Exclusive: one of Europe's biggest modelling agencies comes out in support of the body-positive movement
#DropThePlus' call for get fashion to ditch the term 'plus-size' is growing louder and louder. Ever since Australian model Stefania Ferrario and television host Ajay Rochester came together to lobby against what they describe as a "damaging" and "misleading" label applied to both models and consumers alike, thousands of Instagrammed and tweeted support for their campaign. But the reaction from within the industry? That's been noticeably more muted.
Now one of Europe's biggest modelling agencies has thrown their weight behind #DropThePlus. Models 1, which has Coco Rocha and Linda Evangelista on its books, has come out swinging for the body-positive movement. The agency has long championed models of all sizes with Models 1 Curve – with the girls on their board featuring in publications like Vogue Italia.
"In the fashion industry I have experienced harsh critique regarding my size and shape; this forced me to really look at myself and who I am," Models 1 Curve girl Iskra Lawrence said. "I took time to educate myself on health fitness and self-esteem. Now I empower and build up other women as well as counsel young girls with eating disorders through my charitable work with NEDA [National Eating Disorders Association]. I believe #everyBODYisbeautiful and I have a responsibility to make a difference and help represent young girl who need a wider range of models representing them."
In a new set of images, the agency set out to prove that models don't need to be a size 6 – and they don't need to be retouched or airbrushed smaller, either. Photographer Michelle George says she was keen to move away from the cliched, yawnworthy stereotypes usually deployed when shooting non-sample size models.
"I work a lot with models of diverse shapes and sizes, yet what I’ve found with curvier models, is that they are often pigeonholed and either used in editorial in a tokenistic gesture, or the style of shoot is limited to either sexy pin up or lifestyle," George said. "What I want to show in this shoot is that that these girls are in fact naturally beautiful and can be used across the board, without being labelled as curvy or plus size."
She added: "I feel very strongly, as a woman, that we need to empower each other and show that beauty is not defined by size. We need to start to push these boundaries and reach outside the tightly closed box of the fashion industry and embrace our beauty in its holistic, raw form."
In a poll of Dazed readers, more than half agreed that fashion should drop the term 'plus-size'. What do you think?
Photography Michelle George; hair Tayla Rutter; make-up Viktor Childs & Jo Clayton