In an industry where size zero models are the rule and size ten models are the exception, a fashion shoot that uses a ‘plus-size’ model without actually labeling the shoot ‘plus-size,’ is a rare find.
But H&M’s new Beachwear collection, presented on the retailer’s online womenswear homepage, features U.S. size 12 model Jennie Runk, minus the ubiquitous and stigmatizing term ‘plus-size’.
‘Her section isn’t labeled “Plus-Size Beachwear” — it’s just beachwear, period,’ writes Jezebel’s Jenna Sauers.
While the H&M swimwear Miss Runk models is only available in =U.S. sizes 14 to 24, the collection is simply presented to customers as ‘this season’s new swimwear’. The only clue alluding to the collection’s larger sizing is a small ‘+’ sign that sits to the right of H&M’s logo.
Miss Sauers hopes this is a step towards viewing U.S. size 12 models as matter of course, rather than continuing to see them pigeonholed into ‘plus-size’ classifications.
‘Seeing plus-size bodies in fashion spreads and ads should be as common as seeing anything else.’
Many customers have praised the mega retailer, with some writing ‘thank you’ notes to H&M’s marketing department.
One woman posted an open letter to H&M in Jezebel’s comments section, writing: ‘Thank you so much for using Jennie Runk as your beachwear page covergirl. That you did so without calling attention to her shape makes it all the more commendable.
‘I love seeing a girl with my body type not only represented on your website but represented without fanfare.’
Twenty-four-year-old Miss Runk, who started modelling just before her 14th birthday, said she is ‘looking forward to the day that “plus-size” doesn’t exist any more.’
She told told Vogue Italia earlier this year. ‘I think separating between “normal” and “plus-size” is getting a little old fashioned.’
Miss Runk, who has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, stopped dieting and gained 20lbs to become a plus-size model.
‘Plus-sized models are not actually plus-sized women, we’re just bigger than the average model,’ she told StyleList in 2009.
Lead in example: Model Jennie Runk (pictured) says she is happy to be an example of ‘confident, happy and healthy’ at a size closer to the national average
Plus-size or ordinary? Miss Runk, 24, believes that plus-sized models ‘are not actually plus-sized women, we’re just bigger than the average model,’ she says
‘The average size for a woman in [the U.S.] is a 12, so I guess, technically, “plus-sized” starts at 14. In the modeling industry, however, models larger than a size 4 usually find more work doing “plus-sized”‘.
Miss Runk says she is happy to be an example of ‘confident, happy and healthy’ at a size closer to the national average.
‘We’re trying to create a movement for every woman to love and embrace her body no matter what kind of body she has,’ she explained.
‘So much of advertising and fashion portrays only one kind of body, and that’s super tall and super skinny. I think not only should there be more plus-sized models in fashion, there should also be more petite, pregnant, ethnic, etc.
‘I think ever woman should be represented equally — we’re all beautiful in our own ways!’
Read more: Mail Online
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