Fashion shows have never been beacons of inclusivity, but DSW changed that this week with its first Runway Redone event in New York that celebrated the incredible individuality of its consumers.
"Our company mission is about inspiring self expression and we wanted to bring that to life," said Amy Stevenson, CMO of the footwear retailer.
The event featured 10 women of all ages, ethnicities, gender identities, abilities, cultures and more, who were selected from more than 4,000 customer submissions, as well as five style influencers and five DSW associates. The models will all be included in the brand’s fall marketing campaign assets.
Stevenson, who has been leading marketing at DSW for four years, said the company’s culture has always been focused on inclusivity, but it "probably hadn’t brought it to light as much as we wanted to" in the past.
To help bring the show to life, the models were dressed by celebrity stylist Samantha Brown and prepped for the event with a day of expert-led workshops around the importance of self-expression and individuality. Sports Illustrated model and activist Hunter McGrady hosted the fashion show, which was created in partnership with 360i, DSW’s advertising and PR agency. Female powerhouse platform Create & Cultivate worked on production and curation of the casting call and fashion show for DSW.
One of the goals, Stevenson said, is to help other fashion brands rethink their runways going forward to make them more inclusive.
She added that DSW has several other exciting plans throughout the rest of 2019 and 2020 to keep celebrating inclusion and self expression.
The brand will also lean more into its philanthropic platform DSW Gives in partnership with Be Strong. Next month, Stevenson teased out that DSW will launch a few fun activations around "kindness moments."