THE PLUS SIZE MODEL

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THE PLUS SIZE MODEL

387132-plus-size-modelsIt is important to note that finally many designers are beginning to create and design outfits for not only the plus size woman plus also those with disabilities.   It is long overdue and past time that this has finally begun to happen.   Now if only many of the top designers would also get on board with this it would be fantastic.

It seems like everything is about being skinny — juice cleanses will cut calories, yoga will keep you in tip-top shape and there’s always a new diet to try. But all the attention placed on being thin is exhausting, not to mention dangerous. That’s why it’s inspiring to see the rise and visibility of plus-size models in the fashion industry today.

From articles about the public’s severely unhealthy obsession with size to creating model workshops aimed at helping girls of every shape reach their runway dreams, plus-size models are shaking up the fashion game and redefining the rules of modeling. It’s about time.

Plus-size model is a term applied to a person who is engaged primarily in modeling plus-size clothing. Plus-size models also engage in work that is not strictly related to selling large-sized clothing, e.g., stock photography and advertising photography for cosmetics, household and pharmaceutical products and sunglasses, footwear and watches. Therefore plus-size models do not exclusively wear garments marketed as plus-size clothing. This is especially true when participating in fashion editorials for mainstream fashion magazines.

Synonymous and interchangeable with plus-size model is “full-figured model,” “extended-sizes model,” and “outsize model”. Previously, the term “large size model” was also frequently used.

Fashion designers are starting to look more closely at the earning potential from plus-size clothing, and have used plus-sizeplus-size-models-8 models for their advertising campaigns and catwalks. Jean-Paul Gautier and John Galliano both used plus-size models in their shows. Italian plus-size fashion house Elena Mirò now regularly stages biannual pret-a-porter shows during Fashion Week in Milan. Mark Fast and William Tempest each used plus-size models during their own London Fashion Week.

Lane Bryant began trading in the early 1900s as a producer of clothing for “Expectant Mothers and Newborn”‘. By the early 1920s, Lane Bryant started selling clothing under the category ‘For the Stout Women’, which ranged between a 38-56 inch bust line. The earliest catalogs used illustrations to sell their products, but by the mid-1950s photographs were integrated into the catalogs as the evolution of printing technology made this option available. After a hiatus through the 1960-1980 period, Lane Bryant again began using plus-size models.

Although U.S. based manufacturers used larger models to show their plus-size clothing as early as the 1940s, the bias against larger consumers and models pervasive in the fashion industry worked to keep this particular concept of modeling out of the general public’s eye until the early 1990s.

plus-size-modelsPlus size models were first represented by model agencies in the 1970s. Prior to this, models freelanced directly with retailers, designers and magazines. Ford Models began representing plus size models in 1978, and added two models to their board, including top model Ann Harper, due to demand from clients. By the late 1980s, Plus Models was the largest and most successful plus-size specialty agency, representing over 65 models and grossing over 2 million dollars in revenue. By 1984, Big Beauties Little Women was successful enough to run national model searches advertised in the press. The prize included the cover of It’s Me magazine, a nationally published magazine for plus-size women. Not long after, Plus Models began holding national model searches. By the mid-1980s, top plus size models could earn as much as 150,000 to 200,000 dollars a year. Ford Models bought Big Beauties Little Women in 1988, later renaming the division Special Sizes and then Ford 12+.

Wilhelmina NYC agent Susan George started the Wilhelmina 10/20 division in New York in 1994, recently re-branded W Curve. Gary Dakin headed New York’s Karin Models’ Curves division, only to leave after a short time to develop Ford Models’ Ford 12+ (rebranded Ford+) model division in their New York office in 1998. In Constantine Valhouli’s 2001 plus-size model documentary Curve, Dakin states, “We’re celebrating our 25th anniversary of the Ford 12+ division. It was the first and longest-existing plus division in the industry.” Together, these agents created agency divisions that have continued to recruit the highest caliber of models in the industry and are credited with expanding opportunities for plus-size models beyond working solely for plus-size clothing retailers. Former plus-size model Becca Thorpe founded the plus-size division at Muse Model Management, a boutique fashion agency in 2011. Muse also recruits high caliber models and had advanced opportunities for plus-size models beyond advertising for plus-size retailers.

