Beyoncé’s activewear label, IVY PARK, in collaboration with Adidas, has recently released a vibrant, gender-neutral streetwear line, with Queen Bey herself modelling the much sought-after apparel to promote her brand.
The collection barely made its debut before selling out within minutes in-store and online, leaving many fans impatiently awaiting a restock. It seems the whole world wanted to get their hands on Beyoncé’s latest creation, and the singer made sure to extend the courtesy to her famous friends (Reese Witherspoon, Janelle Monáe and Cardi B, to name a few) who in turn flaunted the collection on social media.
“a dream come true” – would be far from the truth.
But to say that the collection is, using Beyoncé’s own words – “a dream come true” – would be far from the truth. The truth is that Adidas x IVY PARK does not live up to the powerful image of individuality and freedom that it tries to promote.
As I browsed through the collection online, I was disappointed to see that a lot of the items were clearly gendered, and not, indeed, as gender-neutral as I was expecting them to be. Clothes unmarked by gender are displayed by both Beyoncé and a male model, but those intended specifically for women are modelled by the singer alone, perpetuating the idea that there are only two opposing forms of gender, and thus excluding non-binary people, or those that simply anticipated a wider range of gender-neutral attire.
But this is not the only issue. The sizing system, ranging from XS (UK size 4-6) to XL (UK size 20-22), also excludes plus-sized women, despite the fact that Adidas already produces plus-size clothing for its brand. This, again, completely contradicts Beyoncé’s bold assertions regarding inclusivity.
The singer has previously stated that she wants the collection to “serve as favourite armour for anyone who acknowledges the strength in their individual style and lives freely and boldly”, and yet “anyone” clearly does not include everyone. Ironically, the “armour” that Beyoncé is so proud of creates conflict instead of eliminating it.
The concepts of individuality and freedom feed into this issue. How can one feel empowered, when the collection – which was designed to encourage people to find the “strength in their individual style”, and live “freely” – places a limitation on size, and promotes the unhealthy idea that one body is better than another? Where is the body positivity, and the freedom that Beyoncé is talking about? As it turns out, comparing Beyoncé’s new collection to a Sainsbury’s uniform isn’t the very worst we could say about it.
Last modified: 14th February 2020