With every new year, new fashion week and new runway casting, the calls for more diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry gets louder. Brands are now starting to realise that real women aren’t always a size 4 model – they come in all shapes and sizes, and they all want to feel beautiful and confident just the way they are. And one of the ways we can do that is by showing them that ‘normal’ women in all those shapes and sizes can be on the cover of their favourite magazines, display clothes in their favourite shops and be just as successful in the fashion industry as the ‘standard size’ skinny models. So today, we wanted to showcase just a few of the women who are out there doing exactly that, and making a difference in the fashion world.
Ashley Graham is maybe one of the most well-known plus-size models on the circuit right now, becoming one of the de-facto face of the body positivity movement, and for good reason. More recently, she’s made waves by appearing in Vogue in a series of unretouched photos, and was the first plus-size women to appear in Sports Illustrated. What’s even more impressive is that she’s now strutting her stuff on the catwalk alongside the likes of Kendall Jenner and Kaia Gerber. She’s made such an impact as a plus-sized model that she appeared on the cover of Vogue again, with a title declaring ‘no norm is the new norm’. This is a huge step forward in the body-positivity movement, and she’s been a major player in the promotion of plus-sized modelling in mainstream culture.
We can’t talk about plus-size models without mentioning the wonderful Tess Holliday. She is considered the spark behind the big is beautiful movement, and has been an advocate for plus-size women her whole career. In 2015 she made headlines for becoming the world’s first plus-size model signed to a major agency, flaunting her size 22 curves on magazines and TV ads. Her loud, bold and brash attitude lead to her creating the hashtag #EffYourBeautyStandards, encouraging women of all shapes and sizes to love their bodies and feel beautiful in them. In our opinion, she’s a beacon of hope, happiness and acceptance in the plus-size world, and we wish there were more models like her around. Such is our adoration, we even wrote a blog about Tess last year, and how she’s championing the world of plus size fashion.
Amy Lemons is an interesting one. For a lot of her career she was considered a ‘straight sized’ model, because she fitted the industry standard model sizes. She landed her first big job at just 14, starring on the cover of Italian Vogue. She spent the next few years appearing on the covers of Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Elle and Marie Claire, as well as starring in campaigns for a number of high-end brands including Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton. But once she graduated college, she started speaking out about the industry’s ‘zero standard’, and promoting healthy self-esteem for young women. During this time she transitioned into becoming a plus-size model, and has flaunted her curves ever since, promoting good mental health and self-esteem for young women.
Philomena Kwao is a fantastic woman, model and all-round person. The kind of women you want to be best friends with. Not only is she an amazingly beautiful plus-size model, but she is a huge supporter of diversity, maternal health and women’s rights, as well as being a fierce role model for positive body image and self-love. When she’s not in front of the camera or on a runway, she runs a charity called The Lily Project, speaks out on healthcare reform and tackles diversity in the modelling world, for both race and size. We can’t wait to see more of her on the runway and in the media!
So that’s it for now – our favourite plus-size models. These are just some of the amazing ladies out there. As the body positivity movement starts to really have an impact and society embraces women of all shapes and sizes, we hope to see more and more plus-size models emerging and making a name for themselves.