Should The Fashion Industry Drop The Plus?
April 17, 2015
As a fashion photography studio it’s rare that a week goes by without us hearing the words ‘plus size’ at least once. The term, meaning a professional female model of a UK size 12 or larger, has become the industry standard phrase for those looking for a model with a fuller figure.
Back in February Australian reality TV star Ajay Rochester launched a campaign called ‘Drop The Plus’ in a bid to oust the term. With the aid of social media, the campaign went viral within days. Debate on the subject has been very much a two-sided affair, with both the ‘Drop’ and ‘Keep’ camps evidently passionate about the subject.
Australian model Stefania Ferrario, very much on the ‘Drop’ team, said in an interview with ITV: “A young girl looking at an image of a UK size 12 model that has got ‘plus size’ labelled on it is in danger of believing her own body is not normal and too big. We are all different, we are all normal.”
Ferrario’s point is certainly valid. With the average size of UK women reported to be between 14 – 16, one could argue that to deem ladies of a size 12 and above with any term other than ‘normal’ could have a negative effect on the impressionable, media-driven youth of today. UK writer Bethany Rutter, however, feels that the campaign is misguided and failing to address the real issue, going as far as to brand ‘Drop The Plus’ “a vanity campaign in the most literal sense.”
Rutter goes on: “Figures show that the plus-size fashion industry is worth more than $17 billion annually in the US alone. New stores seem to be springing up at a thrilling rate, with many thriving in an often under-served market. Until retailers smash the boundaries between their main range and plus ranges, rather than just dropping the label, it makes sense to embrace and invest in this significant segment of the fashion retail landscape. If Rochester and Ferrario were campaigning, for example, to “drop the plus” alongside pressuring retailers to stock all designs in all the sizes they make any clothes in, rather than a limited, uglier range of plus-size items, then I would be satisfied. They are not.”
Though Rochester’s campaign has been met with a significant amount of support, it is evident that some, like Rutter, do not believe that ‘Drop The Plus’ is credible enough to make a difference, however well intentioned the campaign may be.
Do you think the term ‘plus-size’ puts pressure on young women and enforces unnecessary ideology, or are you happy accept and embrace the term? Comment below or Tweet us your thoughts @Prodoto.