Why We Need To See Models of ALL Sizes on The Runway

The size requirements for plus size models has changed over the years.

Just a mere six years ago, people were questioning what the term ‘plus size’ meant in the fashion industry as models sizes 8 to 12 were being used by plus size apparel companies who offer up to a size 32.

Read more: What is Plus Size? PLUS Model Magazine’s January 2014 Issue Bridging The Plus Divide

It’s obvious there was a huge disconnect between what the industry perceived as ‘plus size’ versus what plus size customers actually looked like.

Read more: PLUS Model Magazine Survey Results – We Asked, You Answered… What is ‘Plus Size’?

The result of the frustration of this disconnect birthed the use of the term ‘visibly plus size‘. The hashtag, founded by plus model Alex Larosa, gained traction via women above a size 18, who proudly used the hashtag on social media as a way to show the industry what ‘plus size’ women actually looked like. The hashtag now has 69,953 posts and continues to be popular.

Read more: Plus Models Unite Using #VisiblyPlusSize on Instagram

Fast forward to 2019…

The average American woman now wears a size 16/18 and models have gotten larger as well. It’s now the norm to see a size-18 model on websites for major brands and on the runway. Visibly plus size models such as Hunter McGrady and Tess Holliday have become household names with McGrady even being featured in Sports Illustrated’s iconic Swim Issue Holliday being on the cover of People Magazine.

But that’s not enough.

The latest hot term to be used is “size inclusive“. Many mainstream brands have extended sizes and consider their brands size inclusive. Yet they stop at a size 24 and 3X. While models on the runway have gotten larger, a model over a size 22 is rarely seen on a major runway.

Read More: Size Inclusive Where? Brands Continue to Miss The Mark in Expanding Sizes

Tess Holliday walked the runway for Chromat during their 10th Anniversary Spring/Summer 2020 NY Fashion Week show in a dress that had “Sample Size” printed all over it. It was yet again a way to let the industry know that sample size 4’s are a thing of the past.

That move speaks volume and shows how change is coming. However, credit must be given to the smaller independent events, organizations, brands and designers who are truly pushing for true size inclusivity.

One of those brands is special occasion retailer Sydney’s Closet, who dominates in this segment, offering up to size 40 and being passionate about dressing women of all sizes.

The brand even makes a point of requesting larger sized models over a size 22 to walk in their runway shows.

Earlier this year, their runway show at the SuStyleXpo in Puerto Rico drew a standing ovation where the largest model was a size 26. All the models strutted their stuff in evening gowns, cocktail dresses and wedding gowns.

That show and others such as the ones held by The Curvy Fest, NAAFA, Knock Out, DreamWalk and Curvy Chic Closet are just a few truly size inclusive events that are not hesitant to show models of all sizes on the runway.

NAAFA Runway Show 2019

Why do we need to see models of ALL sizes on the runway or on a website?

Simply because the plus size customer deserves to see someone who looks like them, wearing the clothes that they’re considering buying. They are spending their money on a brand and is worthy of seeing how that garment will look on a body that looks like theirs.

Also, on a personal front, size inclusivity means inclusion of ALL.

No one gets left behind.

Fashion is personal and leaving out an entire segment of people based on them being “too large” or not considered “plus size” is not a positive way to appeal to customers.

Fashion should not be dictated by size and a person’s worth shouldn’t be either.

There is another argument from a financial perspective that speaks to the higher cost of creating larger sizes. We will explore that in an upcoming article so stay tuned.

Check back on the blog this week for more of Sydney’s Closet, who held their latest runway show at The Curvy Fest in Cancun, Mexico.

How do you feel about seeing visibly plus size models, including those over a size 24, on the runway and on websites? Follow us on social media @plusmodelmag and let us know:  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter