Plus-Size Models Say They're Making Progress

You're not just imagining it: Suddenly, plus-size models are higher profile and they're getting more jobs.

The latest evidence comes from DNA Info. The outlet talked to members of ALDA, a band of plus-size models pushing for more diversity in the business. They all signed with IMG (to a flurry of positive press!) a few months ago, and they say the doors are swinging open: "I have literally gone on more castings in five months then in the last 10 years of my career," model Ashley Graham said. Quebec's edition of Elle put her on the cover—in a bikini and everything.

Julie Henderson hinted at a major upcoming spread and said, "I have gotten a whole new realm of 'everything is possible.'"

It would be easy to chalk this up to PR, if it weren't for the proliferation of additional examples. Robyn Lawley appeared on the cover of Australian Cosmo recently; Jenny Packham tossed plus-size models into a recent bridal fashion show like it wasn't any big deal.

It's not that plus-size models have simply appeared like a bolt from the blue; people have been heralding the rise of the plus-size model for years now. What feels different now? Not so long ago, we had to coast on the occasional Italian Vogue spread or catwalk appearance for ages. Suddenly, there's so much news it's easy to lose track of a major campaign. It's not a big story every time Robyn Lawley gets booked with a huge brand—which is fantastic.

But, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, most of these models are barely plus-size. It's great that the fashion world woke up and noticed all these talented women, and some progress is better than none. Many of them have probably never been stuck shopping at Lane Bryant, though.

And it's worth noting that while Torrid rolled out a sexy campaign starring Georgina Burke to much fanfare, to my eye it seems the company's actual catalog models have been shrinking since the late 2000s, when I first noticed the brand.

More visibility for plus-size models doesn't necessarily translate into more plus-size clothing options, or nor does it automatically broaden society's outlook on beauty. Not to be a buzzkill, but it's important to keep holding the rag trade's feet to the fire. Never forget that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Photo via Getty.