The plus-size controversy

Calvin Klein dealt with some controversy back in 2014 about their “plus-size” model, Myla Dalbesio. (Clavin Klein Facebook page)

Calvin Klein dealt with some controversy back in 2014 about their “plus-size” model, Myla Dalbesio. (Clavin Klein Facebook page)

The modeling industry never claimed to be “all-inclusive,” but nowadays, people seem to be more upset over the fact that normal-sized women are being called plus-sized, and even getting shunned by certain brands. As a woman, this is all too understandable. It’s no secret that the fashion industry sets unrealistic standards for women, but it’s becoming more common for women to stand up against these constraints and speak out about body positivity. Some clothing brands, however, are still not on the bandwagon.

Calvin Klein dealt with some controversy back in 2014 about their “plus-size” model, Myla Dalbesio. She’s a size 10 model who, in the ad campaign, looks like a typical woman. Some people were commenting saying she’s still very thin and that the brand should be ashamed of themselves. Dalbesio referred to herself as an “inbetweenie,” which apparently means she’s not thin enough to be a regular high fashion model, but not exactly big enough to be considered plus-sized. Though this ad campaign received a lot of backlash, Dalbesio pointed out that it serves as a way to spark conversation about the topic of plus-sized models and clothing. It could be a step towards becoming a more inclusive industry.

In similar news, Victoria’s Secret is facing a lot of backlash after their chief of marketing basically said they would never include plus-size models or transgender models in their show. Victoria’s Secret is known for being an expensive brand, advertising women with “perfect bodies,” the same demographic they’re marketing to. The executives claim the shows and the brand itself are fantasies. This fantasy is in a world that is one of a kind. Essentially, there can only be one type of Victoria’s Secret model, and the brand isn’t looking to expand from that image. On top of all this, there have always been reports of VS models starving themselves and sticking to an intense training routine. Some of the models released YouTube videos or talked about it on television, saying they eat normal amounts of healthy food. However, we can’t really be sure what to believe, can we?

Personally, the existence of “plus-sized” anything in the fashion industry is upsetting. I understand every brand has an aesthetic, and I can greatly appreciate that. Fashion is a form of art. It’s known that high fashion runway brands cater to and advertise extremely thin women because they’re basically serving as a hanger to show off the clothing. However, when it comes to normal brands that cater to everyday women, it should be all-inclusive. “Plus-size” models are normal sized, everyday women. That’s just how a person looks. You shouldn’t have to be a certain height/weight/shape to show people what clothing looks like. It would be more effective to show a range of sizes in campaigns, so consumers can see what the clothing will look like on their body type instead of on a thin model. Thankfully, there is more discussion in the media about this controversy. Hopefully soon we’ll be closer to a more all-inclusive fashion industry, where every body type is celebrated.


Tessa Pawlik is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at tessa.pawlik@uconn.edu.