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The push for more realistic, “body positive” images of girls has been gaining momentum over the past year and not just in toys. In 2014, barbie sales plummeted, while a doll with an average woman’s proportions gained viral success; full-bodied models were integrated into high-fashion campaigns without fanfare; e-retailer modcloth announced an anticipated doubling of its sales after introducing plus sizes; the single “all about that bass,” which celebrates curvy bodies, became such a commercial success that, no, you will never get it out of your head; and Kim Kardashian’s famously ample butt broke the Internet. Introduction | 5

A New M odel


After decades of false starts, maybe we are finally ready to move away from unattainably slim ideals. When we think of lingerie ads, winged Victoria’s Secret Angels flutter through our minds. But in November alone, three high-fashion institutions displayed a fuller understanding of feminine beauty. Seductively posed in a rubber leotard, Candice Huffine debuted as the first plus-size model to be featured in Pirelli’s prestigious calendar in December. A Vogue online gallery featuring sexy lingerie starred women with F- rather than B-cup sizes. “Going into this, we assumed that the beautiful, delicate, lacy bras that we all prefer would only be available in the smaller cup sizes, but we were thrilled to find a real wealth of options for a huge variety of body shapes,” editor Jorden Bickham tells TIME in an email. A New Model | 7




alvin Klein used Myla

TIME. “It’s just so old. Saying, ‘Oh she’s

Dalbesio in its “Perfectly

plus-size, yippee!’ and making a big deal

Fit” underwear campaign.

of that.”

Dalbesio, a size 10, told Elle, “It’s not like [Calvin Klein] released this

There was certainly fanfare when size-

campaign and were like ‘Whoa,

22 model Tess Holliday was signed to

look, there’s this plus-size girl in our

MiLK Model Management last week —

campaign.’ They released me in this

making her the first model of her size to

campaign with everyone else; there’s no

ever be represented by a major agency.

distinction. It’s not a separate section

“It was unheard of, I never even tried to

for plus-size girls.” (This interview incited

get with an agency,” Holliday, 29, tells

misappropriated backlash against CK

TIME. “One of my friends even said,

when the Twitterverse thought Dalbesio

‘Isn’t it crazy that you’re in the news

was incorrectly cast under the “plus size”

for being the biggest plus-size model

category — she wasn’t.)

when you’re the true size of a plus-size woman?’” Holliday says the average


While the Internet reacted to the

plus-size model is between size 8 and

seamless integration of fuller-bodied

10; the average plus-size woman is

models into these campaigns, the

bigger. “There has always been an issue

models were presented by designers

with [designers] using smaller plus-size

without fanfare. “There were no big

models, and if they wanted one who

tambourines, no big calling out of the

was a little bit bigger or curvier, they

size thing,” Emme, widely regarded as

would pad her because they said they

the first plus-size supermodel (even

couldn’t find good quality models above

though she eschews the moniker), tells

a size 16.”

If they want me, then they’ll


A New Model |11

“There’s an


on both sides of the spectrum.” -Conor Kennedy Muse Model Management President

In the past, Holliday was barred from

just as skinniness does not connote

was an Italian Vogue cover” — in which

castings because of her size. But in

healthiness, being a plus size doesn’t

plus-size models seductively posed over

the past week, Holliday says at least

connote unhealthiness.

spaghetti — “and then V Magazine did a

designers who refused to work with her

shoot, and then it tailored off,” he says.

in the past have now called to book her

While Holliday is currently an anomaly,

“The past two years it’s very different

for a job. “If they want me then they’ll

Muse Model Management president

because there are all types of editorials.

pay for it.” Many of Holliday’s critics

Conor Kennedy tells TIME that the

I think that the next breakthrough we

complain that she sets an unhealthy

fashion industry opening its doors to

are looking for are campaigns, and

example for women, but the model

a variety of body sizes is a consistent

we’re starting to see it now.” Curvier

notes that she is active, has a trainer,

movement rather than a “flavor in the

celeb cover subjects like Kardashian

and works out at least four times a

moment” passing trend. “A few years

and Jennifer Lopez are also changing

week. It should also be noted that

ago there was a little burst where there

perceptions in the fashion industry.


A New Model |13


“I don’t think the younger generation sees it as size.

