Swimsuit shopping has become synonymous with hyper-photoshopped marketing that feels pretty distant from how wearing a bathing suit actually looks or feels, so we love seeing campaigns that are more realistic about what it's like to be bikini-clad. More often than not, we're clued into cool new brands and trends from social media, crowdsourcing our swim-season shopping from there. We've seen some brands embrace the value in this peer-to-peer connection by introducing inclusive hashtags to promote their new collections in ways that bring even more people into the fold — especially bodies that aren't usually represented in this type of imagery. Target's spring '17 swim range is bridging this gap even further with a photo series that feels like it was plucked straight from our 'gram feeds.
The Minnesota-based retailer centered its 2017 swim campaign on four women, both professional models and not, that each have a unique, body-positive approach to wearing a swimsuit. The portraits are unique to each of their own aesthetics and personalities, as are the swim styles on display — and, yes, you can shop them all at your local Target.
There's model Denise Bidot throwing us a peace sign while wearing an Xhilaration set; then, we see pro skateboarder Lizzie Armanto, hanging out in her cutout suit on a bed of flowers. Maybe there's #alittlebitoffilter, but not to the point where the subjects feel totally distant from someone you might follow on Instagram.
All of these images could've appeared just as seamlessly on Instagram — and, in many cases, the models did indeed share the campaign, as well as other similarly-styled candids wearing Target-brand swimsuits, on their feeds. Some scenarios that live exclusively on Instagram include TV host Kamie Crawford splashing around in a crochet Mossimo one-piece, and dancer/actress Megan Batoon setting some pretty high #vacationgoals in a strappy bikini by the same brand. Through some well-planned #sponcon, Target effectively brings in a social-first element into the fold of its campaign. (No coincidence, then, that the title of this collection is a hashtag, #TargetSwim.)
We've seen brands achieve incredible success (both critical and financial) through initiatives that commit to portraying bodies authentically and with little to no retouching. An obvious example is Aerie's #AerieReal; similarly, Target introduced its #NoFOMO campaign for swim season last year, which similarly put its emphasis on body positivity, and dispelled the outdated concept that there's only one type of "beach body." It's been a long journey for some of these retailers to get to this point — Target was called out for a pretty bad Photoshop fail on one of its junior's swim e-commerce images back in 2014, for example. But it's encouraging to see influential, large-scale companies make good on promises of inclusivity, both in terms of the products they stock and on the images they put out to promote their wares.
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