Why Did This Company Hire ‘Size 2’ Models to Sell Plus-Size Clothing?

A clothing brand beloved by celebrities and hailed for its body-positive philosophy is under fire for hiring thin models to sell plus-size fashions.

Fashion Nova is under fire for not hiring plus-size models to showcase plus-size fashion. (Photo: FashionNova.com)
Fashion Nova is under fire for not hiring plus-size models to showcase plus-size fashion. (Photo: FashionNova.com)

Plus-size model Tabria Majors, recently called out Fashion Nova, a California-based clothing retailer, for hiring slender models for its Plus-Size + Curve category, writing on Instagram, “@FashionNovaCurve, why do you use size 2 models to represent your plus size line? #questionsthatneedanswers.” Majors’s post received more than 13,000 likes and hundreds of comments, with some vowing to boycott the brand unless it replaced its models.

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Fashion Nova has skyrocketed in popularity thanks to a savvy social media strategy (its Instagram account boasts more than 7 million followers, and the brand largely works with social media influencers to promote its designs), and celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian, Amber Rose, and Blac Chyna are all fans. And while the brand doesn’t cater solely to plus-size women, its been celebrated for its commitment to inclusivity.

CEO Richard Saghian sent the following statement to Yahoo Style: “Fashion Nova would like to emphasize the fact that we are never looking to discriminate….At Fashion Nova we believe that all women should dress confident and sexy regardless of their weight. The clothes we offer for regular and plus sizes are the same outfits, not separate lines, like most other companies do. We believe that our clothing empowers women of all sizes.”

However, according to Marie Denee, founder of the Curvy Fashionsta, plus-size models don’t get enough visibility, even within their own category.

Photo: FashionNova.com
Photo: FashionNova.com

“Despite the fact that the average woman is a size 14/16 and there’s a demand for models who reflect what many women look like, companies often choose traditional models to sell plus-size clothing,” Denee tells Yahoo Style. It could be due to a disconnect between the plus-size consumer who may wear a size 14/16 and the plus-size modeling agencies, which classify size 8 models as “plus.”

But there’s also an emotional factor at play. “It’s possible that plus-size brands that use traditional models are trying to make the consumer feel included — if a plus woman sees clothes that fit her on a model that doesn’t look like her, she’ll tell herself, ‘See, I can shop here too. I look as good as my friend,’” says Denee.

What’s more, it’s not enough for companies to sell plus-size clothing, adds Denee. “We want to see plus-size fashion on models who are size 16, 18, and 20, and beyond, and who have different body shapes. Ultimately, women need to see models that look like them.”

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