Twice a year, the world's top fashion designers converge at fashion week in the four fashion capitals (New York, London, Milan, and Paris) to show their spring and fall collectsion. Typically, the models they cast are size zero, 5' 11", and white. However, the world's top agency, IMG, is trying to change that. In November, IMG Models Senior Vice President and Managing Director Ivan Bart told Cosmopolitan.com the agency would combine its plus-size board (the term for an agency's grouping of models) with its straight-size board. "We want to be an ageless, raceless, weightless agency," he said. "We just want to represent the best people in the industry." (Straight-size is an industry term models who are roughly 5' 10" with 34-inch hips, while a "plus-size" is the modeling industry catchall for models of a bigger size.)
Combining "plus-size" and "straight-size" boards is revolutionary in an industry thats operated in much the same way for decades. Also revolutionary: IMG is including five gorgeous, fuller-figured women in the packages sent to designers casting for New York Fashion Week. (Every top agency makes these packages, which are essentially special portfolios of the models agencies hope will get the most work during the show season.)
Not every model on an agency's roster is guaranteed inclusion in such a package (without it they have no chance of being cast).
Of course, we don't know if designers will cast these five models in shows alongside the super-skinny runway models we're used to seeing. Agencies exert a certain amount of influence over such decisions by grouping girls together so that if a designer wants a specific model, he or she must also take another model the agency is trying to develop. But they can't make designers cast any of these five women — designers have to choose to do so themselves.
Hopefully designers will see casting these gorgeous models as an opportunity to shake up the system, just like IMG is.
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