What is a "plus size model"?

The fashion house has always had buzz swirling around them whether it be Kate Moss's nipple or Mark Wahlberg's bulge; Calvin Klein knows how to get people talking. The latest reason for fuss surrounds their latest model, a size ten, who has been doing the press circuit and been dubbed by the media (not CK themselves) a "plus size model." Though Myla Dalbesio is Calvin Klein's curviest model in history, Dalbesio considers herself an "in-between" model and you can see why. The tug from the media and brands to exploit these beautiful women is constant. Jennie Runk's campaign for H&M comes to mind, as does Robin Lawley, another "in-between" who can be seen in plus size campaigns for Ralph Lauren.

The size of models is an ongoing battle in the fashion industry as a whole it seems. There seems to be a Goldilocks complex with them often being too small or too large, and never really just right. Vogue made efforts to standardize sizing and emphasize health, but those efforts have long since been talked about. Even within the plus size industry there is lots of segmentation surrounding model size and what the right size is. Each brand philosophy, customer base and vibe is different.

"I'm softer than most models. Many mainstream plus size models could be considered athletic. At a size 14 on top and 16 on bottom, I think I am a representation of the average American woman. I think they can identify with me." Rayna Alvarez, a SWAK favorite who also models for various brands says. SWAK understands the importance of aspiration but strives to cast women who look like our customers. We value the representation of the everyday woman. No matter what size you are, models serve various purposes. One of those purposes is to give people something to look up to, to envy, to mimic, yet it is challenging to understand how one's own body might look enveloped in the same silhouettes when one isn't a size two, or even a size 12, as most plus models are. Though there are many reasons we could come up with for why and how and who we cast, we really wanted to hear from our SWAK community about their thoughts on model size and the Calvin Klein controversy. Pattie, a SWAK customer explains, "I want to see someone that looks like me wearing the clothes I'm shopping for, this lovely model might be considered plus size in the modeling world, but not in the real world."

When it comes to finding inspiration and style influence, Amy, commented on the SWAK Facebook, "I look to myself for inspiration and there is not a person/photo on this earth that can alienate me." Shannon says, "I don't find my self worth or identity in the commercialism of a product or brand. If I see that their product doesn't suit my needs I move along. They won't hear my voice (which they don't care about) but they won't get my papers either (which is really all they care about)."

Others felt strongly that these type of issues pit women against each other. "Why can't women rejoice in the fact that he's using more realistic body types? Was it in poor taste to call her plus size? Yes. It's great that they are using a more realistic, healthier body type as compared to models in the past" Brittanie states. Amanda commented, "Please stop pitting women against women especially when it comes to our bodies. We get it enough. The model is a size 10 in fashion that is plus, that is old news, get over it. She beautiful, your beautiful...can't that just be enough???"

We love hearing from our SWAK sisters and hope you will continue to share your thoughts with us!

Keep the conversation going! Join in on our Facebook.

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