As body positivity continues to dominate the mainstream, fashion brand Missguided has fast become an industry leader in inclusive campaigns over the last year. In the latest instalment of the #KeepOnBeingYou campaign, the brand has turned its focus to skin, urging everyone to embrace their supposed “flaws”, in a series of #InYourOwnSkin ads.
Missguided hopes to subvert what is considered “normal” skin and tackle the sidelining of certain skin types within mainstream advertisements. To do this, it has enlisted six models with six different skin types, ranging from albinism to scars to birthmarks, aiming to “inspire babes around the world to love themselves, for themselves”.
One of the models, Isabella, suffered severe burns all over her body, when her shirt was caught in a house fire two years ago, when she was 17. She speaks about the importance of different skin types being integrated into mainstream advertising as “business as usual”, not just as part of one-off campaigns.
“I think having shoots that are specifically based on scars or difference or body positivity is really great and a really good start,” she told Missguided. “But, ultimately, the goal is to have a mixture of women in the same space, so women with a disability or disfigurement are also considered normal."
Polly Ellens has freckles that she says she has 'learnt to love' and, finally, there is Joanne Dion, a plus-size model with albinism
Beth Brice, who has psoriasis, was cast off the street when the brand spotted her in Manchester – the campaign is her first modelling job. "Growing up, I always wanted to change it and thought about trying to figure out what I could do to change it. I’ve realised it’s about accepting it," she said.
Another of the women, Maya, has the rare condition epidermolysis bullosa, which affects 5,000 people in the UK and just 500,000 people worldwide. Mariana Mendes, a 24-year-old Brazilian model and fashion designer, was born with a large birthmark in the centre of her face. Polly Ellens has freckles that she says she has “learnt to love” and, finally, there is Joanne Dion, a plus-size model with albinism, who works to raise awareness of the disorder.
The brand has previously championed diversity, launching a completely unretouched campaign called "Make Your Mark”, which cast eight body-positive activists as models. It also recently unveiled ethnically diverse mannequins in-store that had stretch marks, freckles and vitiligo. It has been lauded in the past for not using Photoshop in swimwear campaigns.
Despite all of its good work, Missguided hasn’t been without criticism – the brand doesn’t stock clothing beyond a size 16 and many were critical that the diverse mannequins they used were still all one body type: tall and slim. But the brand appears to be doing more than most when it comes to incorporating inclusion as “the new normal”.