Documentary Explores the Life of Plus-Sized Fashion Models

As plus-size models continue to crossover into the world of mainstream fashion, a new documentary explores the rise of the plus-size movement and poses the question, “how and why did size zero become the norm?”

Straight/Curve, which is set for a fall 2016 release, follows models, photographers, stylists, and other key figures in fashion with the goal to redefine society’s standards of beauty.

“Our documentary [shows] the fight to change the face of fashion for our generation,” said director of the film, Jenny McQuaile. “We want to empower women to love your bodies no matter what your shape or size, as long as you’re healthy.”

Straight/Curve also analyzes the relationship between the fashion industry and the media, while exploring the effect those respective industries have on society and body image, according to The Daily Mail.

A trailer for the film was released this week, and features some of fashion’s biggest names as they discuss the absence of plus-size images throughout the years, while also noting that times are a-changing.

“We have a problem,” said model Leah Kelley, who was branded as plus-size by Elle magazine. “I know beautiful people who are size zero and are naturally that way, but to say that that’s the only beauty that should be showcased is not realistic and hurts our society.”

“We have been starved of the curvy woman for so long – pun intended,” she added, per the Mail.

Other models featured in the documentary argue the lack of representation of curvy women in mainstream pop culture sets an unrealistic standard for body image, which is negatively impacting the self-esteem of young girls.

Plus-size model Jennie Runk, who posed for H&M’s 2013 swimwear campaign, said the topic has been a problem for many years.

“I lived through it, my sister lived through it, all of my friends lived through it, and now I’m in a place where I’m part of that industry, and I can therefore be a part of the solution,” she said.

Being well above the sample size for most designers, Runk said she eventually grew comfortable in her own skin after realizing that “there are different kinds of beautiful, and that even if I wasn’t this specific kind of beautiful, I had my own kind of beautiful.”

Another model confessed she developed an eating disorder to maintain a size zero.

While many agencies today have expanded their rosters to include plus-size models, some say the issue lies on a brand’s reluctance to include curvier women in their ads.

“Are some brands afraid to have a large woman in their clothes? asked stylist Meaghan O’Connor. “Yeah, absolutely.”

“We’re in a really interesting time in the plus-size industry,” said O’Connor. “There’s money to be made. Billions and billions of dollars that are not being capitalized upon.”

Although curvier women have been featured more regularly in fashion campaigns, the women of Straight/Curvy will continue to lend their voice until it is the norm to see a plus-size model in a catalog.

“I just want to see every size represented,” one model concluded of the industry.

Beyond gorgeous: Another exclusive photo of Jennie, taken during filming of the documentary, is seen here

Watch: a trailer for Straight/Curvy


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