Online retailer Betabrand replaces models with female PhDs and doctoral candidates

13 Mar 2014

Just one of the ads on Betabrand's website featuring female PhDs and doctoral candidates

Online clothing retailer Betabrand has not only heeded a general call to feature more realistic-looking women in advertising, it has employed female PhDs and doctoral candidates instead of fashion models to show off its wares.

The San Francisco, California-based company put out a casting call through email and social network Facebook for smart non-models, and now six women are sporting pieces from Betabrand’s spring collection on its website. reported Betabrand founder Chris Lindland as having said more than 60 women from around the world applied to be a ‘smart model’.

“Our designers cooked up a collection of smart fashions for spring, so why not display them on the bodies of women with really big brains?” Lindland said in a statement.

Some of the models were shot on location in studio in San Francisco, while clothing was shipped to other women, who had their photos taken locally.

Now, a heading on Betabrand’s website reads, “Fifteen fantastic new women’s items modeled by our ravishing roster of PhDs and doctoral candidates.”

Each ad also includes the woman’s name, her subject of study, and the name of the school from which she obtained/is obtaining her PhD.

Lindland said response to the campaign has been “great so far”.

Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland. You can nominate inspiring women in the fields of STEM via email at or on Twitter at @siliconrepublic

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic