Disclaimer: The following does not express the opinions or views of TRUE Model Management. Rather, it is a neutral account of a real world issue involving the world of modeling.
Modeling Size Controversy
Fashion, modeling, and controversy seem to be intimately linked. TRUE has been following one of the hottest, and arguably one of the oldest, controversial topics in the fashion world: Model Sizes. Now, TRUE is presenting the heated debate to our readers and asking what do YOU think? TRUE hopes to spark conversations by keeping our readers up-to-date with the latest fashion news. TRUE seeks to report the hottest news in an unbiased way, and provide an outlet for you to express your opinions. For more information, please click our links, read the related articles and post comments.
Sizing Models Up
H&M is not new to the controversial spotlight and has been the center of recent model-size debates. In 2013, H&M was criticized for showcasing models who were too thin. Surprising to many, H&M spokesperson Karin Bringevall concurred with the critics stating, “We agree that some of our models are too thin, and it’s something that we are going to look over.” Bringevall’s email expressed concern on behalf of the company asserting, “This is a very important issue for us and something we are working to improve.” However, some question whether H&M has improved, and whether the company is using appropriately sized models for their catalogues.
H&M is once again the center of controversy after the models featured in H&M+, the plus-sized catalogue, has sparked debate. Many feel that the models posing for the H&M+ line were too small for plus size, as the same model could wear a size medium in their missy or straight size line. Regarding the controversy, H&M’s representative, Håcan Andersson, released a statement claiming that all of the models were at least a EU size 44 or US size 14, meeting the plus size requirement. Although Andersson defends the models’ sizes, she also acknowledges that the models’ sizes are open to “interpretation,” as to whether they should be considered plus size or not. However, critics insist H&M’s decision to label these models as plus size is inaccurate and many believe that it does not truly represent plus size women.
Some feel that this mislabeling of models as plus size is harmful, as it is setting an inaccurate and rigid standard for defining plus size modeling. PLUS Model Magazine and SWAK collaborated to conduct an interesting social experiment on the public perception of plus size modeling. In this experiment, two images of a single model were placed side by side and viewers were asked to select the image they preferred.
In the first image, the model posed in a slim fitted olive-colored dress and accentuated her curvy figure. In the second image, the model wore a black dress in a similar silhouette with a conservative wrap, and posed in a way that minimized her curvy figure. PLUS Model Magazine expected the first image, with the model emphasizing her curvy figure, to win. However, when viewers were asked which image they preferred- the results were split. PLUS Model Magazine interpreted this outcome to mean that the “public is becoming conditioned by what they see” and suggested that the first image may have been “too curvy for comfort.” Ironically, while the public is becoming more aware of plus size modeling, it is also becoming more conditioned to these images of smaller plus size models, resulting in other plus sizes being disregarded.
Breaking Standards and Stereotypes
Stereotypes and standards seem to be an inescapable part of the modeling environment. Just because a standard or stereotype exists, does not mean it is right, and it does not mean it cannot be challenged.
Last week, American Eagle Outfitters brand, Aerie, launched a new campaign that replaced supermodels with “real” models and banned photoshoppping of the models’ images. The new campaign seeks to challenge the supermodel standard and empower women to embrace their bodies.
Aerie is not the first brand to challenge the “supermodel standard”. In 2004, Dove launched The Campaign for Real Beauty, confronting the stereotypical images of beauty. Dove’s campaign sought to redefine the societal standard for beauty. Along with the campaign controversy, it successfully brought awareness to their cause and provoked discussions regarding how beauty is prevalently defined in society.
While the intention behind Aerie’s campaign is admirable, critics are concerned that the models are not representing “real” women, and fear there may still be a bias towards specific body types. However, others argue that Aerie’s campaign is well intended and a step in the right direction.
TRUE wants to know…what do YOU think?
- Are Dove and Aerie representing “real” women in their campaigns?
- Do you think the models posing for H&M+ accurately represent plus size?
- Should the label “plus size” be banished?
- What terminology do you prefer:
- Plus Size
Let us know what YOU think in our comments section below.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Until Next Wednesday,