There are a large number of reputable agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada, and internationally in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the UK.

In 1981, Lane Bryant began publishing It’s Me magazine. Along with Big Beautiful Woman, It’s Me was one of the few print1954_Lane_Bryant_catalog magazines for plus-size women. In 1982, the magazine was sold to Happy Hands Publishing Company.  In 1995, Lane Bryant began a transformation of the brand which included large-scale fashion showings and celebrity endorsement. Queen Latifah, Mia Tyler, Camryn Manheim, Anna Nicole Smith and Chris Noth have appeared in advertising and/or events on behalf of the brand. Lane Bryant held a large-scale lingerie fashion show to launch the “Cacique Intimates” lingerie collection.

With strong cooperation from Wilhelmina 10/20, Curves and Ford 12+ agencies, MODE magazine, was launched in the spring of 1997. No other fashion magazine specifically targeted the plus-size consumer with a Vogue-like fashion philosophy. MODE’s editorial practice of providing models’ names, sometimes attached to quotes on self-esteem to make them more approachable, greatly aided the popularity of the models and gave them a form of celebrity. The magazine also received industry acclaim, being named the best new magazine launch by Ad Week and Advertising Age in 1997.   MODE ran model search competitions in conjunction with the Wilhelmina modeling agency, drawing entries from thousands of hopefuls from the US and Canada.

Europe’s plus size industry had launched the careers of models who have appeared in campaigns and runway shows for famous designers, as well as editorials in notable magazines. As in the United States, bias prevented plus size modeling from being in the public’s eyes until the 1990s. European magazines, including European editions of Elle and Vogue have featured plus size models on covers and in editorials.      European versions of Vogue and Elle have featured plus size models in many editorials, often photographed by top photographers. Vogue Italia featured plus size models on the cover of three issues.    Other magazines that have featured plus size models on their covers include Amica, Avant-garde, Biba, D Reppublicca della Donna, i-D and S Moda. In addition, magazines such as Bon, Diva e Donna, Gioia, Glamour UK, Glass, Grazia, Numero, Paradis, Ponystep and Yo Dona have featured plus size models in editorials.

The plus size industry in Asia is not as developed as in North America or Europe, but a number of Asian plus size models have been featured in press. Australia has a developed industry with multiple designers and retailers using plus size models in advertising. In recent years, plus size agencies in Australia have launched the careers of several international plus size models.

Celebrities who wear clothing larger than a standard U.S. size 8 have increasingly been attracting endorsement contracts as advertisers seek to extend size-acceptance into the film, TV and music industries, and/or make use of their family or other connections. Women who have lost weight, dropping below a U.S. size 8 since gaining popularity do not form part of this entry, nor do women unrepresented by model agents.

The plus-size modelling industry has received general criticism on the premise that acceptance of plus-size models sets a poor health example of weight management.   Overall this is not a valid premise whatsoever.

Consumer-based criticism regarding the lower sizes of plus-size models is becoming commonplace and wide-spread. While the reputed ‘average’ dress size of the American women is size 14, the majority of models represented as plus-size are between a US size 6-12; therefore the models do not reflect the average consumer size. Critics have mentioned the widespread use of padding used to make smaller models appear larger and help smaller models fit the clothing.

German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and other fashion designers have deferred on the use of plus-size models through a lack of interest in the consumers associated with the term plus-size. Lagerfeld in particular has been vocal on the matter of his preferred clientele: “What I designed was fashion for slender and slim people” and received criticism for demanding that mass retailer H&M not produce their collaboration designs to size 16.

In addition, the industry has been criticized for lacking in racial diversity. For example, critics have noted that there are few Asian plus size models. Others have noted that there are few black plus-size models with darker skin tones.  One doesn’t need to be slender and as thin as a rail to be successful in the fashion industry even if others argue the contrary.

