What is plus size?

plus_size_discussion

On Elle a great article about “what do you think about the term ‘plus size’?”

plus size is confusing and misleading

“What, you’re plus size? But you look normal size. Yes, maybe in the real world. And that’s why it’s confusing, because the fahion industry standards are totally different.” This is the answer every ‘plus size’ models have to give every time they tell about their job.

There’s no universal definition for what constitutes “plus size” in the fashion industry, but historically, the phrase has been used to describe models who weren’t “straight size,” meaning the sample size 0-4s we tend to see on the runways. “The modeling world starting using the term a little over 30 years ago,” says Dakin, who has a decades-long career as a model agent, starting at Plus, Curve, then Ford’s Plus Board (where he launched the careers of Crystal Renn, Tara Lynn, and Candice Huffine, to name a few), and now his own agency, JAG, which he co-founded with fellow Ford-alum Jaclyn Sarka. The agency is the first of its kind, representing models of all sizes, sans labels. “We have girls sizes 6 to 18 on the site,” he says. “There should be no distinction.” It’s welcome progress, to be sure. Myla Dalbesio for Calvin Klein is also model with JAG.

Still, the label plus size is confusing and misleading. (Here’s one simple way to understand it, according to model Lauren Chan: “In the world of modeling, it’s used to categorize models above the ‘normal’ straight size, which typically ends at a 4. In consumer culture, plus size is used to categorize shoppers above the ‘normal’ size range of 0-12. A lot of the discrepancy comes from not acknowledging the two different meanings of the singular term.”)

Several models, all of whom are represented by JAG MODELS, share their thoughts about size in the fashion industry. Georgina Burke, Jennie Runk, Lauren Chan, Sabina Karlsson, and Iskra Lawrence on the label ‘plus size’. The state of size acceptance and diversity in the fashion industry today.

Jenny_Runk_plus_size

Jennie Runk
“If a person is beautiful, they’re beautiful, no matter what the tag in their jeans says.”

What do you think of the phrase plus size? The term ‘plus size’ is just a term used to describe a body type, like tall, short, athletic, curvy, or anything else. I don’t see anything negative about it, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being called plus size. To me, it’s just a label. Some people call me plus size; some people say I’m not. It makes no difference to me. Some people call my hair brunette and some call it dirty blonde, that means as much to me as whether or not I’m called plus size. How other people describe me doesn’t define how I see myself.

What words do you like to use to describe size? I often refer to myself as a ‘large person,’ because I am, literally, large. I’m taller and bigger than many of my female friends. I simply take up more space; I’ve always been that way. I don’t care what the fashion industry calls me. If they want to call me plus size, that’s fine with me. If they want to call me a model, that’s fine, too. I’m not ashamed or afraid of my body type. I’m not ashamed or afraid of any words people might use to describe it.

Sabina_Karlsson_plus_size

Sabina Karlsson
” I believe that diversity is something society needs; we’re all different and that’s how it’s always going to be. More diversity!”

What do you think of the phrase plus size? The phrase ‘plus size’ doesn’t really bother me, it’s just a very indescribable word. What is plus size? For a long time, labeling someone as ‘plus size’ has often [meant] something negative. It’s easier to tell someone how skinny they look, and that would be a positive meaning. This is nothing I support, and I’m very glad that there’s an ongoing change within accepting different body types.

What words do you like to use to describe size? I would want to get described as curvy. I’m healthy and I’ve got my curves. I don’t mind being called a plus size model by the fashion industry. Even though outside of it, I wouldn’t be categorized as plus size. I think we should drop the phrases. I am a model, that should be it.

Georgina_Burke_plus_size

Georgina Burke
“Why should we be surprised to see women in magazines who represent what women really look like?”

What do you think of the phrase “plus size”? It’s an insignificant term used by the fashion industry that shouldn’t be crossed over in the every day language of describing someone’s size. There is no need to segregate between models because, at the end of the day, we are all models. I know what I am, and that’s all that matters. I don’t want someone to judge their body against mine and critique themselves when they look at me and use the label plus size.

What words do you like to use to describe size? I use ‘women of size’ a lot when discussing the industry, but other then that, I don’t like to divide between the two. It is what it is. There is no term I would rather be used then another; I’d more prefer if just everyone were on the same level playing field.

Lauren_Chan_plus_size

Lauren Chan
“Plus size models, or whatever the hell you want to call them, are changing the shape of the fashion industry.”

What do you think of the phrase plus size? I think ‘plus size’ is a loaded term to many people. In the world of modeling, it’s used to categorize models above the ‘normal’ straight size, which typically ends at a 4. In consumer culture, plus size is used to categorize shoppers above the ‘normal’ size range of 0-12. A lot of discrepancy comes from not acknowledging the two different meanings of the singular term. I see a few trends with that discrepancy. One, when plus size consumers become angry about plus size models representing them, even when they are many sizes smaller. And secondly when plus size models (and consumers) take a stand against being labeled plus size. I think a lot of people think that much could be resolved by moving away from the use of the term plus size.

What words do you like to use to describe size? I don’t dislike any of the terms used to describe size. I do dislike when there’s bad intention behind any of those terms. Anyone can use any term positively! GabiFresh attempted to reclaim the word fat with her fatkini initiative. When I began plus size modeling, I was proud as hell of the term, because I felt like I was part of a movement to get curvier women more visibility. I still don’t dislike the term ‘plus size’. I understand that industry veterans want to keep models categorized using terms and boards. Whether that’s an ode to tradition, the most efficient option, or an effect of being uninformed, I’m not sure. All I know is that I’m proud of myself, my body, and my work, so what someone else labels me doesn’t affect me.

Iskra_Lawrence_plus_size

Iskra Lawrence
“It will hopefully be the norm soon for different size models to be featured in campaigns without anyone being categorized.”

What do you think of the phrase “plus size”? That’s exactly what I think of it…simply a phrase and a label. I don’t believe plus size is fraught at all—or at least I hope it’s not. To most people it’s a bit of a grey area. ‘What? you’re a plus size model? But you look normal size?’ Yes, maybe in the ‘real’ world, and that’s why it’s confusing. The fashion industry standards are totally different.

What words do you like to use to describe size? Well I wouldn’t really describe size, as to me, it’s a range of numbers. And if I was to describe my size I would use curvy, healthy, shapely. I love my body and really don’t see myself as a size but more of a shape. I would simply like to be called a model, because that is what I am regardless of my size.

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