April 28, 2015
5 Plus-Size Models Who Want To Prove That Fashion Is For Everyone
After the Ford agency shut down it's plus-size division in 2013, these 5 models formed ALDA ("wave" in Icelandic), a collective that promotes diversity in the industry. Co-founders Inga Eiriksdottir, Julie Henderson, Ashley Graham, Marquita Pring, and Danielle Redman say they're staying "ahead of the curve by embracing their curves." They hope, as said in Bust Magazine, that ALDA will be for women who do not think fashion is for them. And let's face it, that has been the majority of us, at least once. "I've been called a plus-size model for 15 years. I don't have any shame with it, I don't really care, if you want to call me 'plus,' that's fine, but at the end of the day, I know who I am. I am Ashley Graham, and I am a model — I am not just a plus-size model." "I never really understood that gap between being a curvier model and a straight-size model; it didn't really make any sense to me," Eiriksdottir says. "As a group, I thought we'd have more leveraging power ... to help push the limits in the fashion industry ... I think women want to see more women they can relate to; they don't want to see everything as photoshopped." The models don't want ALDA to pit different bodies against one another. They want it to embrace the change that is headed towards the industry and to create opportunities for ALL women through workshops, lectures, events and, well, modeling. Last year, these 5 founders approached IMG Models and signed with the agency. First thing the agency did was submit them alongside straight sized models for fashion week. Awesome, right? "Fashion dictates so many things in our lives, and little girls grow up thinking that this is what beauty is ... And what ALDA does is say, 'Listen, every woman is beautiful,'" Henderson says. We think it is a really great move to start something inclusive in the fashion industry. The industry has been one size and monochromatic for far too long. It is true, all women are beautiful! But, I can't help but wonder if this will have a impact on our motivation. This statement isn't meant to offend (I wear a 10, I'm not throwing rocks from my glass house), but will you be as motivated by bodies that don't fit the 'beauty standard' or 'ideal' body template we've been force fed for so long? Yes, we know the images we see are largely photoshopped and fake but they do spur us on now and again, they get us off the couch and to the gym and as a result, they can make us healthier. Are you inspired to get healthier (I know plus size doesn't necessarily mean unhealthiness) if you are looking at bodies that already look closer to the way you look now? I'm sure you have lots to say on this, tell us what you think?