Addition Elle and Penningtons employees fight stereotypes together

The Reitmans-owned banners build on their communities by showing that the people behind the clothes know what they deal with.


Reitmans-owned size inclusive brands Addition Elle and Penningtons are putting their employees at the forefront of an International Women’s Day campaign that shows the people behind their clothes have fought and won against the same stereotypes its customers face.

The job positions of the women in the campaign vary, from VPs, to designers, to graphic designers and artists, as well as an operations coordinator.

“It was very important for us to have something going on [International Women’s Day], and, more importantly, to include our own teams and our own employees in this campaign to really showcase the different stereotypes that they’ve had to go through in their lives,” says Katia Hanine, content and communications manager for Penningtons and Addition Elle. “Whether it was stereotypes regarding their careers, their work, or in their personal lives, it was important for us to show our community, our followers and our customers that these women are the women that are creating the clothes that [they’re] wearing”

The one-minute spot shows employees reading out statements like “Plus size women can’t have style,” “Only skinny girls can have a fashion sense,” and “Women can’t be good moms and VPs, it’s impossible.” After reading them out, they tell stories showing how they’re living proof that the stereotypes are not true.

iwd-2Hanine says that inclusivity is in each brand’s DNA, as they cater to the plus size market, which also gives it the credibility to address issues that impact women more broadly. Addition Elle is slightly more premium and fashion-forward, with Penningtons focused on fit and comfort, but both have aimed to build a sense of community among customers. She adds that both brands get “a lot of really good feedback” from its customers regarding seeing “real women” on their social media platforms, as opposed to actors or models, as it helps them feel reflected in the brands.

For this campaign, the two brands have collaborated with Toronto-based illustrator, Madison van Rijn, to create limited edition t-shirts that represent and embody “women from all walks of life.” The proceeds from the sale of these shirts will be donated to the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health.

The full video for the campaign was released on Thursday, with teaser digital ads that were live from Mar. 2 to Mar. 4. The brands also had in-store activations where women can write down, on a posted note, what stereotypes they’ve faced. The campaign will be posted on both of the brands’ social media platforms and on their respective websites.

The campaign will wrap up on Mar. 13. Addition Elle and Penningtons worked with the agency Mi.lo on the campaign.

Parent company Reitmans is running its own initiative for International Women’s Day this weekend, changing its name online, in signage and at locations the Carrefour Laval in Quebec and Bayshore Shopping Center in Ottawa to “Reitwoman.” The initiative aims to support a movement to “make space for women,” the company says, while reflecting initiatives like a non-retouch policy for its marketing campaigns and the “Beyond Looks” project that aims to create awareness for women-focused non-profits.