Plus size models: is the beauty industry behind the times when it comes to representing ‘real’ women?

Plus size models: is the beauty industry behind the times when it comes to representing ‘real’ women?

The fashion industry has recently been hailed for a slew of campaigns embracing plus size models, as consumers call for more ‘real’ and achievable women to front advertising, but is the beauty market on the backburner?

Indeed, while the fashion market can claim the lack of sample clothes in bigger sizes for its lack of diversity, the beauty market has no such issue to fall back on. With most campaigns focusing on a woman’s face, the fact has been raised as to why there isn’t more plus-size models fronting beauty and personal care marketing campaigns.

However, there are some companies willing to break out, such as make up brand MAC who has previously used Beth Ditto in a campaign. Speaking in a statement given to Style.Mic, James Gager, MAC’s Senior Vice President and Group Creative Director said, “At MAC, our mantra is all ages, all races, all sexes. We encourage self-expression, individuality and self-transformations; these are the basic foundations of the brand. Everyone is welcomed into MAC. There are no rules.”

However, this seems to be the exception to the rule. Christian Louboutin has previously placed emphasis on plus size model Clémentine Desseaux using its lipstick. But rather than being the face of its campaign, as was initially thought, the company simply reposted a video of Desseaux using its products in her own life, and was never working directly with the model.

Desseaux welcomed the coverage, however, and saw it as a positive step forward for the beauty industry finally coming round to the idea that there isn’t just one stereotype of ‘beauty.

Speaking to Style.Mic, she said, “I loved reading and hearing all the positive messages that followed to both the brand and myself. It was like something really game-changing had happened. And I guess in some ways, it did happen.
“People finally saw something that was refreshing but, more importantly, drastically different than what they have been fed by all beauty brands for so long.”

Time will tell whether other beauty brands follow suit, but with consumers using the vital tool of social media to call these companies to do just that, it seems it will only be a matter of time.

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