Curvy Women on the Catwalk – The Rise of Plus-Size Models
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Curvy women and plus-size models are more popular than they’ve ever been. They’ve been in demand in commercial modelling for several years, but it’s their recent move to the catwalk that has really caused excitement. The high fashion industry has always been notoriously strict and regimented about what it expects from its models; seeing those who don’t conform to the conventional sizes that are usually seen on the runway is seen as a huge step towards inclusivity for many.
Read on to learn about the plus-size modelling industry, the rise of curvy women, and why some people are opposed to plus-size models.
Diversity & Inclusivity
Feeling represented in the media is really important for our mental health and wellbeing. Not seeing ourselves represented by those we deem as societies most beautiful can have a huge impact on our confidence and self-esteem. Seeing plus-size models take to the catwalk wearing our favourite brands is a huge deal for many who haven’t before felt “seen” or included by the fashion industry.
The past 5 years in particular has seen the modelling industry diversify. Trends previously have idealised body types that were wafer-thin; the size-zero trend, and the infamous ‘heroin chic’ trend made famous by Kate Moss, come to mind.
Now, however, we are seeing the rise of the curve. Bodies that represent more of the nation’s average have been seen on famous catwalks and fronting high-end magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
A Passing Trend?
We are seeing enough plus-size models in fashion right now to see it’s not just a passing trend. Different bodies are not only being seen, but celebrated. The average UK woman is a size 16, and they’re finally being noticed.
We’re seeing more and more plus-size clothing mannequins in shops, helping those with curves find brands and fits that are right for them.
Celebrities like the Kardashians are even getting surgeries like the BBL to appear even curvier and brands like ASOS and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty are putting curvier models at the front of the pack.
What is Plus-Size?
‘Plus-size’ varies depending on who you ask. In commercial modelling, anyone above a UK size 14 is considered plus-size. But in high fashion, anyone over a UK size 8 could be deemed curvy. If we take into account that the UK’s national average is a size 16, this theoretically puts the majority of the UK into the plus-size category. It also means most of the UK wasn’t being represented in fashion – until recently.
Most of the time, the fashion industry is looking for a certain type of look and shape, not necessarily a size. They favour the hourglass shape (where the bust and hips are a similar size, and the waist is nipped in) and they prefer a flatter tummy. But that hasn’t stopped multiple models breaking the “rules” and becoming successful anyway.
Where there is positivity, there will always be negativity, and there have been a few outspoken individuals who oppose the rise of plus-size. Their argument is that plus-size models glamorise or normalise obesity. That seeing larger people in the media will influence young people, in particular young girls, to think that being overweight is a positive thing.
But these people are missing the point. The point of inclusivity is not to tell people how to look; it’s simply to acknowledge we don’t all look the same. We are so used to seeing what an outfit looks like on a size 8 model, but not all of us are size 8. It’s a healthy, positive thing to see more than one version of the human form represented.
Famous Plus-Size Models
– Previous Lee
– Ashley Graham
– Jill Kortleve
– Alva Claire
– Iskra Lawrence
Getting Into Plus-Size Modelling
Plus-size models need plenty of self-confidence, lots of self-esteem and a good, supportive network around them. You need to surround yourself with positive influences, and be ready to ignore haters and nay-sayers.
Aspiring plus-size models should aim to get signed to a modelling agency. This way, they will be offered opportunities for auditions and casting calls. Being signed does not guarantee your work or future success; you still need to work hard to attend interviews and land roles.
You need a strong portfolio to stand out from the competition. Plus-size modelling is a smaller pond, so there’s more competition for coveted spots. You will need to have a strong work ethic and a positive mindset.