REI sets a new standard for all-round fashion for the outdoors
REI is taking a strong stance on inclusion in outdoor spaces, the way other retailers serving large-scale markets should take note! In the most recent Product Impact Standards update for 2023, REI is building on existing cooperative standards, “while raising expectations in three key areas: combating climate change, promoting outdoor inclusion, and managing chemicals.”
Have you caught that yet? REI has set a new standard in how its retail partners, whose brands are sold in REI stores and websites, serve and address large-scale markets – including represent and inclusion for people of color!
“REI hopes to set an industry standard to eliminate discrimination, while expanding access to outdoor activities.”
The 2023 Product Impact Standard is one of the first of its kind in retail! This announcement marks the third evolution of the standards, which is first announced in 2018 And 2020 update.
Retailers who have realized that the outdoors and industry exists to support their discovery, is “full of barriers, prejudices and inequality.” With this recognition, they recognize that outdoor gear and clothing do not consider, recognize, or include oversized consumers. Set to change this, these updated standards are part of REI’s commitment to creating “a more inclusive and equitable industry.”
As we challenged and called for inclusion, representation, and action for the plus size fashion community, there was a need to stand firm and change. But who is responsible? REI owns that and holds its brands accountable for addressing this market.
“Standards hold our co-op and over 1,000 brand partners accountable as we address the issues that matter most to our communities,” said Chris Speyer, VP of Product. “The products we carry represent our greatest opportunities to support better ways of doing business. We want our members and customers to know that the products they buy at REI are helping to build a better retail industry.”
Since we appealed to brands to include more plus-size models, model agencies then had to put more plus-size models on their boards. In this case, the retailer is calling for increased fairness in outdoor spaces and challenging the brands it works with to strengthen, with concrete and actionable steps.
Not only that, but these include sustainability standards that brands must adhere to, including setting science-based emissions targets!
So what do these REI’s New Product Impact Standards cover?
These Product Impact Standards include:
- Fair pricing across size ranges and sizes included
- Offers a package for a variety of hair types
- The color scheme includes a full range of “nude” shades
- It is forbidden to copy stereotypical or negative products
- Eliminate cultural appropriation
- Marketing assets ensure diverse and comprehensive representation
Impressive isn’t it?
“The REI Product Impact Standard demonstrates our collective strength in driving change in our industry and society as we work towards a more equitable and sustainable future.” Speyer said.
As we have recently featured and highlighted many large outdoor community, this news is interesting to hear and watch. For those who like to go (or curious about) hiking, climbing, backpacking, skiing, or any other outdoor activity, it’s very welcome to know that there is a retailer that is offering a strong inclusive stance.
You can view the full 2023 Product Impact Standard at REI.com!
We’re here for the way REI holds its partners accountable with these new expectations that promote equity for outdoor gear and apparel. Now, can we see other retailers outside of this vertical adopting the same standards?
We’d love to see additional national retailers like convenient store and big-box retailers apply similar standards to really impact change for the plus-size community.
Accessibility to clothing – both fashion and function should be the basics, not the exception. For the brand to take this stance, speaks volumes about the brand and is committed to supporting and advocating diversity and inclusion in this space.
What do you think? Are you as excited as we are? Which retailers would you like to adopt these types of standards? Could this be the start of a new normal?
Let us know what you think in the comments section below…