Over the years, I’ve had some great debates about plus-related stuff. What I have noticed is that a lot of times when there’s a conversation/discussion/debate/whateveryouwanttocallit on plussize models finding their way into the straightsize fashion world, or on diversity…the same counter-arguments keep popping up. I lined them up for you, along with my view on the subject.
“plus size models can’t be in magazines, because it’s proven that those magazines don’t sell”
This one particularly irks me. If you’re going to say there is “proof” for something, I’m going to need to see that proof. Now, maybe there is proof out there, but I’ve been looking for the numbers and the studies and the salesdata on this for quite some time, and never found anything. I do know that plus size models are popping up in magazines more and more… if it really was that bad for sales, then why continue doing it?
I would also like to point out that the Australian Cosmo has been featuring plus models in their magazine in every edition for quite some time now. Seems to me they’re not worrying about their sales numbers.
“plus size models can’t be in magazines, because fashion is all about dreams; no one wants to see a magazine with average people in it”
Okay, great! Because plus size models aren’t average! Okay, their size is average, but that’s about it. So your fashiondreams will remain untouched! Last time I checked, average women don’t look like this
left to right: Laura Catterall, Tara Lynn, Robyn Lawley and Camilla Hanssen
I’m also not saying plus size models should TAKE OVER fashion; just that it would be nice to put them in the mix. The endresult wouldn’t be a magazine with nothing but plus models, it would be a magazine that shows different types and sizes of awesome models, side by side, with no mention of them being plus.
“plus size models shouldn’t model for non-plussize labels, it’s not representative”
Most straightsize labels, from highstreet to chique labels, go up to at least a size 12. A lot of highstreet brands go up to a size 16. So using a model within the sizes you sell, is not weird at all. If the label sells clothes from a size 2 to a size 16, then what’s the problem with using a model in a size 8, or a 12, or 16, or combination of sizes?
Ralph Lauren used Robyn Lawley a couple of times now for their regular brand. She has also walked for their shows. Crystal Renn has walked for Chanel as an inbetween-size-model. Crystal also models for Zac Posen. And those labels seem to be doing just fine.
Robyn for Ralph Lauren and Crystal for Chanel
“plus size models can’t walk shows for non-plussize labels or be in magazines, they don’t fit the sample sizes”
Well, that’s an excellent point. It’s true, plus size models don’t fit the sample sizes. But if you wanted, you could make part of your collection in a bigger sample size, for instance. Or (as crystal renn has suggested in the past), we could make sample sizes in a size 8, so that models in various sizes could fit into them. Or you could make samples in sizes 2 and 12. So yes, even though the samplesize-issue is a real issue, it’s one that could easily be resolved, if the industry wanted to. A company like victoria’s secret, for instance, fits the outfits to each model individual body for the show. VS could use a plus model and make an outfit to fit her perfectly, without a problem. If they wanted to.
Other than that, there’s plenty of awesome work that doesn’t require samplesizes. Beauty-ads, for instance. Nude or semi-nude editorials in fashion magazines (they do it all the time for straightsize models). If you ask me, it’s really more an issue of stylists not being familiar with plussize. And how can you love what you don’t know? And again, plenty of high-end fashion magazines (Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire,…) have had successful editorials with plus size models in the past, so it CAN be done.
plus size models in Vogue Italia
“plus size models can’t walk shows for non-plussize labels, they make the clothes look less beautiful. A good model is a coathanger”
I will agree that not everything will look amazing on a plussize model. That is true. But since I’m not suggesting that plus size models take over, that’s not an issue to begin with. They can wear the clothes that DO suit them.
Plus size models are not that different than fashion models. They still have the ability to move, they know how to make clothes look good. It’s their job, just like it’s a fashion model’s job to do the same. And again; it’s been done in the past, succesfully, (see crystal renn above, for instance) so there’s really no point in saying it can’t work…
left: size 12 models for plus size label Elena Miro. Right: fashionmodels for straightsize label Balmain. All models, doing their job! Wouldn’t it be awesome if they walked in the same show?
And finally (and this is something you may disagree on, but that I feel strongly about): a designer that makes clothes that makes anyone bigger than a size 4 look ugly… do you really think there are a lot of those? I have great respect for designers, and I can assure you that a lot of them know the body well, have the talent and the skill to make it look good, even if the body itself is not standard. I see collections that would look amazing on various bodytypes all the time, and to assume that all designers make clothes that would make any woman that doesn’t look like a fashionmodel look like a gross lump of fat is just disrespectful, in my opinion.
“plus size models can’t be in fashion, no one is asking for it. Magazines just give the people what they want”
This one is funny. Let’s forget for a second that a lot of people ARE asking for more diversity in fashion and more plus models in the picture…
To quote Henry Ford: “If I has asked them what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. Fashion is mostly a top-down process. It starts on top, and through shows and magazines slowly sinks in, in the highstreet shops and the catalogues and the rest of us “normal” people.If magazines started using plus models on a regular basis, then maybe there would be some people protesting in the beginning, sure. But they would get used to it after a while too. It’s not like the whole fashion industry would collapse because there’s a plus size model in a magazine or on the runway every now and then.
So there you have it. None of the arguments I have heard so far were really persuasive. Most of them are based on fear of the unknown, inside-the-box-thinking and a “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitude. Because in the end, there is really no reason why the fashion world couldn’t be more diverse other than ‘it’s never been that way”. But the way it’s been done is receiving more and more critique, and plus size models are here to stay. So let’s hope the industry manages to escape the little boxes, and embraces the diversity!