It’s time for the fashion industry to wake up! How many viral movements and articles do we have to write to impress upon the decision makers that the consumers of the world want to see real women plastered across billboards and magazines. Our mission, alongside many others, is to see women in the 10-14 size category be considered normal, and not ‘plus sized’. If only the fashion industry would realize they are calling the majority of women in the world plus size by alienating those few sizes!
Saffi Karina, 27, is a British model who has worked for some of the world’s biggest brands, but it hasn’t always been a shiny happy ride to where she is today. 7 years ago, when she was 21, Saffi was dumped from a high profile modeling agency in London after being told she was “too fat”. Instead of trying to go on a crash diet and dangerously lose weight, she signed with a new agency, Storm Models who are also one of the biggest in the UK, and she hasn’t looked back. Since then she has gone on to model for brands like Speedo, Body Shop, Marks & Spencers, and UK Department store giant Debenhams.
But it hasn’t stopped there. Saffi has realized there is a huge need for more women to stand up for curves and tell young women that they are healthy and normal the way they are. Her change in body happened at every point for women, during puberty, but instead of trying to change that, she embraced it.
“As you grow older, you become more womanly and I actually didn’t want to change that, so I started looking for what else was out there. I began working as a plus-size model and it is a very positive and happy industry. I still got to do what I loved and travel the world.” She tells the Evening Standard in the UK
“I had only been working for a couple of years, and really loving it, when they dropped me. But I have 41-inch hips — they are pure bone, there is nothing I can do about them, they aren’t going anywhere. I had to work with what I’ve got.”
In fact, Karina has been more successful as a plus size model and wants to help other women in the industry to see you don’t have to be skeletal to succeed. She founded the Curve Project London campaign last year after being contacted for advice by “ordinary girls” unable to achieve the skeletal look described recently as “Paris thin”.
“I started thinking there was more I could do with all my contacts in the industry. I thought up Curve Project London — it is more than a workshop, it’s a movement to empower women, to give them confidence and skills for life.” The organization conducts workshops for models with top fashion executives where they teach catwalk skills, how to put together a portfolio, what to expect in a casting, how to do hair and makeup and all the essentials for being a successful fashion model. In fact you don’t have to be an aspiring model to join, on their website they offer their services to women who are simply looking for a boost of confidence when it comes to body image.
It is currently the only plus-size model workshop, but we hope this will start a growing trend around the world. It is clear Saffi is passionate about changing the way the industry works. If being a plus-size model is a happier more positive environment for models, then what does that say about the cut-throat skeletal side of the industry?
“There is no A-class guidance for plus-size models. I wanted to offer that in London. There is a real thirst for ‘normal’ sized women, especially for commercial brands. I want to strive to endorse a positive body image and act as a role model to young women who previously thought ‘thin’ was the only way to get a foot over the fashion threshold.”
Curve Project London is more than just a model workshop. It’s a movement, it says on their website. They aim to empower, educate and encourage young women to love and embrace the skin their skin.
Catwalk choreographer Les Child, involved in the masterclasses, said: “Plus-size women are more realistic and it gives other women an image they can relate to.”
We are sure that Saffi Karina is not the only woman or model to have experienced something this. There is a generation of women who are rejecting the notion of ‘heroine chic’ that came about in the 90s, to create their own version of fashion relating to reality. With the rise of social media, reality TV and instant gratification of consumerism, fashion brands and companies can no longer afford to be projecting unhealthy, unrealistic images onto women and men. It’s time they wise up and get real.
If you have ever experienced a job loss, negativity or backlash because of your body shape tell us why and how you overcame it.