By Gina Florio (Originally published on HelloGiggles.com)
The vast majority of advertisements in the fitness world, whether they’re for athleisure brands or nationwide gyms, tend to feature one type of body, and it’s a figure that most of us don’t identify with. Because while fitness and yoga models tend to be tall, lean, crazy flexible, and fair-skinned, the average everyday woman simply doesn’t look like that.
Thankfully, we’ve seen the rise of powerful women like Serena Williams, Ashley Graham, and Misty Copeland, all of whom are pioneers in the fight for inclusivity in media and on social media. But while they’re making big strides, we still have a long way to go.
There are some business owners and wellness enthusiasts out there who understand this issue and are passionate about making room for women of all shapes and sizes to be seen. They may not be as famous as women like Serena Williams, but their work is just as important.
HelloGiggles spoke with Kristine Deer, owner and founder of popular activewear brand K-DEER, who has been promoting diversity on all K-DEER platforms before it was even a mainstream thing to do. If you take one look at the K-DEER Instagram, for example, you’ll find a whole lot of women who look real. They’re different ages and shapes and sizes, and it’s refreshing.
K-DEER first gained momentum when hot yoga lovers couldn’t stop talking about their stunning and totally durable leggings and shorts. They’ve since expanded to include a wide range of gorgeous, comfortable activewear that appeals to all kinds of fitness.
In celebration of International Day of Yoga on June 21, we listened to what Deer has to say about inviting all women to practice yoga.
“Very early on in the rise of yoga popularity, there was a lack of diversity that alienated people from connecting to yoga and other forms of spirituality and fitness,” Deer recalls.
Last year it was estimated that 36.7 million Americans practiced yoga regularly, a jump up from 20 million in 2012. However, it was marketed from the very beginning as a physical activity that catered mainly to white women of a certain demographic, making it very inaccessible to women of color, single moms, fat women, LGBTQ individuals, disabled individuals, etc.
There has been more awareness raised around this, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has caught up to actually doing something about it.
However, Deer considers K-DEER to be a “mission based company with strong values and a dedication to social responsibility,” so it was a priority from the very start to create a space where all bodies were represented.
The company’s Instagram posts feature women who look like the very people you do yoga with or workout next to at the gym. They’re healthy women who are positively glowing — and you feel like you could be friends with them.
“By showing our yoga centric apparel on women of all sizes and ethnicities, we can spread the message that yoga is for every BODY, every COLOR, and every WOMAN,” Deer tells HG.
The diversity and inclusivity in K-DEER’s campaign isn’t meant to be just aspirational. It’s meant to be a more accurate representation of yoga communities around the country, challenging misconceptions about the yoga world and encouraging studios to welcome people from all backgrounds.
The bright, bold patterns K-DEER is best known for have actually served as a way for women from varying places to connect with one another. “It’s hard to miss our leggings in a yoga class and we get hundreds of stories of total strangers showing up in K-DEER and becoming friends,” Deer says. “We like to call this phenomena the #stripesquad effect.”
Um, sign us up for the #stripesquad, please.
Five percent of the proceeds from K-DEER’s signature stripes is donated to charity, so you can participate in a cause that lends a helping hand to people across the globe.
“Instagram is not only a place to showcase our product, but a platform to spark a conversation that’s greater then ourselves,” says Deer.
It’s certainly a conversation that everyone should participate in, whether you’re a yogi, a gym rat, or someone who gets their exercise in by dancing when nobody is home.
K-DEER is leading the way in diverse fitness campaigns, showing that every single body deserves to be decked out. Let’s hope other brands catch on, because the more inclusive we are, the healthier our world will be.
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