Drop The Plus … Take 2

Early disclaimer – this topic has pretty riled us – so apologies in advance for any waffling that happens or any tangents that emerge. For those that haven’t read our original #droptheplus post, find it here

If you still want some further reading we suggest this piece by Styleit http://styleitonline.com/plus-size/droptheplus-is-problematic/

Most pieces we have seen on the whole shenanigan have pretty much ignored the fact there is a large group of women who are going WTF is this about – but we are all doing it in a far more informed, sensible and eloquent way than that. As previously mentioned from a simple business perspective it makes no sense. We aren’t talking about just the phrase plus size, we are talking about a whole industry, a fashion subplot fighting to take a leading part and that movement has been in progression for a long time. The term plus size both when used with the terms model and fashion was, until this point, re-writing fashion history in a really positive way. It was a movement, an embraced phrase that found a place for women in an industry that had rejected them and many find the terminology and the momentum behind it unbelievably empowering. We can more often than not choose the phrases that offend us and we can also work on re-writing their meaning and connotation.

That is what so many amazing women and men have worked towards. That is what SLiNK has been working towards, redefining the way plus size fashion, plus size women, plus size models are seen within the media and when a reader spotted SLiNK on the shelf of a local store in between Vogue and Elle, well that was it. That was what we had wanted since day one. To put curves, to put plus size on the shelf next to the mainstream glossies. No one wants a separate fashion industry. Everyone just wants all brands to sell all sizes to all women. But here is the reality check time, it hasn’t happened and we are pretty far away from it. So until then it is about being leading lights. Being proud to represent and show the way, teach those that sit in fashion ivory towers, who fear the idea of working with plus models, that plus size fashion editorial can be on par with and when the team is right, even better than some mainstream fashion work.

Because no one, least not the plus size industry ever suggested for a mere second that our models were substandard. They aren’t second class because they are ‘plus size models’ and yet here we find ourselves in the situation, where a selection of plus size models, have turned around to the industry that gave them a break and essentially stuck two fingers up at it.

Just as a side note here, as previously mentioned, all models are labelled – from plus to lingerie to editorial or commercial. Models are there to represent a product and the brand needs to know where and what they’re looking for to book the most appropriate girl. Plus is simply a way of a brand knowing that the size of the model is more inline with their product and consumer base. And while a certain agent is talking about renaming the models Curve – this is already a standard terminology. The model boards are mainly referred to as Curve by agencies anyway – so the point there is totally mute.

(Now we all know and I’ve heard it on more than one occasion that many plus size women don’t feel represented by those we call plus size models. Traditionally the fashion industry classes anything 12 and above as ‘plus size’ – in modelling terms. This is primarily because first fashion samples come in a size 6/8 (the size of straight size models) and also back in the days before brands realised that the average woman was a fuller figured 14/16 brands especially designer ones would stop at a 12. Making 14 a plus size. Now as the high street and designers began to cater for larger bodies, the modelling side of the industry didn’t really change. We are definitely seeing more diversity in modelling – mainly ushered in by the emergence of curve boards at agencies to cater for the growing demand for different body shapes, but of course we will see many changes going forward I’m sure.)

There are still of course loads of models out there that are happy to wear the badge of plus size model with pride, knowing that in their own way, their bodies are challenging the ‘norm’ for the established fashion elite. Those are the models we want to champion. The ones that even if they know they might not be classed as ‘plus size women’ in the shopping sense, they have already done so much to draw attention to a sector of the market that is no longer being ignored. Taking away terminology such as plus size is once again an attempt to sweep representation of fuller figured women under the carpet. It is only by using descriptors and talking openly and in a positive way about these terms that we can slowly remind and enforce the idea that fashion and beauty comes in a range of sizes.

The most worrying part of the #droptheplus campaign though has to be the way that those wanting to keep the terminology have largely been silenced and ignored by mainstream media. Because at the very core of this argument – the idea of #droptheplus still highlights our horror that we can take a beautiful model and call her #plussize because  that is essentially calling her fat and a. how can she be beautiful if she is fat and b. how can you call someone fat (because that is the ultimately worse thing a person, especially a woman can be).

The campaign for #droptheplus is irresponsible and quite frankly far more offensive than the terminology itself. Until sample sizes change there will always be limited opportunities for models that are  above a size 8. But you know what, yes those opportunities might seem limited, but they are great. Look at the incredible campaigns with plus models out there at the moment, look around at the opportunities to champion those consumers and brands that held out their hand when fashion slammed the door in your face.

But if you still want to be #justamodel then go right ahead, because with that attitude…

You Cant Sit With Us.


-- Editor-in-Chief SLiNK Magazine