Plus-size models are finally a little more visible in the fashion industry.
When Ford Models shut down its plus-size division last summer, a group of New York City models decided to form ALDA to promote size diversity in modeling. The group then approached IMG Models – an agency that normally represents straight-size supermodels – and each of the models were all signed this past January.
“I have literally gone on more castings in five months than in the last 10 years of my career,” says Ashley Graham, a 26-year-old plus-size supermodel from Brooklyn.
Graham, a size 16, has since covered the June issue Elle Quebec and was handpicked for a fashion editorial in Harper’s Bazaar.
It probably helps that demand for clothing sized 14 and up has increased 7 percent – totaling $17.6 billion in sales – in the past year, according to David Riley from the market research company, the NPD Group. Makes perfect sense for increased demand in plus-size models, too, right?
So what would ALDA like to see next?
Oh, hopefully mainstream health and beauty campaigns, a Sports Illustrated spread, and some catwalk-strutting in New York Fashion Week.
And perhaps sample clothing for runway shows and editorial shoots that represent curvy girls and not straight-size girls who wear a size 0 or 2.
“I am just waiting for a designer to have the balls to do that,” says Catherine Schuller, a former plus-size model who now runs fashion events that promote diversity.