Meet the Australian athleisure brand committed to true representation and diversity

A diverse group of women pose in activewear

How often do you get excited by a brand's diversity on social media, only to go to their website and see products shot on only one shape and size of model?

We hear you and we've been there! This is why we were so delighted to hear that LükBook partner brand, Avila the Label, is now shooting their pieces on models of each and every size they make - that's 10 models in total!

LükBook CEO, Katrina Van De Ven, recently sat down down with Avila Founder and Designer, Ashleigh Bingham, to discuss the brand's commitment to diversity - and why shooting a broad range of models is so important to them.

Katrina: To start off with, tell us a little about Avila - including your 'why’ for starting the brand.

Ashleigh: Avila is a women’s contemporary lifestyle fashion label that produces luxury athleisure clothing designed for busy and active lifestyles. We pride ourselves on creating quality, comfortable, stylish, and sustainably considered clothing in a diverse range of sizes.

The idea for Avila began back when I was working in the fashion industry. I saw first-hand some of the ethical and environmental factors that negatively impacted the fashion industry, planet, and people, and I was determined to build a brand that had a positive impact on the people involved in creating our clothing and had a low environmental impact.

At the same time, I struggled to find clothing that fit my lifestyle. I wanted pieces that could take me from yoga class to the café while looking stylish and being comfortable throughout. That is when Avila was born. There was nothing that met the needs of my busy lifestyle that was stylish, sustainable, and ethically considered. We are proud that these factors are still at the core of Avila today.

Katrina: What made you decide to shoot your gorgeous range on models of every size (not just one 'straight size' and one 'plus size' model)?

Ashleigh: There are several reasons why we decided to shoot with models in every size. Firstly, representation is incredibly important to us. At Avila we really want women to feel valued and embrace their bodies. We believe that having models that represent different shapes and sizes can help to show women that their body is amazing, and that bodies come in all different shapes and sizes.

I personally know of a number of people close to me who have struggled with body image as well as many of our customers. We really want to change the way women talk about/to themselves about their body and we think the first step is showing women that their bodies are valuable no matter what size or shape.

Another reason is that we want to make it easier for our customers to shop online.  Seeing garments on someone with your body size and/ or shape helps you to see how an item may look on you and this really helps women pick what size they would like with more confidence.

Our bigger dream with this initiative is to set a new benchmark for all fashion brands. We hope that fashion offerings available across a wide range of sizes and shot on a diverse range of models soon becomes the norm and the minimum expectation. We believe that the value and impact of doing this far outweighs the extra work, effort and cost it means for fashion brands.

"We really want to change the way women talk about/to themselves about their body and we think the first step is showing women that their bodies are valuable no matter what size or shape."

Katrina: What has the response been from your customers?

Ashleigh: The response from our customers has been amazing! Customers have been really supportive and appreciative of what we have done. We have had feedback that it is so much easier to shop pieces when you can see it on someone your size but also on a range of body shapes. 

It is also novel for a lot of women to be able to view a whole collection with a model in their size.

Katrina: What would you say to brands (especially larger brands) who say this commitment to inclusivity and representation is too expensive and/ or difficult?

Ashleigh: I understand that it is difficult and expensive to show more representation however we believe it is honestly so important and the benefit out ways the extra costs and difficulties. It is so important to us that our customers feel valued and empowered and I think showing representation really shows that all sizes are equal.

This does require brands to put effort into not only their photoshoots and marketing campaigns but also the construction and fit of garments in all sizes to ensure that they are thoughtfully designed for each size and graded correctly. This is something that we really pride ourselves on here at Avila. We design our pieces for every size!

At the end of the day no brand is perfect, but we need to do what we can and continue to contribute to the solution of creating more diversity and representation in the industry.

"I understand that it is difficult and expensive (to shoot on a range of models) however we believe it is honestly so important and the benefit outweighs the extra costs and difficulties."

Like what you've read? Check out Avila's collection on LükBook.

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