It has become fact that the fashion industry is one cruel mistress; be it how models who are often called ‘fat’ (when they’re not) or how one’s body image is often damaged due to all the tricks (one of which is photoshop) used to achieve that “perfect” look. Even in this day of diversity where plus-sized models aren’t a rarity anymore, it comes as surprising and even sad to hear about the things that these models have to go through to be able to do their job. This was particularly evident for Iskra Lawrence, a 25-year-old plus-sized British model who talked about the different tricks that the fashion industry implements in order to create a “perfect” image and how that affects our body confidence in turn.
Iskra is the powerhouse plus-sized lingerie model for the Aerie brand and an advocate for body positivity by becoming a leading voice for the #EveryBODYisBeautiful campaign. However, she is unique even within the plus-sized model category as the size 14 model is (don’t be shocked) actually the size of the average UK and US woman.
Thus, while she models, most clothing she’s made to try out has trouble fitting her as many fashion brands see her as being too thick to be dressed in their size 0 outfits while not thick enough to fit into their plus-sized range. Because of that, it was hard for Iskra to really find a place in the fashion industry. She either had to wear breast or butt paddings or her photo has been retouched multiple times so that she could fit with the “perfect” mould that the fashion industry wants for both the skinny and the plus-size images throughout her career. It is quite shocking when Iskra also revealed that her images were altered so much that her family, friends as well as herself from recognising herself in multiple magazine ads.
In a separate interview, Iskra commented that it would’ve made more sense for these fashion brands to either find a model in the size of the clothes used in the photoshoots or simply get clothes which fit the models chosen – especially since these brands would have the models vital stats during casting.
Perhaps that is why the title of Iskra’s TEDx talk of “Ending the Pursuit of Perfection” is so apt. Just like what she said, with the fashion industry and the media bombarding us with images of “perfection”, we females have been taught from young on the pursuit of this ‘thing’ which is impossible to achieve. As a result, teenage girls have an unhealthy relationship with themselves and body dysmorphia often occurs. Which is why she feels that girls need to be taught self-love and self-care in order to build one’s confidence.
Why does one’s confidence have to stem from the size of one’s body or the ability to fit into certain sized clothes? Seems ridiculous but Iskra shared how she nearly went back to her teenage mindset of being ‘unworthy’ when the jeans she tried on, in the largest available size at the store, didn’t fit her.
Ladies, you are not your size. As mentioned in a previous article, being fit (or even looking so) does not mean that you’re healthy. What is more important is to be healthy and happy. Once you achieve that, you’ll naturally be confident and love yourself.
Photo Credits: Mendoza Post, Instagram, Daily Mail, TEDx