intellectually vacant. There is a stark lack of positive imagery and little that represents the intellect or strength of women. This is in contrast to the imagery we see of men who are depicted as strong, powerful and facing the world head on.
People relate to and identify with those of their own gender. They also mimic. During the AW16 editorial photo shoot for Rose & Willard’s new collection, the models struggled to adopt the positive body language required and would readily slip back into their more submissive, learned poses. Rose & Willard’s MD stated how frequently she needed to say “chin up”, “don’t pout”, “close your mouth” during the shoot. When the models were asked where they had learnt to pose their response was, “No one taught me.” This then underlines the extent to which people mimic as well as the strength of the subliminal messages we receive from advertising imagery.
It is no wonder, therefore, that so many women experience ‘Imposter Syndrome’ – a belief of being unworthy and that this will be exposed.
Rose & Willard’s aim is to help dispel this myth. The team is committed to showing images of women expressing only positive body language and via a diverse range of models – plus size, disabled, of colour, older, alternative and model health campaigner, Rosie Nelson.
The task has not been easy to execute. During the search for plus-size models, one agency sent over images of women who were no larger than a UK size 10. Rose & Willard’s request for older models was met with a portfolio of women all aged under 30 years old.
Rose & Willard acknowledges that positive body language will not readily be adopted by most female models as such stances have long been considered masculine. However, the company hopes that as more positive images of women emerge then the interpretation of positive body language will eventually be considered gender neutral, putting men and women on the equal footing each deserves.
More next week…
Next week’s blog post will take a look behind the scenes of one of our shoots with our diverse selection of models.