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Diane's plus size fashion blog

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Dec. 19th Size Zero Model v Plus Size Model

A favourite topic on Forums and The Press in general is discussion on the terms they use and how they refer to size within the fashion industry. We are now all familiar with the terms Size Zero and Plus Size (although there is some confusion around the use of these terms and the limits they attempt to describe).

There is a general understanding that Size Zero is the extreme opposite of Plus Size and this is nowhere more apparent than within the modelling world where models are labelled as such and never the twain shall meet on a Catwalk.

Size Zero is a term conjured up in the USA to describe a Sample Size Model (Size Zero is a UK Size 6). A sample size model (sometimes called a 'fitting model') we are told, is preferred by designers as they are the smallest economic size to use to make up and fit their clothes collections on. Designers assert that fabric is expensive and that they wish to make up a 'sample' at less cost. Here is where the problem starts. In determining such a small size as a Sample Size, Designers have set an industry standard. Why should a Size Zero/UK Size 6 be the preferred sample size? Given that the vast majority of models are 5'9" tall and taller it is a ridiculous and dangerously unhealthy size for such a tall frame of woman. I think we all know that most models struggle to maintain such a low body weight and frame size. The Size Zero/UK size 6 model is scrawny and unhealthy at this size. By continuing to use a Size Zero/UK Size 6 model within the fashion industry the message received by impressionable young women (in particular) is that this is the standard to measure up against. Stick thin is beautiful! Society must accept part of the blame here by not being vocal enough in its revulsion of dangerous and unhealthy projections of body size. It is the power of the Consumer that will make positive changes. We must all be more active in our demands for healthier images and projections of body size. Size Zero/UK Size 6 should never have been allowed to become the norm!

Plus Size modelling begins at a UK size 12 (although increasingly many agencies now have UK size 10 as their plus size starter size) and continues up to a UK Size 26. If you are an aspiring model and do not fit the Size Zero profile (say because you are a size UK 8/10) you become an "inbetweener" and do not fit into either division of modelling. Now you have a choice - either lose weight and enter the Size Zero Modelling World or gain weight and enter the Plus Size Modelling World. There should, in theory (by reason of the larger scope in sizing attached to the definition of Plus Size Modelling) be more potential for a Plus Size Model and therefore (as a branch of modelling) Plus Size Models should be in a better and stronger position to attract more media attention and appeal much more to the general public, who after all buy the clothes and are seduced by the marketing. Whilst changes are afoot and acceptance is drawing closer, plus size modelling still does not enjoy the status and elevation that the Size Zero Model branch of the industry enjoys. Plus Size Modelling is still seen as modelling for fat people. Plus Size Modelling and the world of plus size in general is NOT about celebrating obesity. The Plus Size Modelling World is the only place where normality is given true expression. Whilst positive moves have been made to include more diversity on the catwalk and in the printed media, these are slow. I hope that 2014 brings more diversity to the Catwalk and we can eventually have "Models" (in all their shapes and sizes) and not divisions.

beat logo

Dec 12th Plus Size Models help to promote a more positive body image

Last week I showcased the newest finds in plus size modelling by presenting the Finalists of the Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 competition. The organisers of the Ms Curvaceous UK competition have chosen to work alongside B-eat in their bid to promote a more positive body image within the Fashion Industry.

B-eat is an Eating Disorder Association who provide help lines, online support and a network of UK wide self help Groups to help adults and young people in the UK beat their eating disorders.

B-eat estimate that approximately 1.6 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder, of which around 11% of this total are male.

It is estimated that of those with eating disorders:

  • 10% of sufferers are Anorexic,
  • 40% are Bulimic, and
  • the rest comprise sufferers of compulsive and/or binge eating disorders.

No direct causal link has been established between the casting decisions of the Fashion Industry (and the images that they have published of women) and the onset of an eating disorder BUT images such as these below of some of the scrawny, malnourished models used at New York Fashion Week do considerable damage in the mindset of impressionable and vulnerable young people; as well as causing revulsion and pity amongst society at large.

scrawny model from New York Fashion Weekscrawny model from New York Fashion Week

The fashion industry does have a powerful influence in perception of beauty and positive body image, and it is this industry that can make a difference by showcasing more diversity in healthy body size and shape on the catwalk - reflecting the differences in people within society. Body image and perception of self contribute in the mix of who we are and what we want to be.

In 2007 the then 19 editors of Vogue magazines around the world launched 'The Health Initiative', a pact to "reflect their commitment to the health of the models who appear on the pages and the wellbeing of their readers." A recent report (2012) has shown that progress within this Initiative has been predictably slow.

