It’s Not About the Sample Size

Fashion week in New York City comes around twice a year and with it an influx of models take over the streets, the clubs and the runways.  Every year a designer or company does something shocking when it comes to Fashion Week, whether that means featuring plus size model, Ashley Graham on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Swimsuit Edition, or having a plus size model grace the runway of Channel.  Each season, we break boundaries, or at least try.

Have you, ever thought about becoming a model, but then looked in a mirror and realized you aren’t a size zero who could fit into sample clothing?  As a fellow female, I can say I’ve had that thought.  Even if I don’t necessarily see myself gracing the runways of New York City anytime soon, I do look to those runways for inspiration for the coming season.  If all people ever see are the same body types walking up and down the catwalk, are things ever going to change?

Coco Rocha, a supermodel, mom and now clothing designer has fought for this cause, and brought about a lot of changes.  She even went as far to bring up the rights of underage models and how they weren’t looked at with an age in mind, but only a thought that they are a mannequin. ( (

When Ashley Graham first found out she was going to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated she said, “This is going to make history’, ” Graham recalls. “And in that moment, I knew that I wasn’t just there as a favor, I wasn’t there just like ‘Oh let’s put the big girl in.’ I was there because I was supposed to be there.” (  It’s great to see that such an influential magazine is finally getting it right.  If you look through the pages of Sports Illustrated, you’ll start to see more curvy women, who represent a larger part of the world.  It’s an issue that people are slowly trying to fix, but sometimes you can get into sticky situations.

Robyn Lawley works in the plus size modeling industry and felt that there was a lack of respect for people who were her body type, so she did something about it.  Robyn created a swimsuit line that flattered more body types, and made people happy to purchase her clothing.  Another industry wave is Jag Modeling Agency.  The co-founders Jaclyn Sarka and Gary Dakin used to work for Elite Modeling’s plus size division, but saw that the niche industry was growing and created their own agency.  They now represent some of the top paid models and are making waves regularly.  One of their models, Iskra Lawrence was featured in American Eagle’s campaign, which features no retouching at all and models of all shapes and sizes.  It’s pretty amazing that such a large company has caught onto this issue and is making a difference.

There is a lot you can do as well.  You can decide what media you take in and you can decide how you talk about it.  The more fuel we give to this fire, the more it is going to be talked about and that’s the biggest way to win.  If people who are the voice of our generation get out there and speak up, things will change.  Ashley Benson of Pretty Little Liars spoke up about retouching that was happening on the show’s posters and she got them to change their mind. (  So as the industry keeps expanding, hopefully it can keep inviting people of all shapes and sizes into its wing.

Additional Information:

– CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America); great source for more information about the cause

Model Alliance; information about laws protecting models and their needs

Sample Size Me; interesting article about how the sample size needs to change

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