When there are issues about modeling in the news, historically it has been about how thin or unhealthy the models are. Lately “plus sized” models have been all the rage. In the United States more women wear a size 16 then a 0, 2, or 4 combined, so its not surprising that women like to see clothes modeled on people who look more like themselves.
Companies that have made the switch to using plus sized models and offering clothing plus sized have generally been very successful. E-retailer Modcloth made the change in 2013 and since then they have become a multi-billion dollar company! Aerie, a lingerie company under American Eagle Outfitters, this past spring launched their “The REAL you” campaign. They vowed to stop photo shopping and airbrushing models as well as including more plus sized models in their ads. Their campaign supporting positive body image has proven to be very effective. They have gotten a lot of media attention through these ads as well as having #aerieREAL trending on twitter.
With the success of these companies very evident one would think that more and more places would be using similar marketing techniques but surprisingly they haven’t! In fact positive body image campaigns have been around for a while now! Dove in 2005 launched its “Campaign for real beauty”, which was both controversial, and a huge hit! The campaign included a video that went viral in 2006 called “Evolution” and recently videos “Sketches” and “Selfies”.
With all the positive attention companies that promote healthy body images it is shocking that more companies haven’t jumped on board and it is appalling that companies haven’t even rejected and spoken out against this trend. Actress Melissa McCarthy is now starting her own line of clothing after numerous designers refused to make her a dress for the Oscars because they simply do not make dresses that large. It would seem to make sense that companies would want to appeal to the masses (which is not entirely made up of sized 0 models ) but in most cases that is not what is going on. While companies that do make the switch get a lot of attention it actually doesn’t happen that often.
It will be interesting to see where this trend will end up. Whether more companies will join in or if it will eventually die out due to larger companies disregarding it. It is refreshing to see not so perfect models on TV and in magazines. Maybe this will lead to less young girls and women with negative body image or eating disorders. These ads could potentially not only benefit the company but society as a whole.