The origins of plus size began in America with Lane Bryant starting a range of clothing for ‘the stout woman’ in the 1920s. Plus size modelling was kept out of the public eye until the 1970s and since then it has come under continual criticism.
Plus size models, appeared on the catwalk in 2006 when both John Galliano and JeanPaul Gautier used them and have since been seen in other designers’ shows including Mark Fast. Considering the controversy surrounding size zero models, the fashion industry seems to have come a long way.
But what makes size zeros controversial? Why should we not be able to have catwalk models of that size? Is it fair to show case +size models and not showcase -size models? Size zero is deemed ‘unhealthy’. But being overweight is equally as unhealthy, and to me that is what plus size is. However the ‘plus size’ models that we are seeing are as small as a size 12. A healthy and good size to be, which for me, is where the issue arises.
Something that is unhealthy should not be presented as a good thing and after all, fashion is good, and can make you feel great. But something that is healthy should not be labelled in a way that can lead to confusion.
Modcloth have released a plus size range, with the concept that all sizes deserve to enjoy fashion. I totally agree, everyone deserves the opportunity. However, why does the clothing range need to be labelled as their plus size section? Everytime someone who is larger looks and that collection, they will once again be reminded that they are above the normal size, or what is deemed to be normal.
This summer the sunday times’ Style magazine began their fit not thin campaign. This is something that needs to be encouraged. Strong is sexy and at the end of the day, exercise makes you feel great. So in terms of presenting body image, we need to show that exercise is good, can make you happier and you can feel far more confident.
I personally think, we don’t need a label to tell us what size somebody is we can see that for ourselves. ‘Jag Models’, an agency, have never labelled their models, and I personally think that’s great.
We all need to ensure that the only size we are seeing is a healthy size and something that everyone could aspire to be. I like eating, I love food, and so should everyone, we shouldn’t feel pressured to fit to a particular model, no pun intended; we should be comfortable with ourselves as individuals. Society in general will always try to follow people, we just need to follow the right people, whether that is a size 8, a size 12 or a size 20, that’s your choice, but magazines and fashion designers have the ability, and should, educate the population on what is healthy.
Image: Style Magazine