Fashion may have a reputation for being a fickle business, but high street chain Sportsgirl’s latest manifesto is about much more than selling cute clothes.
Kicking off with a national campaign that launched today (August 6) its new Be That Girl tagline encourages young women to embrace their own unique identities on a daily basis. The message: there’s no such thing as perfection, so don’t conform to anyone’s expectations or pressure for you to do anything other than you.
To drive home the sentiment, none of the photographs in the campaign, which star 12 uniquely talented young women across a range of fields and backgrounds, have been retouched.
While ‘personal empowerment’ in youth marketing isn’t a new concept, many of the dozen faces of the campaign’s Chapter One certainly will be to most. What each has in common is a distinct sense of self and subsequent personal style.
Some are familiar – TV presenters Carissa Walford and DJ Flex Mami, for example, will be easily spotted by fans of their television work, as will influencers Cartia Mallan and Caitlyn Ryan to their digital followers.
Others have been making their mark in a far more low-fanfare way, such as indigenous activist Aretha Brown, transgender model Manahou Mackay, paralympic snowboarder Joany Badenhorst, artist Sophie Athas, scientist Rae Rodriguez, DJ Miranda Macpherson and model Kawani Prenter.
“Each, in their own way, represents everything Sportsgirl stands for – individuality, courage in your convictions, and bringing your unique talents and attributes to the world, to leave a better place than came before,” says the brand.
“Sportsgirl has always prided itself in supporting the next generation of Australian female talent,” adds CEO Colleen Callander. “Be That Girl is a way for us to revolutionize what we are already doing and empower our girls in an even bigger way. Be That Girl will shape how we approach everything we do from here.”
You can see all 12 campaign stars and the official video at the bottom of this article. In the meantime, and spirit of celebrating the bold young women who front this unretouched campaign, GRAZIA also asked three – Cartia Mallan, Flex Mami and Manahou Mackay – to describe how their choice in clothes helps them stay true to themselves.
Cartia Mallan: YouTube star and part of GRAZIA’s on-stage Expert Panel at the Mercedes-Benz Australian Weekend Edition 2018 following fashion week.
“Clothes help me feel connected to myself in a very strange way. It’s almost like saying ‘this is me, and I’m proud of it’. If I’m dressing in my funky super weird outfits I always feel so empowered and extra confident.
“My personal style is very reflective of my mood. Some days I’m feeling girly and some days I want to be super edgy and grunge. I think it’s just about being honest and authentic. I also love finding most of my clothes and unique pieces in vintage stores for this very reason.”
The tv presenter
LILLIAN AHENKAN (AKA FLEX MAMI): Popular hip hop and rap DJ, television presenter, radio host and writer.
“So much of how we move through the world, the opportunities we’re granted and the experiences we have are dictated by how we look and, more often than not, what we wear. It reminds me that I have a responsibility to dictate the narrative of who I am now and who I know I’m going to be.
“My personal style is the amalgamation of every powerhouse woman who’s inspired and empowered me to be my best self, both consciously and subconsciously. It’s taking dressing for the job you want to a whole new level. It might be a placebo, but it works wonders for me.”
MANAHOU MACKAY: model and transgender activist
“I think that what you wear even if it is somewhat a mindless decision, still projects an authentic version of who you are in any moment as that outfit is what your sub-conscience has chosen it feels most comfortable in. People enjoy authenticity, and as long as you are being open and honest with yourself about who you are, your sense of style will come organically.
“I would describe my style as eclectic. Some days I want to wear a flowy little sundress and braids and some days I want to be covered in PVC. It really depends how I’m feeling in the moment.”
SEE: THE CAMPAIGN TALENT COMPLIMENT
(1) Carissa Walford, digital presenter (2) Cartia Mallan, influencer (3) Sophia Athas, artist (4) Caitlyn Ryan, blogger (5) Manahou Mackay, transgender model (6) Aretha Brown, indigenous activist (7) Joany Badenhorst, paralympic snowboarder (8) Rae Rodriguez, scientist (9) Abbie Louise, gymnast (10) Flex Mami, DJ & TV presenter (11) Kawani Prenter, Model (12) Miranda Macpherson, DJ
WATCH: THE full CAMPAIGN VIDEO