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Keeping it Real...or not?

“Listen, 'real' women are the reason the fashion industry exists.”

Marc Jacobs


I came across this comment from Marc Jacobs, the American fashion designer, the other day which struck a chord for a couple of reasons. Firstly because ‘Real Women’ is something we at Hope have been keen to champion. And also because the term ‘real’ has prompted some debate from our customers as to what we mean by it!

Real women as opposed to what?...’

‘Women come in all shapes and sizes, just because you are a size 6, or 8 doesn't make you less of a "real woman".'


So what does this mean to me and why we have chosen to include ‘real’ in our imagery and social media?

Let me clarify one thing to start: in no way are we trying to exclude, ignore or disregard anyone as not real. We see everyone as real whether they’re on the catwalk or the dog walk!

measuring Product Developer Jaquine and Garment Technologist Jean measuring pieces from the collection

What Hope is trying to highlight is that fashion shouldn’t just be about numbers or  letters – the dreaded XL or XXL! – which is why we devised our own approach to sizing.

Most brands use ‘fit’ models in designing their garments with whom to fit or adjust their development samples e.g. a perfect size 12. How many perfect size 12 women do you know?!

At Hope, we use “us”, the team, to develop our samples into production garments and we go from age 24 to 61 in years with body shapes from small to tall and slim to curvy. So, if it doesn’t look good on us, then it doesn’t go in the collection!

hope-team The Hope Team modelling the foundation collection

Many of you also challenged the use of ‘tall skinny models’ in our Spring collection last year which is why we took the bull by the horns and photographed the recent Autumn Collection with friends and customers of the brand, including the Hope team. I’m delighted to say we have gone down this route again for the new Spring '17 collection.

I felt the tag ‘real’ was the best way to describe this.

img_5960-copyWhat I hope the ‘Real Women’ shoot achieves is to convey very clearly what Hope looks like on women of all shapes, sizes, heights and ethnicity and is a way to involve customers in our imagery, not just professional models.

In the words of Mary, a Hope customer who wrote to us recently:

“I love what you do with your website - it makes it so easy to see how to put looks together and I love seeing your clothes on real women of all different shapes, sizes and colouring, it's helpful and inspiring.”


In the spirit of keeping it real, we would love for you to share your photos wearing Hope and tell us how you feel when you wear Hope. Post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and use #MyHope. We will be gifting a £100 voucher each month for our favourite photo. We will announce our first winner on the 31st March on social media.

Please keep your feedback coming and let me know what you think, and of course, if you’d like to join us on the next shoot for the Autumn range keep an eye out for the invite on email or social media later in the year.




P.s. I heard this song by The Beautiful South on the radio last week and it made me smile, I hope it does the same for you x


hope-fashion-17th-jan-20172120 hope-fashion-17th-jan-20171788 hope-fashion-17th-jan-20170658 hope-fashion-17th-jan-20172392

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12 thoughts on “Keeping it Real...or not?”

  • I have not bought anything from your collection yet, but you are on my wish list! When I look at publicity photos and fashion shoots from so many companies, I feel dismayed. Not with your fabulous photos on your website! Your ladies look happy, natural, happy and yes, real! Looking at the photos potential buyers can relate to the models and also see how the clothes 'move'.

    • Morning Cath, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, I am delighted you think our 'models' look happy, natural and real. We always have such fun on shoot days, they bring together long time supporters of Hope along with relatively new customers who quickly become friends too. Lots of chatter, giggles and support for each other, just as it should be! Nayna X

  • I so love that you are using ladies that are not models. I look at outfits on a model and usually think that it will look as good on me, once putting the item on and thinking "mmmmm does not look as good as the photo on the model" but with your ladies you can see it will look good. Please carry on using these lovely ladies.. best wishes Mo

    • Mo, Thank You! This is exactly the reason we wanted to use 'real women', sometimes it's easy to make things look amazing on a tall, slim 'real' model. Feeling confident and comfortable is something I think we all aspire to, yet for many of us it can be really hard to know how, particularly as we get older. At Hope we try to take the mystique away, show it how it is, on beautifully confident women.
      Nayna X

  • Love the philosophy and blog. Thank you. However, since I found your gorgeous foundation wear too tight, I have embarked on a diet with Slimming World which I pray I will stick to. I did buy the Drape Dress, in black, long and large, with the adjustable strings but have no idea how to wear it and it remains in the box which is a terrible shame when I see how great your models look. Where do the strings go? Sorry to be so ignorant but I'd really appreciate it if you could give me some tips on this one. Thank you very much. B xx

    • Hi Brenda, firstly I have to apologise for not explaining how to wear that dress on the website, major error on our part! Given you have purchased from us I have your contact details so I will drop you an email and maybe we can arrange to FaceTime/Skype and I will happily demonstrate what to do with those strings! Thank you for your patience, Nayna X

  • Please can you tell me when you getting some more silk cacoon shirts.
    Thank you

    • Morning Trisha, I think you might be enquiring about the navy silk cocoon shirt?? If yes, we have some more coming in this week, if you've subscribed to be notified when they are back in stock you should get an email to let you know. I will drop you a line myself to be sure! Have a lovely Sunday, Nayna X

  • When are you bringing out Swimwear, the world needs proper fitting swimwear PLEASE, x,

    • Lyn, what a fabulous idea, definitely something for us to think about for next Summer. Thanks for the suggestion, Nayna X

  • Hi Nayna,
    I was so happy to read that someone had actually realised that there is a great gap in the clothing industry, where anyone over fifty is ignored.
    At my age 79 we are invisible to the industry .
    In my younger days I modelled for a hair dresser
    Most of my outfits were bought in Toronto where they do cater for mature people, but they are now ten years old .
    I am 79 have just got married and would like to feel I have one or two nice outfits to let my family know I'm not looking like a bag lady.
    I am 16-18. 5ft 8in . White hair. I would appreciate your imput.

    • Hello Marian, apologies it's taken a a little while to get back to you. I would love to chat to you about non 'bag lady outfits'! I will drop you an email tonight and maybe we can arrange a time to talk. Congratulations on your recent wedding by the way. Nayna X

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Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.

Coco Chanel