While there may still be a few things that need smoothing out before complete equality is reached, there’s no denying that plus size fashion has had a good few years. With figures showing that the average UK woman is a size 14, retailers are starting to provide more options for fuller figures both in store and online. Not only that, but curvier models are starting to gain more time in the spotlight and establish more of a reputation in the fashion world.
Here are some of the biggest events that saw plus size ladies jumping for joy in recent years.
‘Project Runway’ includes plus size models
Season 16 of ‘Project Runway,’ one of the most popular reality shows on Lifetime, included models from sizes 0 to 22 to encourage designers to show off their skills to create clothing for any size. Rather than being allocated a model to work with throughout the season, designers were tasked with working with models of different shapes and sizes. This led on nicely from Season 14 in which Ashley Nell Tipton’s winning collection featured exclusively plus size designs. Tipton then went on to design a plus size range for US retailer JCPenney.
Barbie gets a makeover
It may not be fashion per se, but it was a large step forward for size equality when Mattel released a range of Barbie dolls with curves. She may have been the world’s best-selling doll for over 50 years, but Barbie was starting to come under a great deal of scrutiny for causing body confidence issues. These newer dolls with more realistic figures and varying skin tones better reflect the world that younger girls see around them.
The first plus-size model on Sports Illustrated
Robyn Lawley is one of the world’s best known plus-size models, and this may largely be down to the fact that she was the first woman of her size to feature on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Looking at the image and you probably think she looks like a natural fit, but her inclusion in the magazine was historic. As a U.S. size 12 (UK size 16), she encompasses a movement to integrate models of different body types into both commercial and high fashion campaigns.
Modelling agencies integrate all women
Some of the world’s biggest modelling agencies have begun to integrate what they consider ‘straight size models’ with their plus size models rather than separating them by category as they had done before. Back in 2013, former Ford agents Gary Dakin and Jaclyn Sarka set up their agency JAG with the goal of putting women of all shapes and sizes on the covers of some of the world’s most reputable fashion magazines. Since then, more agencies have celebrated diversity not only in size but also in race, religion, and gender identity.
Brands and designers embrace plus size fashion
It’s not only modelling agencies embracing uniqueness, either. These days, there’s a whole host of brands and designers who haven’t fallen short of embracing plus size figures and creating garments to suit. It’s thought that social media has played a huge role in this shift, with the likes of Instagram and Twitter providing a platform for women who otherwise felt marginalised to share body-positive selfies and fight back against body shamers. Additionally, there are now online retailers dedicated to plus size fashion, making it much easier for fuller figured women to find clothing that makes them look and feel great. Take Ashleigh Plus Size, for example.