A very good article on Refinery29 about ‘why plus size representation has a long way to go’ by Laila Garcia. Finally a strong and honest article about this subject. Most of the websites, platforms are afraid to write about is.
Stylist Solange Franklin , Fashion Editor At Large for Paper:
When you feature someone in an editorial and they are half-naked, then it becomes about their body, no matter what they do
Tara Lynn and Georgia Pratt
The interview with Solange Franklin, explains a lot. She says exactly what I am saying for years. And also my experience as a stylist. It’s hard to collect items in a particular style or theme in larger sizes, than a size 36 EU sample size.
“Choice is an important part of the fashion process. Go backstage at a fashion shoot and you might be shocked at the amount of clothes that are required — three to four full racks — just to get four pictures. There is a stereotype of the magazine editor as a person working on a mixture of ridiculous proclamations as inspirations for photoshoots; She’s an alien in Morocco! An ascetic who loves palm trees! A clown into BDSM! When you take samples out of the equation, the creativity becomes limited. Which means that for those models lucky enough to end up getting a look during a shoot, one of three things will typically happen: they’ll be styled in lingerie or ‘retro’, swimsuits, they’re dressed in an oversized coat (usually a trench coat), or if all else fails, they get to wear half-a-dress, like Candice Huffine did for her Elle May 2017 cover. Sure, we can call that progress, but it seems disingenuous that magazines are able to get a check for their ‘body positive stance’ while not letting said women actively participate in the world of fashion. The fantasy of fashion remains off-limits for these women; their inclusion is still compartmentalized.”
How many times, I wrote about why are the plus size models still wearing NO CLOTHES in the editorials? Why are they always naked? We don’t see any real fashion on models in these category. It’s great to Ashley Graham in editorials, but we do not see real fashion. We see her legs, her boobs and a lot of skin. Most of time it’s only about selling sexy, curves are sexy. Not every plus size woman wants to be a sex symbol. There are so many beautiful plus size models, who are equal to straight size models, who are edgy and are perfect for editorials in fashion magazines. The only reason they show plus size women naked, because the reader sees the model is larger than ‘normal’. If the plus size models are dressed well, no one will notice these are sizes 42 or 44 EU.
Typical: when Crystal Renn lost weight (size 36 EU), she was wearing more clothes in magazines, than when she was a size 42 EU. And Crystal is a model who is really edgy and perfect for high end magazines. Even when she was on her largest.
Also I reason I said ‘NO’ to the tv program ‘the curvy super model’, because I am afraid it will be too much nude: only swimwear, lingerie or even naked. I saw the script and half of all episodes the girls are not wearing much clothes. And, no… it’s not that I am prudish, it’s going back to show that plus zie women are also beautiful, are also sexy. Being a ‘size feminist’, you can be proud of your body in any size, without being naked! I compare it with being a feminist, without wearing dungarees, growing your underarm hair. You can be a feminist on heels and wearing red lipstick! There will not be many shoots where the girls will wear clothes. And that doesn’t feel right to me.
Solange Franklin: “I want to make sure that that’s set in a very intentional way and not so different from what it’s like to dress a straight-sized model.”
And this could be my quote. When I made editorials for magazines, with a size 42 or 44 EU model, I wanted a ‘normal’ style. Dressed the same like if I was working with a size 36 EU model. And yes, it’s possible, later in the season. When the shops are already filled with the new collections. But the big fashion issues, they will appear in march and september, it’s not possible. Because the trends which are shown on the runways during fashion weeks, are not available in plus size brands. And this last thing is an absolutely EYE OPENER and even a WAKE UP CALL! For both worlds: the straight and the plus size industry. The straight, they should produce some runway pieces/samples in 2 sizes: 36 and 42 EU, the stylist will have the choice to work with a larger size model. And the plus size industry should wake up, because they are not having items which are ‘on trend’, their trends are most of the time, too late… not 1 season, mostly 2 seasons late! That’s why it’s not easy to create editorials with trendy items!
Plus size community
And the answer to ‘why plus size representation has a long way to go’. If there are models represented in magazines in sizes 42, 44 EU, who are already 3 to 4 sizes larger than what we are used to. The plus size community is still complaining, because they are not ‘plus’, not ‘fat’ enough to represent the plus size market. ” It will never be okay.” I believe, this should stop. They must realise that this is already so many steps forward. And the market already should be vey happy, it’s already a huge progress. Small steps are needed to achieve the larger sizes later. In the eyes of the plus size community, models/women in sizes 42-48 are still not a representation of the average plus size woman, they are the small sizes. But a reminder: this is the LARGEST GROUP of women all over the world. And the plus size community should realise this, and that’s a real big progress to see these models in magazines.
It was not easy to search for images from plus size models in editorials wearing clothes… haha! I have founds some old ones, which are still very beautiful. With Tara Lynn, Georgia Pratt and Ashley Graham.
Beautiful words from Laila Garcia: “We all deserve a chance to express (and maybe even discover) ourselves through fashion, no matter what our size.” And I confirm this, it’s what I say all the time: every woman deserves to be noticed, deserves to look great!
Tara Lynn and Georgia Pratt