ALDA Women: Revolutionizing our Relationship with the Mirror
The fashion industry and traditional beauty standards are shifting, and the women who formed the organization ALDA Women are bringing the fashion and modeling industry into 2015 and into today’s reality of diverse women and body types — and it’s AMAZING. ALDA means “wave” in Icelandic, which is exactly what they’re creating, and lots of ’em. ALDA is a coalition of models, a group of women aiming to represent beauty overall – without divisions, boundaries and most of all – IN ALL SIZES. It’s led by Ashley Graham, joined by Danielle Redman, Inga Eiriksdottir, Julie Henderson, and Marquita Pring.
A few of their go-to taglines include #beautybeyondsize, #loveyourbody, #sexystateofmind #curvesarein, #lovetheskinyourein and #curvyfitclub. How awesome are those? ALDA inspires women by not only being kick-ass supermodels and covergirls all over the world, but also celebrating and recognizing that every woman deserves to feel beautiful. Not just the thin, tall models we’re used to seeing in magazines and on the runway, but everyone. They go to schools to speak to young women, they’ve even been asked to speak on a panel at the UN. They are just getting started, and there is definitely a long way to go before #beautybeyondsize is a universally accepted notion.
ALDA had asked women to show (via Instagram) and explain what makes them feel most beautiful, confident & sexy. Their Insta account @aldawomen has been featuring these women throughout the month of December, using the hashtag #whatmakesyoubeautiful (take a scroll) and each story is so inspiring and relatable. A couple of my favorites were:
“I feel most confident after a long workout, and sexy after a long laugh with good people. I have always struggled with seeing #BeautyBeyondSize in myself but am learning to love myself more and more each day. Confidence is SEXY, perfection isn’t.” -@_stefanibrooke
“I absolutely LOVE the beach…the views, the water, the sound.. It makes me feel so blessed to be apart of this amazing thing called life. I am reminded there is always more to dream, love & give in the sand… It fills me up <3” -@preciouslee
The women of ALDA also visited an all-girls weight-loss camp this past summer, Camp Pocono Trails. They spent a week there talking to girls, ages 7-20, about body image and confidence. How cool is that? Speaking for myself, and probably most of you as well, this was when I was at my LEAST confident. Especially in an environment where so much of your focus is on weight loss, it’s so so important to have role models to remind young girls that weight ISN’T and should never be everything. The ladies of ALDA did just that, and inspired these girls who were undoubtedly struggling with their confidence and have an impact that will stick and shape them for years to come.
Net-a-porter also features a story, both on their homepage and in their magazine The Edit, on Ashley Graham, titled “Beauty Beyond Size.” My favorite quote by Ashley, and also what I try to use as a life rule, is: “It doesn’t MATTER if you’re a SIZE 2 or a 22; you can be healthy as long as you’re taking CARE of your body.” They also feature a 6 minute “Curvy Fit Club” workout video with Ashley Graham, where she shares some of her secrets to strengthen and tone, while still keeping (and enhancing!) your curves.
If a feature in Net-a-porter, the world’s leading luxury fashion destination, isn’t enough recognition, then I’ll raise you FOUR ALDA models/founders in the running for spreads in the 2015 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition — Ashley Graham, Inga Eiriksdottir, Julie Henderson & Marquita Pring. Feel free to check out Julie’s fun SI casting call here.
You’ll notice there isn’t mention of the term plus-size in this write-up. That’s because ALDA is about blurring, and eventually eliminating, the line between “straight size” and “plus size.” The point is breaking out of these boxes that society and the fashion world has set forth, and putting women of all sizes on the same playing field. Imagine a world where stylish clothing is made for everyone, and sample sizes are based on real women, as opposed to real women being judged for fitting into the sample size.
Not only are these powerful, badass women KILLING IT in their modeling careers, but they realize what a huge deal their success really is, and are using that to shatter and reshape our definition of beauty. It’s so much bigger than the fashion industry, or an ELLE cover. ALDA is just beginning to genuinely change the way girls and women view themselves, in all the right ways. And I can’t wait to see what they have in store next.
Do yourself a favor and give these women a follow on IG:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: KYLIE BRENNAN
As a woman in digital advertising who has traveled from Boston to Chicago now back to Boston for my career, I am passionate about inspiring women & innovation while challenging myself in the meantime. I graduated with my BSBA in Marketing from Boston University’s School of Management, and went on to build my career in advertising, and take on life’s adventures with my loyal sidekick Remy, the Cockapoo.
Read More about and from the author: Kylie’s WiLab Profile