Exploring The Pillars of Positive Body Language

The Team

Posted on October 06 2016

Empowering women is core to the ethos of Rose & Willard. After all, the meaning of our name is Feminine & Bold. For our new AW16 collection launch and our campaign photoshoot, the subject was body language.

We decided on this after seeing how social media has led to a ubiquity of female imagery that, in our view, does not promote positive body image or self-confidence. As a brand that believes actions speak louder than words, we chose to promote a more assertive attitude.

Our response was to launch our new campaign depicting only bold, strong women as told through their body language. All have a solid centre of gravity and resolute posture. They look directly, mostly to camera, with their heads held high. There is no suggestion of slouching or ‘bringing the body in’, to make it small and thus submissive. These women comfortably take up space and make their presence felt. They exude self-possession.

One of the images shows a disabled model who sits proudly beside her crutch. We wanted her crutch in plain, prominent view. The crutch, and thus her disability, is not something to hide. It is a feature of her identity and part of what makes her who she is.

Our disabled model is also older than most models we see. Indeed our current campaign also features women of colour, an alternative model and a model health campaigner. We believe that the more we bring so-called difference into the mainstream, the more Rose & Willard will improve perceptions of the female form and women, in general.

It is our mission to interrupt the subliminal messages of passivity that women are more commonly exposed to by mainstream media. Our models proudly face the camera with a direct gaze full of intent and purpose. There is no place for whimsical staring into the middle distance. Posture is determined. Arms and hands are given purpose; they are not folded away. For example, fingers are often shown in the steeple position – a classic sign of confidence. To add, a boardroom is the setting – the traditional nucleus of corporate power.

Reaction to our campaign has revealed the lack of familiarity people have with seeing women this way. That is encouraging.

A Rose & Willard woman is Feminine & Bold woman. We will continue to celebrate her and demonstrate who she is through the images of those who model our professional officewear.

At R&W’s recent ‘Confidence Tricks’ event, an audience member asked brand founder, Heidy Rehman, how she found the confidence to leave the corporate world and start her own womenswear label. As she was transitioning to her new career, the first boss she had in the City said to her, “Don’t be afraid of change”. Such words are just as applicable to the new type of imagery Rose & Willard wants to see of women.

Click here to watch Amy Cuddy’s popular TED talk on body language



Feminine & Bold