All over the world, slim models catwalking the runway have become the standard by which designers create their collections. In many instances, designers will first feature their collections on the runway with slim before its reproduced in different other sizes.
At the recently held Glitz Africa Fashion Week, I noticed the excitement from the crowd when the Plus Size Models came up the runway to walk in collections from some selected designers. This was a particular session called “About that Curvy Life Collective” which had plus size models exclusively catwalk for designers. Latasha Ngwube is the brain behind “About that Curvy Life Collective” Show which has featured at the Glitz Africa Fashion Week since last year.
The show had the likes of media personality AJ Sarpong, Comedian Jancinta, Tracy, wife of musician Sarkodie, and a host of other plus size models.
People have argued that the average African woman is not a size 0-8 as we often see on our fashion runways but rather a size 12 upwards yet these women are not represented on our runways as much as its reflected in our society. This a lot of times leads to women feeling they need to reduce in weight to fit in or wear such dresses and are sometimes generally shunned for being plumped.
In the fashion industry, “plus size” is a term for models who are size 8 upwards though in the real world, most people would never think of a size 8 as plus size. Unfortunately, we rarely see plus size women on our catwalks all across Africa.
This is slowly changing as we have in recent times seen designers making plus size wears for showcase on the runway. Similarly, there are agencies that are dedicated solely to the management of plus size models as is the case of many other agencies that run standard size models.
Joey Kwakofi is the founder of Plus Size Model Agency in Ghana which is dedicated to managing plus size models to embrace their size and do not feel any less because they are not like the slim models we often see.
Joey explained that he started his agency solely to manage plus size models because he has observed that these groups of women are not well represented at fashion weeks even though they form a large majority of African women. “I have been in the modelling industry for over 7 years and looking at the population of plus size women, I was wondering why all runway outfits has to be about the slender ones” he stated.
His reason for starting Plus Size Modeling Agency was to “build confidence among these women as well as promote healthy living while encouraging designers to design pieces for the plus size women who form a large majority of African women”
He also organised the Beautiful Bold Women (BBW) Affair Show as a way of celebrating and appreciating plus size women. So far, his models have catwalked the runway on shows such as The Golden Hair Fashion Show and Corporate Fashion Expose.
Whereas still in its early days yet, Joey admits it’s not been an easy thing to pull off as designers still have challenges accepting these models for their show. “It is very difficult for people to accept and put my models on the runway but hard work and grace of God is changing the story now” he added.
We are equally seeing this cut across several industries such as music, movies and social media for plus size style bloggers with a deliberate effort at changing the narrative and redirecting the mind on how big, bold and beautiful a plus size woman can be.