Why Vogue\'s positive portrayal of Plus-Sized women is a Fashion forward effort


Keeping its tradition of serving conversation starters American Vogue's latest Photo Spread is a beautifully inspiring and positive portrayal of plus-sized women. Starring Plus-size Models In Lingerie the spread couldn’t have come at a better time than now, given the recent backlash over what is considered to be plus-size and body diversity, namely : the Victoria's Secret campaign which involved the phrase "Perfect Body," and just a few days ago Calvin Klein's "Perfectly Fit" underwear campaign which featured pretty toned model Myla Dalbesio.

Shot by Legendary photographer Cass Bird, the Spread is a Black and White story about bra cup sizes that stars plus-sized models as they model gorgeous bras that come in sizes D, F, and higher. The women are all of different shapes and sizes and send a positive message as they are seen laughing, crying, and embracing their bodies in general. Published on Vogue's homepage it's Aptly titled "Give me a D! Give me an F! Because Gorgeous Bras Come in All Shapes and Sizes,". Three of the models featured in the shoot are members of ALDA, a new collaborative of IMG models. Inga Eiriksdottir, Ashley Graham, Julie Henderson, Danielle Redman, and Marquita Pring, had formed the collective in 2013 after Ford Models in New York shut down its plus-size division that summer leaving them without representation. The sole aim of ALDA is to "empower women and change the perception of beauty." and to represent "beauty overall — without divisions, boundaries, and most of all, In all sizes."

The appearance of a plus-sized model on Vogue is a rare and beautiful thing. It's just not necessarily something you expect to see in Vogue. Its latest spread is something headline worthy and revolutionary not because it features women of different shapes and sizes but because of the remarkable fact that Vogue.com doesn’t mention the term “plus size” once. This is not the first time though that the Fashion Giant has made an attempt to positively address a topic as controversial and sensitive as this. In June 2011 Vogue Italia celebrated curvy models when it featured on its Cover plus-size models Candice Huffine, Tara-Lynn, Marquita Pring, and Robyn Lawley in a fetish-inspired lingerie shoot titled ' Belle Vere' (translating to 'True Beauties'). The models lounged around a baroque-inspired apartment, wearing boudoir-esque ensembles by Alberta Ferretti, Dolce & Gabbana, and Agent Provocateur all styled by Edward Enninful. Although it was a brilliant effort by its editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani to highlight the beauty of women, it was less welcomed and its message was lost in translation.

The topic of women's bodies is what trends above all the rest today and the fashion industry seriously needs to wake up and make amends. Although the industry has always claimed to value healthy body types, it has discriminated against plus-size models for a very long time. Body Diversity has been debated endlessly, and is something that has "seemingly" been welcomed, with the fashion industry still following its tradition of idealizing impossibly slender bodies. Today, we continue to see fashion predominately on thin bodies because that’s what we've been fed with. At one point no one could imagine what the alternative would like and when many Plus sized models like Robyn Lawley and Sophie-Tweed Simons started appearing with their healthy and beautiful bodies it was initially deemed uncomfortable but as their careers started flourishing it became somewhat acceptable (though they’re still made to seem like outsiders).

In what was slow coming and way overdue at last year’s New York Fall Fashion Week, the first plus-size collection strutted down the runway, breaking 60 years of the industry’s love for all things skinny. Back in 2010, the fashion industry did undergo a brief phase when models of varying sizes were used in high fashion campaigns of major fashion houses. However that was quickly missed. The recent mislabeling of Myla Dalbesio as plus-size is perhaps the right time to address and set things straight. Calvin Klein's choosing of a model with a healthy figure to be part of its new "Perfectly Fit" underwear campaign is a significant and positive step towards a permanent change.

The fashion world’s ideal of feminine beauty is currently in a state of transition and the normalization of more substantial bodies would indeed represent a positive shift and address the issue of body diversity. We need to see more average-sized women in media, to integrate them more in as many editorials and campaigns as possible and to rid the weird world of fashion of its long borne distinction and definition of Plus-Sized. As Robyn Lawley, Australia’s first “plus size” model, told the London Times once “I wish we could all be known as models, rather than ‘plus-size.’" and that is indeed what the Fashion Industry desperately needs.


What do you think about Vogue's Initiative towards body diversity and the plus-size debate in the fashion industry? Tweet @fmd1_com using the hashtag #lovefmd !

Head over to Vogue.com to see more stunning photos of the beautifully inspiring shoot below and check out ALDA for more info on their mission.




By
Clinton