Clara Brannigan discusses how the lines are becoming blurred in plus size fashion.
The norms of modelling have dramatically changed in the last decade. The modelling industry came under severe scrutiny due to only hiring girls of a certain stature, usually very tall and thin. Plus size models have become more accepted with models like Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence igniting the path of self-love and self-confidence: showcasing that you don’t have to be one body ideal to be beautiful. The question is; how progressive is body positivity if only one plus size body type is being affirmed?
Plus size models’ entrance into the fashion industry brought hope that body diversity in mainstream media sources was finally happening. Unfortunately, this has barely scratched the surface of body diversity. The problematic issue that hasn’t been spoken about too much, is the ‘preferred’ plus size body type that has emerged in the media or on online shopping websites. Ashley Graham is a talented model and body positive activist, but she still fits the socially acceptable hour glass body type. When plus size models look more like Tess Holliday, they are met with accusations of supporting an unhealthy lifestyle by promoting obesity.
The question is; how progressive is body positivity if only one plus size body type is being affirmed?
The newsflash is most plus sized women do not look like this, reinforcing the idea that others hold weight in “the wrong places.” Brands constantly brag about being inclusive without accurately representing plus size bodies. The fashion industry is still celebrating what is deemed as the aesthetically pleasing body with perfect proportions. What is truly angering is models on fashion websites like Boohoo or Misguided who appear to be a size 12/14, but are allegedly wearing plus sizes of 16 and above. This leaves problems for plus size women to find clothes to suit their sizes and various shapes. If these clothes are only flattering on taught tummies and small arms, this leaves people with few clothing options, causing a feeling of shame about their own bodies.
Women are bored of being told they should look a certain way: it’s time to empower all bodies.
There is a genuine lack of body diversity within the plus size fashion industry. Plus size fashion is an industry that was once progressive, but fashion designers are too guilty of eliminating many types of plus size bodies from accessibility to fashion that is on trend. Fashion brands like ASOS and Torrid are ahead of the rest with inclusive lines that show you can be the best dressed in the room and be plus size. Women are bored of being told they should look a certain way: it’s time to empower all bodies.