Tess Holliday redefines model standards

By Natasha Davis

Tess Holliday

Tess Holliday is here to break rules and shatter expectations. This 29 year-old wife and mother recently became the largest plus-size model to be signed by a major modeling agency. At 5’5” and a size 22, Holliday became a curvy revolutionary in late January when she was signed to the MiLk Model Management (Curves) division. The vast majority of plus-size models are a size 12-16 and north of 5’9”. Thus, Holliday was continually told that she was too big and too short to be a model, but all of those critics have now fallen silent.

After starting the #effyourbeautystandards campaign on Instagram in 2013, Holliday became a social media darling. This was one of the reasons MiLk decided to sign her. Anna Shillinglaw, the owner and director of MiLk Model Management explains, “I started following her, and saw how many followers she had — more than most models. She’s such an important role model for so many women.”

Holliday has transformed a social media army consisting of over 624,000 Facebook likes and 308,000 Instagram followers into a real-world modeling career. She is a shining example of the changing tides in the fashion industry, but she also exists as an indicator for the possibilities that exist for people with a strong online presence to crossover into the world beyond the computer screen.

Check out Holliday’s latest spread in SLiNK Magazine’s Role Models issue.

How to succeed in plus-sizes without really trying

By Natasha Davis

In the hustle and bustle of Spring 2015 haute couture fashion week in Paris, the frenetic energy of journalists, celebs, models and designers culminated in this, the ultimate expressions of fashion creativity. From a journey through the decades with Dior to the ethereal beauties of Elie Saab, this week was all about the dramatics of fashion.

However, fashion reality is what dominated the scene for plus-size women this week. Sans dramatics and high art, Target, the monolithic multi-brand retailer in the United States, decided to give everyone a sneak peek inside their new plus-size line, Ava & Viv, which will be available in stores in mid February.

Of course, this new line will be simple and trendy, like many of Target’s other lines. The price point will range from $10-$79.99. Although, what is almost more interesting than the clothes, are the young women Target brought in to test-drive the collection. They chose three prominent plus-size fashion bloggers: Nicolette Mason, Chastity Garner and Gabi Gregg. This highlights Target’s drive to use this line to tap a younger millennial audience that they have previously ignored.

It is a step in the right direction that a major retialer has finally deigned to give plus-size women basic and trendy options, but in light of this week’s events, it is difficult not to ask, where is the couture? Or at the very least, where are the designers?

Jean Paul Gautier will usually use at least one plus-size model in his couture shows, but he is the exception to the general rule that plus-size women do not belong in high fashion. Success in couture and high fashion is marked by innovative designs, beautiful craftsmanship and a unique point-of-view, but succeeding for plus-size women means finally being allowed to have basics.

 

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