They see beauty as it is. -Emme

Kennedy has noticed increased

size clothing. Larger retailers are finally

illustrate her point, Emme recalls a

excitement on the creative side of the

getting the message as well. In mid-

plus-size fashion show she attended

industry over a diversity of sizes as a

February,Target will launch a plus-size

with her daughter at Macy’s. At the

desirable aesthetic choice and greater

line called Ava & Viv that is designed

end of the show, the 13-year-old asked

openness in castings. “But there’s

specifically for “the plus-size woman

if Emme thought a particular dress

an evolution on both sides of the

who loves fashion.”

came in her size — she didn’t see it as

spectrum,” he says. “It’s also a great thing for business.”

undesirable for a larger demographic, “Women want to go shopping together,”

but as beautiful clothing displayed on

Emme says. “If you eliminate the plus-

a beautiful model who she would like

After interacting with six different

size department that’s always in the

to replicate. “A lightbulb went off,”

designers who wouldn’t dress her for

basement or next to maternity, and

Emme says. “I don’t think the younger

the Oscars, Melissa McCarthy decided

you increase the numbers of 14, 16

generation sees it as size. They see

to launch a fashion label of her own

and 18s, you are going to make more

beauty as it is.”

that will offer both plus- and “regular”

money than you have ever made.” To

A New Model |15



T h e Do ll E vol v es


arbie has been a mainstay in most children’s lives since the late ’50s. According to Time magazine’s latest cover story, the doll does, “$1 billion in sales across more than 150 countries annually, and 92% of American girls ages 3 to 12 have owned a Barbie.” But while her look has changed subtly to suit the current fashions, she’s always more or less been the same blonde, Californian babe since the day we first met her. That is, until now.

Mattel has given Barbie a much-needed 21st century makeover as part of its #TheDollEvolves campaign, releasing three new body shapes for their best-selling toy. In a direct response to the backlash she’s received over the years because of the unrealistic body standards she promotes, Barbie will now be available in tall, curvy and petite sizes which will help the doll more accurately portray a greater diversity of women of all body shapes and sizes. The new body positive spectrum of dolls is also partially due to the company’s declining sales, which according to Time, “in 2012, Barbie global sales dropped 3%. They dropped another 6% in 2013 and 16% in 2014.”

New trends in toy sales serve as fiscal evidence that children also want natural, realistic beauty — rather than unattainable ideals. Barbie, who has seen her share of criticism for being an anatomically impossible mutant, is losing her clout among girls — and their parents. As people stopped buying Barbies, they crowd-funded an alternative to the tune of $500,000.

The Doll Evolves |19

Touted as the “normal Barbie,” Lammily dolls are built to the measurements of an average woman, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. “This is the doll people have been waiting for,” Nickolay Lamm told TIME when he prepared to ship tens of thousands of dolls to eager backers before the holidays. “She looks like a regular girl going to school,” a secondgrader said when she was presented with a Lammily doll. “She’s not like other dolls,” said another.

One of the reasons that Lamm was able turn the Lammily doll from a concept to an actual product was because his original sketches of the “normal Barbie” — meant to simply be an art project — went viral. Its traction online indicated to Lamm how thirsty people were to celebrate the beauty of reality.


” She looks real. ” The Doll Evolves |21

Sk in ny is Sk in Deep


Skinny is Skin Deep |23


...why are there no


MODELS in beauty? “Beauty brand work is nonexistent,” according to Philomena Kwao, a plus size model originally from London. “I’ve been lucky enough to do a few editorials in the U.K., but I’ve never even been on a casting for mainstream commercial work. When I try to understand it, I think people are scared to try something new. It’s like, ‘I have a formula, why change it?’” There’s no size requirement to fit a lipstick, so why are there no curvy models lin beauty?

Skinny is Skin Deep |25

“Beauty is about imagining where you may be in the future.”

-Brooke Erin Duffy


One view says the commodification

and thin. This fashionable ideal was

of beauty is to blame. Ms. Kwao,

born out of the classism and racism of

originally from London, is a model who

the 1920s, she says, when American

notices “plus-size” models being left

consumer culture and the modeling

out of the beauty industry. She said,

industry burgeoned simultaneously.

