Why do we need to lose the label? It’s 2018, fashion and society is becoming more accepting of ‘plus-size’, racially diverse and non binary models, so we’ve reached our ultimate goal, right? Wrong. In the fashion world, we cannot claim to be all-inclusive when a label precedes a model. I do not expect to be sent to a casting as the ‘plus-size model Efi’, because my size does not define or limit my capabilities. Just as it is abhorrent that it continues to be shocking when a designer includes multiracial or transgender models in a campaign- this should not be shocking or revolutionary for the fashion world, this should be the norm.
Of course, we should always celebrate the embracement of diversity in the fashion industry as it marks a revolution in inclusiveness. However, it is 2018, and it is time that having a plus size model at the front of your campaign is not widely controversial. I often feel that through the inclusion of a select few multiracial or size diverse models, fashion houses feel that they have represented the ‘whole’ and therefore done their part in promoting diversity. However, a single campaign is not going to achieve this. The fact that clothes are still sold in ‘normal sizes’, and then also in ‘plus sizes’ may allow larger women to wear a clothing brand. However, it is also reinforcing the idea that larger women are different to ‘normal sizes’, and therefore have to shop in a different category; emphasising the exclusion of size diversity. Why can’t a dress option simply go up to a size 28+ without having to be labelled under ‘plus size’?
Appearance and beauty should never be someone’s defining feature; however, the fashion industry is based predominantly on looks. Therefore, it has a major influence on society and the way we view ourselves. The fact that so many people are underrepresented in the industry, means that we are evolving to accept the idea that beauty is restricted to size zero models. When the truth is beauty can only be found in true diversity. How boring would a garden be if all of its flowers were the same? These labels are only causing more division, as people argue over whether someone is a true representation of that label. I have been accused of not being truly ‘plus size’, however, it angers me that society is not happy that I do not fit specifically into that label because I’m a size 10. When what should really be in question, is why that label exists in the first place. Those who believe they’re fighting for diversity by including these labels, are simply reinforcing exclusion; should I not be able to model because I don’t fit into the categories of ‘straight size’ or ‘plus size’? A woman is a woman, she is not introduced as a ‘big woman’ or a ‘plus size woman’, and this should be reflected in the industry.
I have felt embarrassed in the past attending castings with smaller girls, and felt the need to state: ‘I’m a plus size model’ in order to reaffirm my status as a model. Upon applying for Britain’s Next Top Model, I also felt the need to label myself as ‘curve’ because I did not want to be judged by the designers or the public as a model that’s just too big. However, I should never have been made to feel this way, and neither should you. Labels only serve in restricting and limiting us, and it’s time that fashion houses realised that through not including more diversity, they are simply restricting themselves. I have attended so many castings where the clothes wouldn’t fit because my hips do not fit sample sizes, and I have always apologised in great embarrassment for this. But 2018 is the year that I will no longer apologise. If I attend a casting, and the dress doesn’t do up, I’ll simply ask if they have a larger size. And if they do not want to yield in size diversity, then they should be the ones who are ashamed.
We need to make this year our self-revolution, embracing both our unique bodies and our minds. Nobody can define or categorise my beauty and capabilities, and they definitely should not define yours.
Love and happiness,