THE PLUS SIZE MODEL

VAWK_by_Sunny_Fong-Fall_Winter_2012-Model_Kate_WatsonIt is important to note that finally many designers are beginning to create and design outfits for not only the plus size woman plus also those with disabilities.   It is long overdue and past time that this has finally begun to happen.   Now if only many of the top designers would also get on board with this it would be fantastic.

It seems like everything is about being skinny — juice cleanses will cut calories, yoga will keep you in tip-top shape and there’s always a new diet to try. But all the attention placed on being thin is exhausting, not to mention dangerous. That’s why it’s inspiring to see the rise and visibility of plus-size models in the fashion industry today.

From articles about the public’s severely unhealthy obsession with size to creating model workshops aimed at helping girls of every shape reach their runway dreams, plus-size models are shaking up the fashion game and redefining the rules of modeling. It’s about time.

Plus-size model is a term applied to a person who is engaged primarily in modeling plus-size clothing. Plus-size models also engage in work that is not strictly related to selling large-sized clothing, e.g., stock photography and advertising photography for cosmetics, household and pharmaceutical products and sunglasses, footwear and watches. Therefore plus-size models do not exclusively wear garments marketed as plus-size clothing. This is especially true when participating in fashion editorials for mainstream fashion magazines.

Synonymous and interchangeable with plus-size model is “full-figured model,” “extended-sizes model,” and “outsize model”. Previously, the term “large size model” was also frequently used.

Fashion designers are starting to look more closely at the earning potential from plus-size clothing, and have used plus-size models for their advertising campaigns and catwalks. Jean-Paul Gautier and John Galliano both used plus-size models in their shows. Italian plus-size fashion house Elena Mirò now regularly stages biannual pret-a-porter shows during Fashion Week in Milan. Mark Fast and William Tempest each used plus-size models during their own London Fashion Week.

Lane Bryant began trading in the early 1900s as a producer of clothing for “Expectant Mothers and Newborn”‘. By the early 1920s, Lane Bryant started selling clothing under the category ‘For the Stout Women’, which ranged between a 38-56 inch bust line. The earliest catalogs used illustrations to sell their products, but by the mid-1950s photographs were integrated into the catalogs as the evolution of printing technology made this option available. After a hiatus through the 1960-1980 period, Lane Bryant again began using plus-size models.

Although U.S. based manufacturers used larger models to show their plus-size clothing as early as the 1940s, the bias against larger consumers and models pervasive in the fashion industry worked to keep this particular concept of modeling out of the general public’s eye until the early 1990s.

Plus size models were first represented by model agencies in the 1970s. Prior to this, models freelanced directly witho-PLUS-SIZE-MODELS-CANDY-570 retailers, designers and magazines. Ford Models began representing plus size models in 1978, and added two models to their board, including top model Ann Harper, due to demand from clients. By the late 1980s, Plus Models was the largest and most successful plus-size specialty agency, representing over 65 models and grossing over 2 million dollars in revenue. By 1984, Big Beauties Little Women was successful enough to run national model searches advertised in the press. The prize included the cover of It’s Me magazine, a nationally published magazine for plus-size women. Not long after, Plus Models began holding national model searches. By the mid-1980s, top plus size models could earn as much as 150,000 to 200,000 dollars a year. Ford Models bought Big Beauties Little Women in 1988, later renaming the division Special Sizes and then Ford 12+.

Wilhelmina NYC agent Susan George started the Wilhelmina 10/20 division in New York in 1994, recently re-branded W Curve. Gary Dakin headed New York’s Karin Models’ Curves division, only to leave after a short time to develop Ford Models’ Ford 12+ (rebranded Ford+) model division in their New York office in 1998. In Constantine Valhouli’s 2001 plus-size model documentary Curve, Dakin states, “We’re celebrating our 25th anniversary of the Ford 12+ division. It was the first and longest-existing plus division in the industry.” Together, these agents created agency divisions that have continued to recruit the highest caliber of models in the industry and are credited with expanding opportunities for plus-size models beyond working solely for plus-size clothing retailers. Former plus-size model Becca Thorpe founded the plus-size division at Muse Model Management, a boutique fashion agency in 2011. Muse also recruits high caliber models and had advanced opportunities for plus-size models beyond advertising for plus-size retailers.

