Ashley Graham, 28 and a size 14, has been modelling since she was a child. More recently she made headlines as the first 'plus size' star to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated and has appeared as a part of numerous campaigns promoting body positivity. Now though, she is featuring in the new adverts for H&M's higher end line, with no mention of 'plus size' labels.
She told Harper's Bazaar:
"My hope is that young women who shop at H&M see me in the ads and are reminded that there is not one standard definition of beauty or one perfect size. It's exciting to be representing one of the most internationally known fashion retailers that is not only offering more options for curvy women , but pieces that have a high fashion aesthetic.
Growing up I didn't have curvy role models, mainly because I didn't see enough curvy women represented in major ads. I started modelling 16 years ago. The industry was much different. There wasn't social media helping to launch careers, and "plus size" models weren't considered supermodels. Now we're seeing curvy women on runways, on magazine covers and in major advertising campaigns alongside "straight size" models. We're seeing more inclusivity when it comes to size, and we have to continue featuring more and more diversity."
I've always said that if we stand a chance at inclusivity in the fashion industry then we are going to need to banish labels and this really does seem like a great step. I love that H&M haven't made a whole who-ha about this, they've just used a "curvy" (i hate that word in this context) girl to show their clothes, alongside a "normal" (we that seems VERY wrong) catalogue model. The minute I get my vocab sorted, we will be well on the way to how this should be.
Not least of all because there is NOTHING more annoying for me when I am internet shopping, than seeing the clothes that I think I want modelled on women that look absolutely nothing like me. They arrive on my door step and look like totally different garments.
So I don't want to dwell on this and make into the song and dance that H&M have done so well at avoiding, but I just wanted to share this story with you all to let you know that I think I can smell the winds of change in the air, and dayumnnnn, they smell good.