Why I'm calling BS on Victoria's Secret's lack of plus-size models in their 'diverse' 2018 show

Laura Capon
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Being plus-sized, I have always felt alienated by the fashion industry, which is kind of ironic seeing as I work as Senior Fashion and Beauty Writer here at Cosmopolitan UK.

But how else am I meant to feel when I can't even shop in the majority of high street shops? Zara, Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Warehouse, Urban Outfitters, to name just a few retailers who don't stock above a size 18.

That is why I try and use my position to highlight plus-size retailers (ASOS Curve I heart you), models and bloggers, because fashion should be for everyone, not just for people of a certain size. A belief that Victoria's Secret don't seem to share.

If you weren't aware, Victoria's Secret are due to hold their annual fashion show in New York on 8th November. While last year's show was labelled "more diverse than ever", with almost half of the models being of black, asian, or hispanic descent, not one of the 52 models was plus-size.

Yep, not a single one.

And guess what, none of the models announced for this year's show are plus-size either.

Photo credit: Giphy

I have been holding out writing this feature because I was convinced that Victoria's Secret were going to announce that for the first time they were including plus-size models. I just couldn't believe that in 2018, when Tess Holliday is on the cover of Cosmopolitan, that they would choose to ignore an entire demographic. But they have and for that, I am doing what the Internet does best and 'calling them out'.

Now, if I had my way, I wouldn't give this show any coverage at all. Why should I? The message that Victoria's Secret is sending out is quite clear; plus size isn't sexy, curves aren't something you should be proud of and when it comes to body type, there is only one ideal. But unfortunately I don't just get to write about what interests me (otherwise there would be nothing but stories about Jason Momoa on this website).

I don't know why I'm so surprised, Victoria's Secret don't offer a plus-size range, their bras only go up to a DDD and as such, I can only presume they clearly don't want people like me in their shops. But still, I can't believe that they have so arrogantly ignored the body positive movement that has finally been gaining so much momentum.

What makes me sadder, is when I think of all the impressionable young girls who are about to be spammed with pictures of these impossibly beautiful, toned women (sorry but I refuse to call them 'angels') and think that's what we all should look like in our bra and pants. Because I can tell you now, I don't look anything like those women when I'm prancing around in my bra and pants in my bedroom. I have cellulite, my skin wobbles, my thighs most definitely touch (hell, they bloody well chafe). In fact, the only women I know that look like that, are the ones walking that catwalk.

To be clear, I am not saying Victoria's Secret Angels are not 'real women'. Hours in the gym, strict diets and a healthy dose of good genes have given them their figures, which, if I was them, I too would want to show off too. But how can Victoria's Secret claim to be diverse when they are only showcasing one 'perfect' body type?

You only need to look at Ashley Graham's NYFW lingerie show to see a truly diverse catwalk show.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

The best thing about the Internet is that you can carve your own corner and that's exactly what I plan to carry on doing. So no, I won't be tuning into the show when it airs. But I will continue to use my platform to promote body diversity so that young girls don't feel as alienated by fashion as I did growing up.

And Victoria's Secret if you need any help casting plus-size models for next year...here's a few for you to start with.

Follow Laura on Instagram.

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