The fashion industry has been known to stir up controversy in the past, but recently, the idea of diversity in the fashion industry is making big waves. Vogue is one of the top fashion magazine in the business, so there’s no question that the magazine books the best models for their covers. For the March 2017 edition, there is a big controversy with Vogue and their “diverse” cover. The cover photo features seven of the industry’s top models posing together and Vogue named this a “diverse” cover story. Even though I love Vogue, I can’t help but entirely disagree with the March cover. Yes, there are seven models on the cover who come from different countries and backgrounds, but I’m talking about the issue of diverse sizes. The size diversity on the cover is nothing for Vogue to boast about.
The cover features six models that walk the runway in size 0 dresses including Liu Wen, Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Imaan Hammam, Vittoria Ceretti and Adwoa Aboah. The other beautiful model featured is Ashley Graham who is the leading plus size model in the fashion industry right now. Like I said, I don’t think putting one plus size model in a group of six size 0 models is diversity. There are other gorgeous plus size models that could have been photographed in this March issue as well. Ashley Graham did have a 2-page layout to herself and there were some encouraging words, “‘The next wave of models is defying stereotypes by bringing us faces and figures for an unconventional, post-diversity, ultra-inclusive generation” (Vogue, 2017). How is putting one plus size model on the cover of Vogue “ultra-inclusive?”
I understand, having a plus size model on the cover of Vogue is groundbreaking because it’s never been done but it’s not. I see this happen all too much in the fashion industry, Zara with their “Love your Curves” campaign and putting two size 0 models in jeans. I along with everyone else who has actual curves want to see plus-size models in these campaigns, not models that wear a size 0! Women come in all shapes and sizes and I don’t think the fashion industry celebrates this enough. Prabal Gurung’s Fall 2017 runway show had plus size models featured on the runway as did Marc Jacobs in 2015. Plus size models are not a new phenomenon; these incredible women need to receive more credit and popularity than they see now. For goodness sake, the average size of a women in the United States is a size 16 (Ryan, Lisa, 2016). It’s not “diverse” to feature a couple plus size models of the runways or one on the cover of Vogue. Women need to see a group of plus size models on the covers of fashion magazines, in national ad campaigns and on the runways. Putting one plus size model on the cover or on the runway doesn’t cut it for being “diverse.”
I love fashion, it’s a part of me, but this diversity issue bothers me. As a young woman, I can honestly say that the fashion industry makes me feel insecure at times. I’m so tired of looking in the pages of Vogue, Elle, Cosmo and the other top fashion magazines and comparing myself to these models. When I saycompare I mean comparing what they’re wearing and how amazing it looks on them but knowing my body wouldn’t look the same in the garment. These talented designers more often than not only use sizes 0-2 models in their campaigns in the magazines but garments are more than often sampled at sizes 4-6 or medium. Why is the industry like this? It’s almost like designers feel real women won’t look good in their designs or visions. It’s ironic that this cover came out in March because it’s Women’s History Month. This month we are celebrating great women from Sojourner Truth, Zora Neale Hurston, Rebecca Latimer Felton, Malala Yousafzai and so many more fearless women who didn’t think twice about their waist size, but only about the difference they can make in the world, and that’s how the fashion industry should be. Fashion should inspire you like it does for me, not make you insecure because the model is a size 0 and you’re not. Fashion shouldn’t take away from your size and capabilities; wear clothes that make you feel empowered and wear clothes that are designed to empower women that are all shapes and sizes. Fashion needs to unshackle women from a specific size and welcome all sizes to the magazine covers, runways and ads.