The modeling industry has become more inclusive, but only if you fit the requirements. Models still have to be tall to do most commercial shoots. To be a plus-size model, you have to fit the sizing criteria which includes having a waist 10″ smaller than your hips. Also, the inclusiveness in men’s fashion is way behind women’s.
Many runways shows use tall models (5’8″) and up because artistic garments sit nicer on taller bodies. However, in commercial modeling I don’t see the need for tall bodies. It still baffles me that companies will use tall models to represent clothing that doesn’t even fit them. American brand Brandy Melville is very popular among teenage girls. Their clothes fit the average to smaller sized person. Most of their pants have a 26-28″ inseam. However, most of their models are over 5’8, not to mention their horrendous “one size fits all” sizing. It’s a shame to see such nice clothes only catered to one body type. Brandy Melville model Summer McKeen recently stated in one of her YouTube videos that “I picked up their one size fits all jeans and they wouldn’t even zip” and that “there is more than one body type.”
Even plus size models are put in a box they have to fit into, according to Stylecraze, “Sizes 12-14 are ideal for print media. While 18 is considered great for modeling, anywhere between 18-22 fit the bill for runways. Height is a crucial parameter, so anywhere between 5’9” to 6” is ideal for high fashion. However, for commercial modeling, you need to match their requirement of body and face type. It is a general understanding that your waist needs to be 10” lesser than your hips.” Plus size models are often only accepted if they are “slim-thick,” meaning they have a larger bust and hips but small waist.
We often fail to recognize that men in the modeling industry are also put in a small box. There is so much focus on women in the modeling industry, it is easy to brush men’s beauty standards aside because there aren’t as many male models. However, there was only one plus size model during men’s fashion week. Men need representation too, body positivity is not a gendered concept.
Some brands taking the lead with diverse models are ASOS, Aerie and Chnge. ASOS is a trendy British online retailer that sells clothes in tall, petite and plus sizes. Aerie recently had their “Aerie Real” campaign which encourages inclusiveness in the modeling industry. Chnge is a gender neutral clothing line known for their shirts with political statements.
Society and the modeling industry are on the right track, but some companies need to consider if they are truly representing everyone. Men should have just as much body positivity as women. Companies should not have a pathetic “one size fits all” policy that doesn’t even fit their models. Plus-size models or just models in general shouldn’t have to have the perfect hip-to-waist ratio. What models should be is healthy and confident.