Why Project Runway’s Move to Include Plus Models is MAJOR

The Emmy-winning show will be changing it up this coming season.

The show’s recent announcement that it will be using a more diverse set of models (according to reports, up to a size 22) has people talking, especially those in the plus size fashion industry.

While Business Insider said, “With the finale show taking place at New York Fashion week, Project Runway will have the most size-inclusive runways in its history“, the news has also been met with skepticism.

Some have said that the size cutoff should be expanded to over a size 22. Some are curious to see which models will be used. Will a size-22 model actually make it on Project Runway?

That remains to be seen since Project Runway most likely gets their models from agencies and it’s rare to find a size-22 model signed to any agency board. The typical signed model under a plus size/curve board is usually between sizes 12 and 18.

However, we still think this move from Project Runway is a positive thing and here’s why:

  • There’s sure to be a plethora of size 16/18 models. With the average American woman a size 16/18, seeing visibly plus models that size would be a great thing because we still don’t see those bodies prominently represented on TV, despite it being the average size.
  • This may lead to more TV opportunities featuring plus size models. Project Runway is such a popular show that we are sure this move is going to impact the fashion industry overall and how they view plus size models, especially the inclusion of them into shows. Nina Garcia said during an interview on Good Morning America: “The perception of beauty really changes throughout the times. We went from, like, Twiggy to the supermodel to the waif. Now, happily, the industry is embracing body diversity and so are we. I’m very proud to be a part of a show that has full-figured women, real women, designers designing for women with real body types.
  • This will lead to more model diversity in mainstream fashion culture. We have already seen it happening with Christian Siriano including plus models in his NYFW runway shows and models such as Ashley Graham, Hunter McGrady and Candice Huffine going mainstream. While they may not be visibly plus, they’re all still a size 14+ so them being mainstream is a step in the right direction of more size inclusion in the fashion industry.
  • Speaking of NYFW, this move will also impact that runway as well. We continue to see more diversity on the NYFW runway in the last few years and with the inclusion of plus size models on Project Runway, their finale NYFW presentation may be the most size-diverse in the show’s history.

This move also opens that dialogue in the mainstream fashion industry about what the term “plus size” means when it comes to the modeling industry (right now any model over a size 6 is considered plus size) and that it’s a positive thing to include visibly plus models alongside straight side models.

Sure, many of us would love to see size 22+ models on the runway and TV but for now, let’s celebrate this small win as it means change is happening.

The new season of Project Runway premieres on August 17 on Lifetime.

What do you think about Project Runway using plus size models? Follow us on social media @plusmodelmag and let us know.