Today I want to talk to you about plus size models in straight size fashion. Just to be clear: “straight size” is a term used to refer to models in the standard US fashion sizes 0-2 (and sometimes 4). “Plus size” refers to industry standard plus size, meaning models in US size 6 to 16.
Sample size 10
More and more, we see that plus size models are working in the straight size fashion industry and not just sticking to plus size work. A lot of people don’t agree with this trend, saying it’s not really possible because of the sample size issue. “Sample size” refers to clothing being made in 1 size, usually 2 or 4, before the whole collection is put out. It’s this sample that is used for shows and photoshoots, so it’s only logical that all models need to be this size, so that they can fit the clothing. This is indeed how it works, and especially for couture pieces … but there is also a simple solution: provide an extra sample. Make another sample in (for instance) size 12.
The respons to this solution is usually “that’s not possible, do you know how expensive fabric is? It would cost too much to make a bigger sample …”. I don’t agree with that argument though. Especially for ready-to-wear collections, this is simply not true. You see, not all clothing is couture. Even high-end designers have ready-to-wear collections. These are collections that will actually be sold, also often in US sizes 12 and 14 … as such, they have to make clothing in that size anyway, meaning “the fabric is expensive” argument becomes irrelevant. Making 1 sample in a larger size won’t make them go bankrupt …
More room for the model
I dream of a fashion industry where there is more room for the model again, where models aren’t just pass products. An industry that is a bit more flexible, so that a gorgeous model with tons of experience and supermodel potential isn’t automatically cast aside just because here hips are 2 inches too wide. That models won’t have to resort to drastic and unhealthy measures in a desperate attempt to fit the sample size, and that the industry can start showing that beauty doesn’t come in just one size.
Size diversity in the fashion industry
To show you guys that this is indeed possible, and is actually already happening at some places, I want to show some examples of plus size models and size diversity in the straight size fashion industry.
Laura Wells (size 12-14) with her sister (and straight size model) in Cosmopolitan (Sep ’10 issue):
Laura Wells (sitting left) (size 12-14) for straight size sportsbrand The Upside:
Left: Laura Catterall (size 12-14) in an editorial for Australian Cosmopolitan, Jan ’14 issue (by the way, did you know that Cosmo Australia uses plus size models in almost every issue?). Right: Tara Lynn (size 16), Candice Huffine (14-16) and Robyn Lawley (10-12) for Vogue Italia (June ’11 by Steven Meisel):
And yes, even Karl Lagerfeld sent out Crystal Renn (then a size 10-12) on the Chanel Spring/Summer 2011 runway:
I could go on about this forever, but that would make this post a bit too long ;). Bottom line is, this is happening. Slowly but surely, we’re seeing more and more plus size models in the straight size fashion industry, taking down the bounderies between straight and plus. I think this is super exciting!
So why isn’t size diversity the norm yet? Well, change doesn’t happen overnight, and a lot of people feel “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. As long as there are still models out there who fit the sample sizes, why would they change? My answer to that is: because it is important on so many levels to show diversity.
What do you think? Would you like to see more different sizes in fashion, or do you think that fashion should remain exclusive for small sizes?