How Dare They! H&M Uses Plus Size Model In A Campaign Without Pointing It Out

H&M beachwear

As you can probably gather, that title was completely dripping with sarcasm. We leaped out of our seats after reading about this fashion story on the Daily Mail website and Jezebel.

For a long time our problem with the fashion industry is that the sizes of its models are not accurately representing the majority of female consumers in the world.

To read that a size 12 (US size) is considered plus size makes us furious because that is an average size in the real world. It seems so ludicrous that bigger, curvier models are kept in a special fringe category in the fashion industry, where as in the real world, this is the everyday woman. So why aren’t more designers and brands changing their standards to include some of the bigger sizes as part of their normal stock?

This anger was mainly aimed at brands that are sold in everyday stores, not the high end couture boutiques and fashion houses of course. Well it seems we are not the only one who have been holding out hope, and clothing giant H&M have listened to our cries.

On their website right now they are promoting their latest beachwear campaign, which features plus size model Jennie Runk. The great thing is, the campaign is just labeled ‘Beachwear’ (see above), no mention of ‘plus size’ anywhere! Hallelujah!

What makes H&M’s decision so ground breaking is how casually it handled breaking fashion norms. There was no press release or loud declaration on its website.

(Interestingly, when you click through to the beachwear section, only then do you see the “H&M+” tag. And for any smaller sized women looking to purchase these prints, well, they can’t. They only come in the plus size 14-24 range. Maybe that’s a bit of a snub toward all the labels who have previously excluded plus sizes in their designs…)

H&M Beachwear

It is a bold and timely move for the brand which has set tongues wagging and hopefully enable other major clothing companies to follow suit. 24 year old model Jennie who has been modeling since she was 14 has been featured in many plus size campaigns and last year told Vogue Italia the separation between “plus size” and “normal” is getting old. She actually stopped dieting and gained 20lbs to become a plus size model, and can we just say she is stunningly curvy and beautiful!

Readers of the Jezebel article posted by Jenna Sauers are applauding the move, with one commentator saying ‘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.”

H&M Beachwear

Miss Runk tell the Daily Mail 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 every woman should be represented equally — we’re all beautiful in our own ways!’

Jezebel writer Sauers points out “I think it sends a positive message about inclusivity and changing standards of beauty to have a plus-size girl all over the landing page Not /plussizebeachwear! Just /beachwear.”
Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 5.29.52 PM
Thank you H&M for realizing that real women are not a small marginalized category. Thank you for showing your millions of consumers worldwide that they should all embrace their curves and bodies because we are beautiful the way we are. This is a great campaign that not only advertizes fashionable clothing, but also sends out an important message to young girls that there is a place for them in industries like fashion. Being body positive should be a two way street: women embracing who they are, and companies and brands understanding the needs of women of all shapes and sizes. Fashion moguls, it’s time to get creative and get real!


  1. Ana Jevdjk says:

    This would have been a great victory, unfortunately, they are still labeling it as H&M+ (meaning plus size). This isn’t considered just regular H&M+.

  2. samwilson says:

    she is beautiful…what is the problem???

  3. It clearly says H&M+. The + sign is in every photo. It’s not the regular campaign.

  4. This article is great, except for when it uses a term like “Real Women” to describe only plus-sized women. Body shaming goes both ways, please don’t be rude.

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  6. Alissa Forester says:

    Love it! Very true…

  7. I don’t like the bottoms, I want the boy cut to look a little more low cut. There’s nothing wrong with the picture except the high cut catches her wrong on the hips and the thighs. I want to see those lovely hips and to have the boy shorts a little more shorty with some side detail maybe? Like repeating those knots from the straps. Fashion designers are getting better, but they really need to stop worrying about “hiding problem areas” and start accentuating the good parts of a curvy figure by cutting better lines for the whole body outline. The best way to camouflage imperfections is to just let them be and distract and redirect. They’re probably not her favorite, but she still looks hot in a bikini. I’m liking H&M’s choice, but not quite sold on the bikini cut. At any rate, free publicity hailing H&M Magazine without mentioning that there is only one page of plus sized choices for summer, as opposed to nine pages for smaller sizes…
    Yeah, some triumph of marketing. Too bad there’s not enough selection for me to bother making a purchase.

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