The only plus-size models shown in any major September fashion mags were in ads.
The Huffington Post recently dug through seven September issues of the biggest fashion publications: (Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Elle, Marie Claire, InStyle and Cosmopolitan) and found zero plus-size models in any of its editorials. It was a clear message: Plus-size still isn’t en vogue. Literally.
The September issue of Vogue, the publication’s biggest yearly edition, has a whopping 832 pages. The only two pages that included any women who were more than sample size comprised a curious advertisement. “It’s time for change,” the ad pleaded along with its hashtag, #PlusIsEqual.
— Lane Bryant (@lanebryant) August 26, 2015
The two pages were surreptitious and vague, albeit beautiful. Was it from a major brand? A message to promote body conscious conversations?
Websites speculated it was a Lane Bryant advertisement, featuring models Ashley Graham, Danielle Redman, Inga Eiriksdottir, Julie Henderson and Marquita Pring. These women are currently associated with a group called ALDA, a collective aiming to alter perceptions and empower women.
Lane Bryant has done a similar social media campaign in the past with many of these models, featuring the hashtag #ImNoAngel, a not so subtle jab at Victoria’s Secret Angels.
A photo posted by A L D A (@aldawomen) on Apr 20, 2015 at 7:08am PDT
Plusisequal says it needs a minimum 500 supporters to guarantee the campaign “goes big.” Visitors can join the campaign and share prepackaged sound bites that will all go live on Sept. 14 at the same time. For instance, “67% of US women are size 14-34. Shouldn’t they be equally represented in the media, too?”
While many might see the ad as just two pages, others in the industry applaud a huge success.
“It is an advertisement, but it is still an achievement, and it should be seen as one,” says Jenny McQuaile, director of Straight/Curve, a documentary she filmed by speaking with many plus-size models, editors and photographers. “There was a time when you wouldn’t dream of even seeing a plus-size model in an ad in the September issue of Vogue.
“What makes anyone think an editorial isn’t going to follow?” Jessica Lewis, producer of Straight/Curve and former model of plus and straight clothing, tells Mashable.
This might be a positive stride but the lack of any plus-size models in other September issues shows how far we have to come. “It’s time we see more women on the pages of these magazines, in editorials, that are representative of two-thirds of women out there,” says McQuaile. “We are making strides, but we still have a ways to go.”
A photo posted by Cindy González. (@cindycgonzalez) on Aug 24, 2015 at 10:09am PDT
The #Plusisequal Vogue campaign started the conversation and led many to tweet their support.
There are many ways that I am apart of the plus community. Everyone deserves a fair chance no matter the shape or size. #plusisequal
— Andie’s_Styles (@plusmodel_andie) August 26, 2015
— Sinikka (@SinikkaKA) August 26, 2015
— Dave Norris (@TheDaveNorris) August 25, 2015
We don’t know if this is a Lane Bryant advertisement (all they said is that more information is to come at the beginning of September and that a huge event is planned). What we do know is that we are still questioning when plus-size models will be featured in Vogue and other top magazines — in regular spreads and non-plus size campaigns.
There have definitely been other step forwards in plus-size fashion. All the women of ALDA have been signed to IMG Models; Denise Bidot starred in an unretouched swimsuit campaign; Target launched a campaign for all body shapes; and a plus-size model was featured on the cover of Women’s Running magazine, to name a few.
A photo posted by Victoria’s Secret (@victoriassecret) on Aug 10, 2015 at 7:45am PDT
Victoria’s Secret is one brand that has often been criticized for not carrying bigger sizes. After receiving their wings, two of its newest angels, Jac Jagaciak and Elsa Hosk, recently spoke out about their interest in a plus-size angel.
Actor and designer Melissa McCarthy launched a clothing line, Seven7, with sizes ranging from 4 to 28. She made headlines when she stated that plus-size clothing shouldn’t be hidden in the part of the store no one goes near.
A photo posted by Melissa McCarthy (@melissamccarthy) on Jun 3, 2015 at 10:08am PDT
“Women come in all sizes. Seventy percent of women in the United States are a size 14 or above, and that’s technically ‘plus-size,’ so you’re taking your biggest category of people and telling them, ‘You’re not really worthy.’ I find that very strange,” McCarthy told Refinery 29. “Run the sizes as I make them and let friends go shopping with their friends. Stop segregating women.”
Having two out of 832 pages with plus-size models in Vogue is a small — but positive — step closer to having an equal representation of plus-size models in advertisements, campaigns and editorials.
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