Breaking boundaries: ‘Plus-size’ models evolve the fashion industry

The fashion world is always evolving, trying new things, breaking boundaries and setting new trends through clothes. But now, through plus size models, the fashion world is evolving.

Sports Illustrated made headlines recently by having the first plus-size model, Ashley Graham, featured in its swimsuit issue. The first swimsuit issue was published in 1964; after 51 years, a plus-size model is finally getting the chance to represent “curvy” women.

“I know my curves are sexy, and I want everyone else to know that theirs are too,” Graham said, according to The Daily Mail. “There is no reason to hide and every reason to flaunt. The world is ready for more curves in bikinis.”

Graham definitely isn’t afraid to share her body with the world and embraces her figure. This is encouraging to women of all sizes because she is showing women that no matter what size you are, you can still be sexy on major platforms such as billboards and magazine covers.

Biology major Christina Graham said she believes “real” women should be represented in the fashion world.

“The Sports Illustrated model is a size 12, so that’s not really plus size — it’s kind of average,” Graham said. “Beauty has no boundaries and no size. It can be a little discouraging to women to always see a size 2 in magazines, like they are the only ones that can wear a certain something.”

The media plays a major role on how thicker women are perceived in the fashion world. When you do see women in fashion they are often thin which can discourage thicker women because, it sends a message that they don’t belong.

If there is no reflection of all body types on the major media platforms, it can be harder for women to find beauty within themselves.

It is refreshing to see a curvy woman being seen as sexy and not being afraid to flaunt her body. Women come in so many different shapes, sizes and heights, but these factors shouldn’t limit their beauty.

The fashion industry is a representation of what is beautiful, whether that be clothes or the people who model them. All women want to feel fabulous without thinking they have to lose 50 pounds.

The fashion industry has also reached another milestone moment by having the first plus-size model sign to an elite agency. Model Tess Holliday, who is a size 22, signed to MiLK Model Management.

Holliday opened up about her journey to Hollywood Life and revealed she wants all women to celebrate their body, regardless of what others say.

“Everybody deserves to be happy, but for some reason the fact that I happen to be plus-size and happy seems to bother people,” Holliday said.

There has always been a separation between plus-size models and other models. Holliday and Graham are breaking down barriers and allowing new opportunities for women of different sizes. Of course, this is only the beginning of a long road.

Hopefully, one day the phrase “plus-size” will no longer exist and a model will be respected for her work and not because she is a particular size. It is refreshing to think that one day in the near future during New York Fashion Week, a size 12 woman could have the opportunity to walk for Chanel, Tom Ford or other high-end brands.

Education freshman Che’Keva Peoples said she feels plus-size women should be accepted.

“The industry should love every woman’s body and their size,” Peoples said. “Not everyone is a toothpick, so you have to accept what the world has.”

All women in all sizes are beautiful, and the fashion industry should reflect that the majority of clothing consumers are bigger than a size 2.

Opinion columnist Faith Alford is a journalism sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]

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