Katya Zharkova, a plus-size model, and a magazine dedicated to them, have launched a new campaign critical of the fashion industry’s demand for ultra-thin models. “Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8 percent less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23 percent less,” the pair claim.
Plus Model magazine demonstrates the difference by posing a plus-size model with a thin model more typical of the industry. It’s calling on consumers to pressure retailers to stop promoting thinness and start catering to average size women. Most models in fashion are anorexic, according to a widely accepted Body Mass Index (BMI), it says.
“Ten years ago plus-size models averaged between size 12 and 18. Today the need for size diversity within the plus-size modeling industry continues to be questioned. The majority of plus-size models on agency boards are between a size 6 and 14, while the customers continue to express their dissatisfaction,” the magazine says.
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Women who wear size 14 or larger make up half the female population, yet the clothing industry only caters to women size 14 or smaller, says the magazine’s editor-in-chief,Madeline Figueroa-Jones, in an editorial note.
“We are bombarded with weight-loss ads every single day, multiple times a day because it’s a multi-billion dollar industry that preys on the fear of being fat,” she writes. “Not everyone is meant to be skinny, our bodies are beautiful and we are not talking about health here because not every skinny person is healthy.”
The fashion industry has grappled with the problem of too-thin models for sometime now. Last year, The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) began a campaign to convince the industry to be more responsible when dealing with young, vulnerable models, she said.
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Right now, most sample dresses shipped by designers for photo shoots and fashionshows are size “zero.” Groups are calling on the industry to raise sample dresses to a size “four.”
“The CFDA has reached out to designers, stylists and casting directors not to work with underage models, girls that are too thin and to be more ethnically aware. And I think designers are listening,” said Victoria Beckham in a television interview.
“I had a casting last week and had some terribly thin girls come in, and it wouldn’t have worked. The campaign the CFDA has launched is called ‘Health is Beauty’ and they are definitely encouraging designers to work with healthier sized models,” she said.