Fashionista recently published some lovely photos from the new promotional book put out by Ford+, the plus size division of the Ford modeling agency. The models of Ford+ are anywhere from a US size 8 to 18 (UK 12 to 22). The images are slick and high-fashion and, as Leah Chernikoff of Fashionista rightly observes, hopefully represent a trend toward incorporating curvier models into the world of mainstream fashion, beyond the pages of catalogues.
(left to right) Michelle Olson, Inga Eiriksdottir, Leah Kelley, McKenzie Raley
Gary Dakin, who has headed Ford’s plus division for the last 13 years, says that there have been great changes in the plus size model market during his career. “There are better clients, jobs, photographers, rates, etc.,” says Dakin. “The girls have evolved too…they are challenged now more than ever to be better and they challenge the industry right back.”
Some models, however, still wish that they didn’t have to be labeled as “plus.” Not that they are ashamed of their bodies, but as rising star Marquita Pring says, they feel “the term ‘plus size’ has a negative connotation.” She prefers the term “curvy.”
Marquita was recently featured on Vogue Italia’s website as “a new star in the curvy universe” and walked in Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2011 runway show.
“I hate to be categorized. I am a model,” Marquita told Fashionista. “I do many of the same jobs as others models regardless of their size, race, or gender. I don’t feel a need to specify my size when telling people about my job. … Personally, I wouldn’t even refer to a woman who’s a size 26 as ‘plus size.’ I find it interesting that if ever I do refer to myself as ‘plus size’ when describing what I do for a living people always have the same reaction. ‘WHAT!?! OH MY GOODNESS I WOULD NEVER CONSIDER YOU PLUS SIZE!!!’ And I always agree with them. I’m proud to set an example for women of all sizes as a bigger curvier model, and I’m so thankful to get letters from women of all sizes thanking me for promoting a more realistic healthy image. As for the word ‘curvy’ I see nothing wrong with it. I don’t need to stress it as my title but I am a curvy, voluptuous, sexy woman and I think the word ‘curvy’ relays a much more positive image. You can be a size 4 or 14 and be considered ‘curvy.’
What do you think about the terms “plus size” vs “curvy”?