I feel very strongly about this issue and want Equality Legislation within the UK to include the vast remit of the modelling world. I want to see controls placed on the images of models used and celebrated in both print and online media. I want a legal definition of a healthy body size, and a minimum age placed on the use of models used to promote fashions/cosmetics/perfumery etc to specific target markets. The world of plus size and plus size modelling is NOT about celebrating obesity. When we can get back to the projection of a healthier and more positive body image we can then work on the issue of obesity and how to tackle this problem. If you feel as bly as I do about this subject please write to your MP. Consumer Power is the only power that corporate understands!

Eating disorders are a serious mental illness which can have a devastating effect not only on the sufferer but also on the family of the sufferer. Eating Disorders are treatable conditions and the sooner someone gets the treatment they need, the more likely they are to make a full recovery.

Contact B-eat if you are concerned or want more information about eating disorders OR how you can play your part in helping to promote a healthy and positive body image within society.

Help Line 0845 634 1414 Mon - Thurs 1.30pm - 4.30pm


Youth Line 0845 634 7650 Mon- Thurs 1.30pm - 4.30pm


Within other regions of the UK (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, and Channel Isles) AND the Republic of Ireland see below

Scotland - No Bodies Perfect -

Wales - B-eat Cymru

Northern Ireland - EDANI - Eating Disorders Association NI

Tel 028 9023 5959

Isle of Man - The Manx Eating Disorders Group email

Tel Georgina or Donna 330922 (Evenings and Weekends)

Channel Isles - Eating Disorders Support Group JERSEY

Republic of Ireland - Eating Disorder Association of Ireland - BodyWhys -

local 1890 200 444

Have a look at our video of the Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 Finals in London on 24/11/13.

Thank you for your continued support. Please write to your MP and let me know the outcome. You can contact me by email diane @ I am also on Twitter and Facebook. Until next Thursday 19/12/13 Diane xxx


Plus size model Elia Johnson


Dec 5th Plus Size Models - Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 Final

I am very excited about this particular blog post this week as it showcases the newest "finds" in plus size modelling within the UK and highlights a new and growing trend to bring more diversity in size and shape into the Media and on the Catwalk.

The Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 competition is now in its 3rd year and has become a well respected authority in its ability to "find" new talent for the growing demand for plus size models globally. This competition has launched many careers to date; the most notable find so far being Simone Charles (who won the title "Ms Curvaceous UK 2012"). Since winning Ms Curvaceous UK 2012, Simone has been catapulted into the realms of supermodel status and is now signed with Models 1 (the largest modelling agency in Europe and ranked in the top 5 modelling agencies in the world). The winner of the Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 Final is Elia Johnson from Denmark. Elia is 5'10"tall and a UK size 16. She is truly a gorgeous girl in both looks and personality and is multi-lingual (language skills that will ensure she can converse with the world's media and engage with women from many nations).

Plus size model Elia Johnson Ms Curvaceous UK 2013

Elia Johnson (Denmark) Ms Curvaceous UK 2013

The 2013 Final introduced 18 gorgeous young women to the plus size modelling world and to model scouts from the 2 big name agencies in plus size modelling - Hughes Models, and Models 1. (At the time of writing I am aware that 2 of these girls have been signed by Hughes Models whilst others have been offered work and are under consideration from other agencies) Two girls have also had test shoots for a Designer who will be showing at London Fashion Week 2014. Yes you heard me correctly - LONDON FASHION WEEK 2014. The struggle to showcase and celebrate a healthy normality in all its sizes and shapes of women is ongoing and has been an uphill struggle. The days of the size zero/sample size as being the only representation of beauty and perfection are numbered. From here on in women demand more inclusivity! THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING!!!!

Showcasing diversity pays and makes economic sense. Research has shown that women are 3 times more likely to make a purchase if they see clothes on models in sizes and shapes that they can identify with. I have already commended Debenhams on this website (blog post 14th November 2013) for their plans to introduce size 16 mannequins into their stores UK wide. (Size 16 being the average size of the UK woman). Other Retailers on the British High Street WILL make positive moves to represent a more realistic and healthy normality in body size and shape in time. The commercial reality will eventually hit them if nothing else does!

As a general indicator, plus size modelling begins at a UK size 12 (although some agencies consider a size 10 to be plus size) with a minimum height requirement of 5'6";. The 18 Finalists represented height ranges from 5'4" (petite) - 5'10" in sizes UK12 - UK18. They all looked fabulous and worthy potential ambassadors for an array of fashion labels.

On the night there were 2 parts to the Show. Up first were 7 women (who all made it through to the photographic finals of the Ms Curvaceous competition). These women were showcased because the management of the Competition felt that there was an extra dimension of diversity to them all which needed to be presented for consideration - possibly a future direction or addition in the world of plus size modelling. Yours truly was one of the 7 and I (at age 48) was picked to represent the older woman.

