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By now you’ve probably seen Australian model Stefania Ferrario’s powerful Instagram photo calling on fashion to #DropThePlus label. Farrario, motivated by fellow Australian AJ Rochester’s comments that the “plus” tag was harmful not just for models but for the young girls watching them, wants the terms “plus” and “plus-size” eliminated not just from fashion lingo but from retail stores too.
Two months have passed since Farrario uploaded her now-viral photo, but one of the biggest developments in her cause came yesterday, when UK agency Models 1 joined her call. Models 1 claims to be the largest and most successful modeling agency in Europe, with names like Coco Rocha, Linda Evangelista, and octogenarian babe Carmen Dell’Orefice on its books. They also have a game-changing Models 1 Curve devision favored by the likes of 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 told Dazed yesterday. “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.”
The backing of Models 1 is a big deal for furthering the movement, which has been mostly ignored by the sizeist fashion industry, which is rather fond of having a handy “plus” tag to affix to abnormally large (aka size 6 and above) women. But the movement isn’t just important because it seeks to get rid of a damaging tag on agency books and in department stores. It will also challenge fashion’s tendency to champion certain body types only when they’re doing that by reinforcing stereotypes. “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,” photographer Michelle George says.
The agency, joining forces with George, shot an entirely new set of images proving that diverse bodies are capable of diverse looks. Clearly “diverse” means different things to different people, but for all its bouncing around between trends, fashion moves at a glacial pace when it comes to certain issues. See more photos over on Dazed.