Aussie swimwear brand Lahana Swim has stuck by its latest bikini campaign after people on the internet called the brand out for a lack of diversity.
The campaign, released earlier this week, features a series of women who are all young, white, and wearing black bikinis. The women were not picked via a modelling agency – they were the women who responded to a “local callout” put forward by Lahana Swim.
The Australian swimwear retailer faced a backlash for the shoot, with one person saying, “only thin Caucasian women showed up to this because the brand is marketing to a certain demographic.”
“WTF is this, WHERE is the representation? How tone-deaf can you be to post this, let alone with the caption ‘real bodies’? This is embarrassing,” someone else said.
In recent years, bikini and swimwear brands have been under scrutiny for diversity. Earlier this year, Seafolly got mixed reviews after featuring a non-binary activist in an ad.
Despite the criticism, Lahana Swim held its own and stood by its campaign.
In a comment on its Instagram page, the brand said: “we are briefly going to address the comments on our most recent post”.
It went on to say – “these are ‘real bodies’ / because they are bodies lived and inhabited by their powerful owners”.
“This was a local call out’ – which means these girls choose to participate. Yes we would of loved to have more shapes and skin tones, but these are the beautiful, strong girls who decided to show up and participate on the day. We are so grateful for them and the energy they bought to the shoot.”
“These girls are customers/community, they are sisters, friends, La loyal girls, they came on there own merit. They are not models, but came to model regardless”.
Whilst acknowledging they can do better they said this piece was about community.
“Please be aware that we can always do better and we are aware of this. This was simply about community, solidarity, about showing power in your body. We love and adore this shoot and can feel the power from the women. We hope you can see and feel the intention too.”
Many customers and fans stood in solidarity with Lahana with one commenting “it’s so hard to please everyone, you can’t have a generic manufactured version of diversity all of the time bc its simply not the reality.”
Another said: “everyone, get over yourselves not every single post made by this company needs to cater for EVERY single body shape or colour are you kidding me, it’s not easy to have every colour and every body shape readily available for photos”.