Body Image Docu ‘Straight/Curve’ Shows The Biggest Problem With Sample Sizes In Fashion


Is diversity happening in the fashion and modeling industries? Yes indeed! We have seen a huge body image revolution over the past few years which has allowed women of all shapes and sizes to be included into the prestigious definition of “beauty”. But there are still some barriers to the fashion world accepting plus size models, despite their overwhelming and growing popularity.

One of those barriers are said to be sample sizes which are normally anywhere between size 0-4 which isn’t exactly a wide-ranging representation of women in the world. If real women are supposed to be the ones buying the clothes designers and brands want to sell, why the heck is it so difficult for them to market to us?!?

The average size of an American woman ranges between size 12 and 14, yet the average model we see in all major advertising campaigns are size zero, and normally Caucasian. Anyone see the huge disparity there? We certainly do, and it is the very subject of a new body image documentary called ‘Straight/Curve’ by Director Jenny McQuaile, and former model and producer Jessica Lewis.

The feature length documentary follows the plus size models diversifying the global fashion industry and redefining society’s beauty standards, and also includes interview with agents, designers, magazine executives and photographers.

Far from just having 15 minutes of fame in the fashion industry, the filmmakers argue that plus size fashion is the new frontier and it doesn’t to just be brushed off as a new or emerging niche category.

“This generation of models is ready to usher in a new definition of beauty—one that is all inclusive and supports positive body ideals and self-acceptance. The fashion industry needs to be reflective and representative of the diversity that exists in present-day society,” said producer Jessica Lewis to Glamour magazine.


The film is set to debut in the summer of 2016 but already there is plenty of buzz about the messages that will come out of it.

The industry women and men featured are asking the questions that we want them to ask amongst themselves.

Co-founder of JAG models, the first major modeling agency to not have any size categories, Gary Dakin says “I don’t call this a movement, I call this an evolution” and he couldn’t be more on the money with that statement.

“When, how, and why did size zero become the norm when two thirds of women are considered ‘plus-size’ sitting between a size 10 to 14? Our documentary will examine this question. There’s always been a complex relationship between the fashion industry, the media, and body image and we’re finally making a film that will investigate that,” said director Jenny McQuaile to Glamour.

Model Heather Hazan who is also featured in the film talks about having to develop an eating disorder just to maintain her size 0-2 body and how it would’ve made a huge difference if there were more plus size models on billboards when she was a teenager.

“If I was a 13 year old girl and I saw the Jennie Runk ad where she’s a size 14, they didn’t call it out as plus size swimwear and she’s on an H&M billboard and I walk down the street and I see that, I might think a little differently about myself,” she said.

Model Jennie Runk is also interviewed in ‘Straight/Curve’ where she says it is high time the industry takes responsibility for the effect it has on women by determining a narrow standard is the only standard of beauty.

“We have young girls who are feeling really bad about themselves because of the images that my industry is putting out, and this has been a problem for years and years and years. I lived through it, my sister lived through it…and now I’m in a place where I’m a part of the industry and I can therefore be a part of the solution,” she said.


The “sample size” ideal has had such a profound and far-reaching effect on greater society to the point that anything outside the “norms” created by fashion and advertising is thought of by everyday people as different, or abnormal. When someone makes a comment such as “oh that person doesn’t look great in that ad” or “that kind of look doesn’t sell” they are not actually communicating their own individual opinions, they are regurgitating cleverly marketed statement by the industry that has been ingrained into our subconsciousness for decades and decades.

We are living in a time where inauthentic statements about beauty and fashion have become a successful vehicle for fashion and advertising to work together for the good of consumerism, not our self-esteem. This has to stop.

Just recently, Disney Channel’s ‘Austin & Ally’ star Raini Rodriguez wrote an insightful response to a fan on her Tumblr who asked her to be her friend because she looks up to the star who doesn’t conform to the skinny standards perpetuated by the media and fashion. Raini’s words sum up exactly what is wrong with these ideals.

Growing up, we as people are taught that if we don’t look or act a certain way we’ll never fit in or succeed like the group of people who are that way. You’ve always had the ability to be whoever you want to be. Whether you’re a short Latina with crazy curly hair and chubby cheeks or a super tall girl with beautiful blue eyes. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING. Never for one second think you can’t fit into society because you don’t look or act the way everyone else does,” she wrote.

She also added that how you look shouldn’t define who you are, but since we are living in such looks-obsessed world, and let’s be honest the pressure is much greater on women than it is for men, we might as well focus on empowering messages that seek to build confidence.

We’re excited to see the impact ‘Straight/Curve’ will make on a generation of young women who will hopefully grow up in a world filled with diverse models on the catwalk and in magazines. Here is the trailer of the film:




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