Plus size model Diane Marshall UK size 18 age 48 at Finals of Ms Curvaceous UK 2013, London

Diane Marshall, UK size 18 ©

Peaches plus size model at Finals of Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 London

Peaches, UK size 12 ©

plus size model uk size 14 at Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 Finals London


plus size model Laura Creamer at Final of Ms Curvaceous UK 2013

Laura Creamer, ©

plussize model

Izzy, ©

plus size petite model African ethnicity at Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 London


plus size model Caroline at Final of Ms Curvaceous UK 2013

Caroline, ©

plus size models at Ms Curvaceous UK Finals 2013 in London

Group photo of the "7" plus size models ©

I apologise for some missing information as to names and dress sizes. Please contact me by email or via my Plussize facebook page to have your details amended or updated. I have 130 images of the entire competition and cannot represent all of these images on this blog post. As I get images resized I will also post to my Plussize Facebook page.

plus size model at Final of Ms Curvaceous UK 2013, London


The main competition was given over to the 18 finalists who ranged in age from 17 - 26. They had 3 catwalk designer shows to walk in. The Designers showcased were 1. Dea of London 2. Miss Lacy and 3. Syreeta Badu. Here are some fabulous images of these girls representing fashions from all 3 of the Designers. The photographer of all of these images is Rob Anderman (freelance photographer) and he has had his work published in Vogue and The Sunday Times amongst other publications of note. He told me that he has never ever had an assignment where so many "fit" women where all together in the one room at the one time. Well ladies what does this comment say about what men think true beauty really is and how much they love your curves?

plus size model at Finals of Ms Curvaceous UK 2013, London


plus size model Shodease - Finalist in Ms Curvaceous UK 2013, London

Shodease ©

Poppy plus size model at Ms Curvaceous UK Final 2013

Poppy 2nd in Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 Final

plus size model at Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 Final


plus size model at Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 Final

3rd in Ms Curvaceous UK Final 2013 ©

plus size petite model Finalist Kristina at Ms Curvaceous UK 2013, London

Kristina, ©

plus size models at the Ms Curvaceous UK Finals 2013 London


plus size model at Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 Final, London

Katherine, ©

Jerri Hoath plus size model at Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 Final London

Jerri Hoath, ©

plus size model Jade Elliott at the Finals of Ms Curvaceous UK 2013, London

Jade Elliot, ©

Fritha Lambert plus size model at Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 Finals, London

Fritha Lambert, ©

plus size petite model Diana at Ms Curvaceous UK Final 2013, London

Diana, ©

plus size model Kassandra Kuhn (Germany), finalist in the Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 Finals in London

Kassandra Kuhn (Germany),

Ayesha Drummond plus size model at Finals of Ms Curvaceous UK 2013, London

Ayesha Drummond, ©

Alina Wilson plus size model and finalist in Ms Curvaceous UK 2013, London

Alina Wilson, ©

Adenike Plus Size Model and Finalist at Ms Curvaceous UK 2013 in Londond

Adenike, ©

I wish all these girls every success in their future modelling careers. Next week I will have a video showcasing the Finals, and I will write about the main charity focus of the Ms Curvaceous UK competition - B-eat (reg charity working to educate about Anorexia).

You can follow me on Twitter , @plussizecouk and Facebook (to get special offers and discount codes from all your favourite retailers and more). Until next Thursday 12/12/13. Diane


Nov 2013 blogs, click here - Nov 28th Cyber Weekend Bargains. Nov 21st Christmas Gift Ideas. Nov. 14th Plus Size Fashion - changing times, Nov 7th Christmas shopping - plus size smart casual wear.

Oct 2013 blogs, click here - Oct 31st Plus Size Cocktail Party Dresses, Oct 24th Shoes and Bags for Rush Hour, Oct 17th Plus Size Halloween Outfits,Oct 10th Large & Wide Calf boots, Oct 3rd Knitwear for Corporate Daywear

Sept 2013 blogs, click here - Sept 26th Coats for Corporate Daywear, Sept 19th Scarlett & Jo at Evans, Sept 5th-13th Outfits of the Day, Casual, Work, Smart Casual, Partywear.

Aug 2013 blogs, click here - Aug 29th Woolovers Knitwear AW13, Aug 26 Petite-out and about, Aug 22nd Petite Office wear 2013, Aug 15th Walking shoes, Aug 8th Wardrobe Planning AW13, Aug 1st Ample Bosom

July 2013 blogs, click here - July 25th - Designer bargains AW'13
19th Dresses for a big middle, 13th - Maternity essentials, 5th Focus on size 28+

June 2013 blogs, click here - June 28th - Tall Summer Story
27th - Legs Eleven, 20th - Tea at The Ritz , 15th - Welcome to my blog !

diane marshall, plus size model, in red skater dress