Nike unveiled a full re-design of its NikeTown London women’s floor on Wednesday, and one element is grabbing both consumers’ and critics’ attention.
For the first time ever in a retail store, Nike has added plus-sized and para-sport mannequins to the floor display.
The development has largely drawn accolades across social media, but a handful of vociferous critics, like the Telegraph’s Tanya Gold, have criticized the move.
On Sunday, Gold declared in her column that Nike’s promotion of larger sizes signals that “the war on obesity is lost.” The article drew significant backlash from consumers and brands alike, who praised Nike’s efforts to bring inclusive sizing to the mainstream.
While the mannequins are a new and highly visible statement, Nike extended its activewear range to include plus sizes in 2017. The brand began serving up extended sizes from 1X-3X, explaining in a statement at the time that athletes “have a desire to get the best fit and function in their apparel.”
In response to that desire, Nike said it would deliver a more “robust range of sizes for women in more colors and styles than ever before.”
The re-opening of NikeTown London’s women’s floor features these extended sizes, along with opportunities for apparel customization, the brand said in a release last week.
“To celebrate the diversity and inclusivity of sport, the space will not just celebrate local elite and grassroot athletes through visual content, but also show Nike plus-size and para-sport mannequins for the first time on a retail space,” the release said.
Sarah Hannah, Nike’s general manager and vice president for women in Europe added that the “incredible” momentum of the women’s sport category inspired the re-design, which is “just another demonstration of Nike’s commitment to inspiring and serving the female athlete.”
Inspired by Nike’s flagships in New York and Shanghai, NikeTown London features a gridded store layout and perks for NikePlus members, such as personal styling services.