Should We #DropThePlus?

By Natasha Davis

Photo from

Photo from

If you’re plus size and you know it, are you proud to show it? For many women, it can be very challenging to accept your fashion industry label as a “plus-size woman.”

Recently, there has been a social media conversation concerning the negative impact of the term “plus size.” Some like Australian model Stefania Ferrario, a plus-size model who wears a US size 12, believe that “plus-size” is an offensive term that should no longer be used. She recently showed her support for the #DropThePlus movement on Instagram.

There are others, such as Sir Philip Green, the leader of UK plus-size brand Evans, who see it as a neutral label. Speaking to Women’s Wear Daily, the head honcho said, “You can’t be defensive about it, or apologize about [plus-size fashion]. Why should the category be any different from petite?”

Both sides are justified in their feelings. However, it is important to keep in mind that being “plus-size” in the Western world often connotes being fat and gives an impression of negativity. Being fat is perceived as something that is abnormal, amoral and unhealthy. Without significant changes, it would be difficult for the high self-esteem of individuals to eclipse these ideological values.

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.

Curves are coming to Sports Illustrated

By Natasha Davis

Usually dominated by the Victoria’s Secret set, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is about to get curvier. Kate Upton made headlines last year when she appeared on the cover of the mag flaunting her voluptuous body. Many people seemed flabbergasted that a model whose measurements exceed a size 2 could snag the most anticipated cover of the year.

If Upton’s presence sent you into a frenzy, get ready for a true bombshell. Ashley Graham, a 26 year-old American model, is making history with her size-16 curves. She will be appearing in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue’s first ever ad for plus-size swimwear. Graham’s playful ad for swimsuitsforall is featured above.

Graham has been vocal about her love for her curves. In a statement about her partnership with swimsuitsforall, she explains, “I know my curves are sexy and I want everyone else to know that theirs are too…The world is ready for more curves in bikinis.”

Graham’s groundbreaking ad has also introduced a bit of controversy. Over the past week, there has been some hemming and hawing about the fact that Robyn Lawley, a size-12 Australian model, is actually the first plus-size model to be featured in the SI swimsuit issue. Yes, technically this 6’2” Australian beauty is actually considered plus-size even though most normal people would look at her photos and see another gorgeous model.

Regardless of which of these lovely ladies got there first, plus-size models are going to be part of the Sports Illustrated landscape. Ready or not, here they come.

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.