Last month at New York Fashion Week, 16 plus size female models walked the runway at various shows. That number may seem small to some but it speaks volumes to how the fashion diversity is now starting to embrace different bodies on the runway.
However, let’s not forget about big and tall men. I have recently been connecting with some fashion designers whose mission is to provide high-end designer clothing for us. In cultivating these relationships, I am seeing the big & tall men movement also growing within the fashion industry.
So when I saw a post on Facebook announcing that Brandon Kyle Coates of Brandon Kyle (+Menswear) was looking for big and tall males to model on the runway for his first show, I paused. I will admit publicly that I don’t get nervous often. But this? I was reluctant at first.
Read more: Brandon Kyle (+Menswear) Launches Contemporary Plus Size Men’s Clothing Brand
I don’t consider myself the model type. I am a blogger and at times, I prefer to stay in the background.
However, after receiving major encouragement from a few friends (who tagged me on the post), I decided to go for it and submit my name/information.
Honestly, I had no idea that I would be selected but you never know until you put yourself out there. I was later excited to learn that I had been selected. Then I realized… I really have to model and walk on a runway.
As the event date grew closer, I became even more nervous. I even considered dropping out of the event! Then I reminded myself of the work I do and the impact that I have on men that feel ignored and passed over in the fashion industry and knew I had to do this.
On the day of the event, I was nervous but determined to just do it. I studied the routine that the assistant gave us and I felt comfortable… until the seats started to fill.
I couldn’t sit still. My palms were sweating too much for my liking. I had to drink a couple of glasses of wine to loosen up.
Many of my fellow models kept asking me if I was okay. I admitted to them that I was nervous. However, I pushed through it because this was my way of providing a voice within a growing movement and community. That was more important than nervousness.
My size shouldn’t limit my styling options. Much of my blog deals with body diversity issues and recognizing that beauty doesn’t relate to size.
Guess what? I didn’t do too bad.
I’m happy I did it. It was a experience to not only be a model but to also lend my voice and presence to support this movement. I connected with other male models and bloggers and it truly feels like a brotherhood.
Don’t just take my word for it… here’s what other plus size men in the industry had to say about walking a runway and being a part of this amazing movement:
Model Ady Del Valle (@iam_adydelv on Instagram):
“My first time hitting the runway was amazing. For me, it was more like a wave of emotions and feelings. I felt excited, nervous, anxious but in a good way because I wanted to make sure I did my best to represent us bigger guys the best way I could. My main purpose in walking in the fashion show was to send the message that no matter how you look or your size, with a bit of confidence, you can change everyone’s perspective and outlook on how they see us bigger people. We can be fly and rock the latest look with little effort. This movement is for everyone, big or small. I’m beyond grateful and happy that I was one of the people chosen to represent this body positive moment with my fellow Brawn brothers who I know had the same purpose.”
Model Tremayne Williams (@treyadonis7 on Instagram):
“I feel excited to be a part of the body positivity movement. This is bigger than just myself. I am honored to represent so many people that should feel confident in their own skin. The runway was just an opportunity for everyone to embrace the fact that beauty comes in all sizes! I look forward to new opportunities to show the world just how beautiful plus size is too!”
Blogger and model Marquis Neal (@marquimode on Instagram):
“Personally, my experience was amazing in many aspects. I met Brandon when he asked me to shoot his campaign for his online store and I could tell his energy and soul was put into the clothes, which made it so great when he asked me to walk for him in his show. As a model, it was both exciting and freeing being able to be in a room full of people who wanted to celebrate not only the clothes, but the people / body types representing them.
For me, being a part of the body positive movement is so important to me, not only because it is inspiring, but because I get to represent an entire group of people who also identity with my same body type. The plus size community is made up of so many different and beautiful body types that go unrepresented. Being able to showcase more just one type is super important to me. Getting to share this platform with so many other awesome and beautiful plus size men/woman who also are celebrated for having other body types is a warm feeling that is honestly, indescribable. All bodies are beautiful, and I am so happy that we are in a time to bring this kind of awareness to something so simple and beautiful as the body you have.”
With the industry now being more accepting of different bodies and sizes, this is just the beginning for men AND women. The movement isn’t for vanity purposes. The work is all about the movement.
Special thanks to Brandon Kyle Coates of Brandon Kyle (+Menswear) for giving me the opportunity to represent his brand on the runway at his first fashion show.