The fashion industry is really struggling with that whole “plus-size” label thing for their models. I feel like almost every week, there is a new scandal to discuss in the media. Many models have also spoken out about the label and seem generally unimpressed with how their bodies are being categorized by both fashion companies and fashion magazines alike. Essentially, it appears that models fall into two different categories: very thin and slightly less thin – the slightly less thin being the plus-size model obviously.
Rebecca Adams of the Huffington Post said it best in a recent article about the criticism H&M faced after labeling size “medium” models as plus-size:
“While it’s refreshing to see more and more body types in the pages of our magazines, many people have become frustrated with the classification system that divides straight and plus-size models,” writes Adams. “When you can’t tell the difference between the two, the ‘plus-size’ designation seems particularly arbitrary.”
This most-recent plus-size scandal hit the Internet hard and many people took to Twitter to express their outrage over the svelte looking H&M models showing the Swedish retailer’s plus-size offerings in their new catalogue.
Twitter was inundated with frustrated comments accompanied by screen caps of H&M’s most recent catalogue after the latest edition was delivered to homes of loyal H&M customers around the world. Credit: Twitter/@disney_frump
It’s basically common knowledge now that you absolutely cannot trust the images of the perfect waifish, models plastered all over fashion magazines. We have indisputable evidence that almost every single one of those images has been photoshopped to such a point that the photo editors are essentially photoshopping away the humanity of these women, and then telling regular women on the street to aspire to this completely unattainable beauty standard. If the models themselves do not even look like that, how dare you tell the average woman reading Vogue at the nail salon that they should aspire to that level of “beauty.”
However, Leah Hardy, a former editor at Cosmpolitan, recently wrote a shocking expose for the Daily Mail about how many fashion magazines do not just photoshop models to make them look thinner, but they also photoshop models to sometimes hide extreme (and potentially unhealthy) thinness. The process is called “reverse retouching.”
This image of Karlie Kloss that originally appeared in Numero Magazine is one such example of “reverse retouching.” Credit: About-Face via Fabulous Fashionista
There are many artists who focus on the body and body politics. There are also a lot of great plus-size, body-positive artists. However, three of my favorite projects in recent memory are projects shot by plus-size photographers concerning their own plus-size bodies and the roles that those bodies take on when occupying space.
Jen Davis, a photographer based in Brooklyn, New York, has been working on a series of self-portraits for the past eleven years concerning issues relating to beauty, identity, and body image.
Tyra Banks is sort of a polarizing figure. Some people love her, some people hate her. Personally, I’m just fascinated by her. The supermodel has been criticized for her fluctuating weight over the years and the tabloids have been quick to jump on her whenever a picture surfaces of her looking less than Victoria’s Secret-runway-ready.
What I do respect Tyra for, however, is her unapologetic “girl power” vibe that she tries to exude via her different media outlets. In fact, her very memorable “Kiss my fat a**!” speech that she gave in a 2006 episode of “The Tyra Show” was named as one of TV Guide’s 60 Greatest Talk Show Moments. In my humble opinion, the honor was well deserved (you can view the entire monologue below).
Rachel Anne Nemeth, 20, is a cake decorator living in St. Catharines, Canada. She admits she is a total “geek” who loves playing video games, cooking, and painting. She’s obsessed with mermaids, Disney, and anything vintage. A self-professed cardigan hoarder and a lipstick connoisseur, the plus-size fashion blogger keeps track of her eclectic, vintage style at “My Curvy Valentine” and on her Tumblr.
Rachel spoke with IGIGI about her love of all things vintage, her favorite faux leather pants, and her tips for successfully shopping online.
Rachel describes her style as cute and quirky. She likes to add something vintage to all her outfits. Credit: Rachel Anne Nemeth
IGIGI specializes in sexy plus-size apparel for women with an emphasis on high-end formal wear, wedding gowns, and separates. We honor diversity in beauty and challenge the rigidity of the fashion world by celebrating the sensuality and confidence of a curvy woman. The IGIGI woman embodies femininity and courage as an individual with a true sense of style and ownership. Beauty. Authentic.