“When I try to understand it, I think

While some elements of that ideal

people are scared to try something

shifted over time, the body standard

new. “Beauty is about imagining


where you may be in the future,” said Brooke Erin Duffy, an assistant

“People often cite the 1950s as a time

professor at Cornell University who

when curviness was in, but that’s not

specializes in feminist media studies

entirely true,” said Elizabeth Wissinger,

and consumer culture. “Imagining

author of “This Year’s Model” and a

yourself looking like a celebrity or

professor of fashion studies at the

model. That promise of future reward

City University of New York’s Graduate

creates need.”

Center. “Yes, curvy bodies were popular, but the people had those achievable,

Dr. Duffy points out that this idealized,

accessible physiques, represented

aspirational woman will usually look

by movie stars like Marilyn Monroe.

one particular way: she has patrician

Fashion was still very separate and

features, she is tall, typically white,

models were thin.”

Skinny is Skin Deep |27

Plump Prof it



ccording to Anthony

how delusional we are about what the

Higgins, the director at

majority of women’s bodies look like.

MSA Models, “catalogs

Clothing makers are finally beginning

will use a size 8 because they think

to understand that if they increase

size 14 and 16 will relate to that

their offerings — and we’re talking

person and size 4 and size 6 will

fashionable offerings rather than an

relate to that person. They do not

increased muumuu selection — in the

use size 18 as much as they should

“plus size” category, it will be beneficial

for print, though size 18 makes the

to their bottom line. With the “average”

most money.” The pathetic truth

American woman wearing a size 14,

is plus-sized models’ bodies are

that’s 100 million potential customers.

headed in the opposite direction

“It’s a huge market and it’s totally

of actual plus-size women’s bodies.

underserved,” ModCloth co-founder Susan Gregg Koger told CNBC. When

According to the CDC, the average

Koger decided to expand the e-retailer’s

American woman is a size 14, and

plus-size division, she reached out

yet the dominant sizes in the industry

to 1,500 vendors for help — and only

are 0, 2, and 4. At size 8, the plus-

35 responded. But a year into the

size models are considerably smaller

expansion, with 100 vendors on board,

than the average American women,

Koger told Business Insider that she

and that is incredibly indicative of

expected sales to double in 2014.

Plump Profit |29

According to the market-research firm NPD Group, plus-size-clothing sales increased 5% last year to $17.5 billion. E-retailers are taking advantage of this rise. In December, plus-size fashion e-retailer ELOQUII raised $6 million in Series A funding. But brick-and-mortar retailers still have room for improvement. But the quality must improve as well because, at the moment, full-bodied women are searching for — but often not finding — fashionable outfits that go up to their size. Stylist Sal Perez explained the difficulties in trying to dress Rebel Wilson for her role in Pitch Perfect 2 to the New York Times. “I am horrified by some of the clothes I find in the stores,” he said. “I don’t know anyone who enjoys wearing polyester.” 30

Plump Profit |31

B eauty Shif t


While #thinspiration and unhealthy body petitions when they find out

ideals that promote eating disorders or

that Old Navy charges more money for

worse certainly exist on social networks,

items that come in plus sizes. (The retailer

an easily outraged Twitterverse is quick

didn’t fully capitulate, but it did change

to call companies out for promoting

plus-size policies.)

body-negative ideology. Holliday, who started the viral Instagram People will no longer stand for Victoria’s

campaign #EffYourBeautyStandards,

Secret creating an advertisement that

attributes her recent signing to her

puts the wording “Perfect Body” over

dedicated social-media following. “People

a slew of skinny, skinny models. The

aren’t used to seeing someone who is fat

company quietly changed its ads after

and happy,” she says, which could be why

an onslaught of social-media outrage.

her 415,000 Instagram followers so eagerly

And some 20,000 people will sign

await her posts.

“It’s not a trend, really — it’s happening,” Emme says. “It’s the tipping point.” #BeautyShift | 33

Bye Bye, Barbie  

Bye Bye, Barbie is a book celebrating the evolution of the Barbie doll in tandem with the acceptance of plus size models in fashion.

Bye Bye, Barbie  

Bye Bye, Barbie is a book celebrating the evolution of the Barbie doll in tandem with the acceptance of plus size models in fashion.