The Collegian
Sunday, July 05, 2020

Junior works as a campus representative for activewear brand to promote body positivity

<p>Ava Cummings poses in Outdoor Voices apparel for a social media post as part of her job of being an OVU Crew representative for the brand.&nbsp;</p>

Ava Cummings poses in Outdoor Voices apparel for a social media post as part of her job of being an OVU Crew representative for the brand. 

University of Richmond junior Ava Cummings is an ambassador for activewear brand Outdoor Voices (OV), accepting the position in January after being drawn to the brand's emphasis on body positivity, she said. 

Cummings studied abroad in Milan in fall 2019 and took fashion classes while interning at Será Fine Silk, a men's fashion label, she said. 

"Being in that environment, I became really interested in the qualities that make a brand thrive," she said. "Fashion is such a dynamic industry, and only brands that have a distinct message and serve a distinct purpose survive and prosper." 

OV's goal is "freeing fitness from performance and bringing back Doing Things For Fun. This isn’t about being first or fastest, it’s about showing up often," according to Outdoor Voices' mission statement

Cummings said she thought the brand's emphasis on body positivity would be beneficial for the UR campus community.  

"Having watched many of my female friends struggle with body issues and eating disorders over my time at Richmond, I knew that introducing a body-positive brand like OV could have the potential to start some really important conversations on our campus," Cummings said. "So even though I had never seen myself as the 'influencer type,' I applied to be an Outdoor Voices OVU Crew representative. After two separate applications and some very fortunate networking, I got the position."

As a representative, Cummings advertises the brand over social media and promotes it in real life through monthly events, she said.

"On Instagram, I post a few photos and stories each month, demonstrating how I continue #DoingThings, the OV slogan, in my Outdoor Voices apparel," Cummings said. "As for the monthly events, before campus was forced to move to remote learning, I had two exercise classes planned in partnership with The Hot Yoga Barre and with Boho Cycle Studios for this semester. I am hoping to create similar events come fall semester." 

Both events were scheduled for after Spring Break but were canceled because of COVID-19, Cummings said. 

Outdoor Voices has a perks program for college students who sign up through the website with their .edu email. 

Sophomore Anna Marston had heard of Outdoor Voices before Cummings became a campus ambassador but said she had been hesitant to purchase clothing from the brand because of the price until she learned of the student discount from Cummings. 

"I really like Outdoor Voices because they promote that moving all bodies, not just thin bodies, is beautiful," Marston said. "And in a healthy way, rather than a brand promoting thinness or diet culture. Also, the quality of the clothes is just so great. Even though it’s a bit on the pricier side, with Ava’s code it feels pretty affordable."

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Senior Cassidy Poole has also purchased clothes through the student perks program. 

"I was super excited when Ava became an OV rep because I loved their leggings," she said. "She introduced me to more of the apparel, and I was able to try out new items that I also loved. I love doing things in my OV and will continue to expand my wardrobe thanks to the discount." 

Outdoor Voices has been going "live" on Instagram every weekday as a part of their virtual recess series, in which a dance or exercise instructor holds a 15-minute dance session that viewers can participate in, Cummings said. 

"It is amazing as a brand ambassador to see how Outdoor Voices is inspiring the world to keep #doingthings during this time," Cummings said.

Contact news writer Meredith Moran at meredith.moran@richmond.edu.

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