There are a large number of reputable agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada, and internationally in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the UK.

In 1981, Lane Bryant began publishing It’s Me magazine. Along with Big Beautiful Woman, It’s Me was one of the few print magazines for plus-size women. In 1982, the magazine was sold to Happy Hands Publishing Company.  In 1995, Lane Bryant began a transformation of the brand which included large-scale fashion showings and celebrity endorsement. Queen Latifah, Mia Tyler, Camryn Manheim, Anna Nicole Smith and Chris Noth have appeared in advertising and/or events on behalf of the brand. Lane Bryant held a large-scale lingerie fashion show to launch the “Cacique Intimates” lingerie collection.

With strong cooperation from Wilhelmina 10/20, Curves and Ford 12+ agencies, MODE magazine, was launched in the spring of 1997. No other fashion magazine specifically targeted the plus-size consumer with a Vogue-like fashion philosophy. MODE’s editorial practice of providing models’ names, sometimes attached to quotes on self-esteem to make them more approachable, greatly aided the popularity of the models and gave them a form of celebrity. The magazine also received industry acclaim, being named the best new magazine launch by Ad Week and Advertising Age in 1997.   MODE ran model search competitions in conjunction with the Wilhelmina modeling agency, drawing entries from thousands of hopefuls from the US and Canada.

Europe’s plus size industry had launched the careers of models who have appeared in campaigns and runway shows for famous designers, as well as editorials in notable magazines. As in the United States, bias prevented plus size modeling from being in the public’s eyes until the 1990s. European magazines, including European editions of Elle and Vogue have featured plus size models on covers and in editorials.      European versions of Vogue and Elle have featured plus size models in many editorials, often photographed by top photographers. Vogue Italia featured plus size models on the cover of three issues.    Other magazines that have featured plus size models on their covers include Amica, Avant-garde, Biba, D Reppublicca della Donna, i-D and S Moda. In addition, magazines such as Bon, Diva e Donna, Gioia, Glamour UK, Glass, Grazia, Numero, Paradis, Ponystep and Yo Dona have featured plus size models in editorials.

The plus size industry in Asia is not as developed as in North America or Europe, but a number of Asian plus size models have been featured in press. Australia has a developed industry with multiple designers and retailers using plus size models in advertising. In recent years, plus size agencies in Australia have launched the careers of several international plus size models.

Celebrities who wear clothing larger than a standard U.S. size 8 have increasingly been attracting endorsement contracts as advertisers seek to extend size-acceptance into the film, TV and music industries, and/or make use of their family or other connections. Women who have lost weight, dropping below a U.S. size 8 since gaining popularity do not form part of this entry, nor do women unrepresented by model agents.

The plus-size modelling industry has received general criticism on the premise that acceptance of plus-size models sets aRobyn_Lawley poor health example of weight management.   Overall this is not a valid premise whatsoever.

Consumer-based criticism regarding the lower sizes of plus-size models is becoming commonplace and wide-spread. While the reputed ‘average’ dress size of the American women is size 14, the majority of models represented as plus-size are between a US size 6-12; therefore the models do not reflect the average consumer size. Critics have mentioned the widespread use of padding used to make smaller models appear larger and help smaller models fit the clothing.

German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and other fashion designers have deferred on the use of plus-size models through a
lack of interest in the consumers associated with the term plus-size. Lagerfeld in particular has been vocal on the matter of his preferred clientele: “What I designed was fashion for slender and slim people” and received criticism for demanding that mass retailer H&M not produce their collaboration designs to size 16.

In addition, the industry has been criticized for lacking in racial diversity. For example, critics have noted that there are few Asian plus size models. Others have noted that there are few black plus-size models with darker skin tones.  One doesn’t need to be slender and as thin as a rail to be successful in the fashion industry even if others argue the contrary.

Kathy Kiefer

One thought on “THE PLUS SIZE MODEL

    BossFlaws said:
    January 17, 2015 at 11:27 am

    👏

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