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Navabi challenges representation of plus size women in the media

By Simone Preuss


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More than 50 percent of European women wear plus sizes but only 2 percent of the women shown in fashion and lifestyle magazines do. That means at least half of all women are not portrayed correctly in women's magazines. Premium plus size retailer Navabi wants to change this and invites the fashion industry with its campaign #MorePlusPlease that started yesterday to represent women more accurately.

The online retailer surveyed twelve popular women's magazines in the UK (Cosmopolitan, Elle, Marie Claire, Vogue, Heat, Look, OK!, Stylist, Grazia, InStyle, Porter and Red) und discovered that the ratio of 'model size' women and plus size women was 23:1. In actual numbers, that meant only 47 of 2099 women in total (in editorials as well as in ads) were plus size women, a mere 2.2 percent.

Plus size women are routinely ignored by women's magazines

The reality women face is vastly different from what the media tricks them into believing. "There is no one version of beauty and it's time the industry reflected this. And we're not talking just one model in a show or publishing a shoot just once a season in a magazine,” commented Miriam Lahage, navabi's chief merchant.

How badly curvy women fair in magazines becomes clear once one looks more closely at those images that show plus size women: Very rarely are they large spreads; they are mainly small images somewhere at the edge of the page. There are also hardly any curvy women in ads - only one (Dolce & Gabbana) featured a plus size woman in its campaign. And the plus size women featured are generally not shown in a fashion context.

"There is a mindset among designers which results in media collateral that totally excludes plus size women - from catwalk imagery to samples. For example, not one single model at the two leading specialist plus size model agencies has been booked for LFW. This needs to change. And we would also invite fashion writers and stylists to take the initiative and challenge the received wisdom. For example, with designers moving to a show and buy concept which will remove the sample tyranny there has never been a greater opportunity for stylists to embrace size diversity in their shoots", added Lahage.

Only in December, navabi took quick action against a fat shaming campaign that took place in London. Using the slogan "You look great!", the company encouraged women to like their bodies the way they are.