Jack Duckett
Jack Duckett is an Associate Director for Consumer Lifestyles Research. He specialises in reports exploring the attitudes and behaviours of different demographic groups.

Fashion experimentation and a desire to stand out have long been considered a hallmark of youth. In recent years there has been an increasing focus on themes of individualism and self-acceptance in popular culture. This goes from celebrities like Chrissy Teigen proudly showing their stretch marks on social media, to singers like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé penning songs that encourage listeners to embrace what makes them different.

Fashion retailer boohoo has embraced this idea in its latest campaign #DoYourThing, which encourages customers to be themselves in every aspect of their lives.

Sophie Brennan, Content Marketing Assistant at boohoo, spoke to Mintel about the campaign.

Credit: boohoo

Jack Duckett, Senior Consumer Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel (JD): What’s the idea behind the #DoYourThing campaign and how does self-love play into it?

Sophie Brennan (SB): “boohoo’s #DoYourThing campaign started as a way to connect with our customers – the social generation – to inspire them to love themselves for who they are. This has opened up opportunities to focus on different aspects of the message, from encouraging people to live by their own rules to making bolder style choices. An example is our latest micro-campaign celebrating the importance of self-love. With ‘Self-Love Isn’t Selfish’, we want to use our powerful position on social media to spread a positive message of self-love and remind our young audience that there’s nothing selfish about it. Earlier this week, World Mental Health Day has shed a light on the importance of looking after our mental wellbeing. Meanwhile, Mintel research reveals that young people in the UK are experiencing the highest levels of anxiety and stress, with as many as 25% of 16-24-year-olds feeling anxious or stressed every day. By providing how-to guides and tips from influencers on self-care, we hope to inspire young people to take care of themselves physically and emotionally and to make time to do the things they love and are right for them. We really want to have all angles covered when it comes to making our customers feel confident and happy.”

Credit: boohoo

JD: It’s no secret that social media and selfie culture are making consumers more critical of their own appearance, with Mintel data showing that half of UK women agree with this sentiment. What is boohoo doing to actively tackle the problem of body positivity and self-image?

SB: “Promoting body positivity and a positive self-image is something boohoo really cares about – we don’t want to tell our customers what they should wear, we want to provide them on-trend clothes that they can do their own thing in and really be themselves. Inclusivity is a big part of what we do, catering to all body types with our petite to plus size ranges, as well as men through boohooMAN’s big and tall collections. We also make sure to select a variety of influencers to work with and front our campaigns so every customer has someone they can relate to.

Credit: boohoo

JD: How have consumers been reacting to this campaign?

SB: “We’ve had some really positive messages from consumers about #DoYourThing and the ‘Self-Love Isn’t Selfish’ micro-campaign. For instance, we have engaged social media users through a ‘Self-love challenge’. We asked influencers and followers to carry out three acts of self-love in 24 hours and post about how it made them feel and what self-love means to them. We then asked them to nominate someone else to take part and spread the message. It was really interesting to see what impact this had on their happiness and the various ways self-love shows itself to different individuals, whether it was taking a long walk, a relaxing bubble bath or simply saying ‘no’ to something they didn’t want to do.”

Credit: boohoo/Sophie King: the self-love challenge

What do we think?

Slowly but surely, inclusivity is becoming a hot topic in fashion and beauty. One size no longer fits all, so brands must reflect the diversity of their customers, welcoming and caring for people of all shapes, ages, colours, genders and lifestyles. And consumers are noticing the shift, with Mintel research on marketing to women revealing that three quarters of British women agree that society has become more accepting of individuality.

Social media plays a key role in promoting individualism and inclusivity as it gives brands an opportunity to feature pictures of real people using their products, thus creating more varied and relatable image banks. However, image-centric platforms can also boost insecurity and self-doubt, making vulnerable users more critical of how they look. Like boohoo, there is scope for more companies to empower their followers by celebrating what makes them unique, encouraging them to be themselves and ‘do their thing’.