Step into any popular fashion retailer and this is one of the images you may see. Cara Delavingne and Gigi Hadid watching over every corner of a store with smoky come hither eyes that beg shoppers to buy the ensemble they effortlessly wear. The element missing in these images is the reality that the average woman is a size twelve.
Since 1923, the plus size clothing industry has grown into a $17 billion industry. Brands such as Lane Bryant, Torrid, Old Navy, and more have answered the demand for plus size clothing lines. In response, young and old alike, plus size women are stepping up to model sizes twelve and up.
Non models may see modeling to be an easy job, but the reality of the business is a cut throat world of rigid standards and rejection. In a set of women who are often judged as less than the ideal image of beauty, the plus size modeling industry is even more competitive.
Independent designer Kristen Sellers, of Kilika Couture in Louisville, Ky., said that plus size consumers make up less than 30 percent of her business. The number may seem small, but while the demand for plus size clothing is present so is the job of modeling them.
In the fashion world, a plus size is considered to be anything over an eight, and the majority of products showcase this trend. Every day is not the runway and that is why it is important that we recognize the difference between a size eight and a size twelve.
When the national average is a twelve, it is even more important that we accept the clothing and women that represent that average. To combat this standard, there are women who have braved the harsh expectations of the industry and taken the plunge into plus size modeling. They face another level of limelight and it is not always pretty.
The criteria for plus size models are similar to “regular” models in the fashion industry and may be hard to maintain with a different body type. One example includes the need to maintain an overall toned or “fit” appearance.
Despite the plus size body type, some characteristics are still equally scrutinized. Cellulite and stretch marks are just two of these unfavorable traits. These traits may cost a model a booking or may simply limit the garments they are able to represent.
Ironically, plus size models also face scrutiny when they do lose weight. Agencies and viewers alike label models into a weight category that defines what products they may and may not represent. Based on this label, models search for brands or lines that want their products represented by that body type.
When a plus size model loses weight, she also risks losing bookings with brands that may already represent her. This becomes an issue for agencies when they have to start rebranding a models image. People who view plus size models who lose weight may express a sense of lost advocacy. Some even suggest that they are selling out their success and succumbing to the norm.
One of the most prevalent issues plus size models face comes from their viewers. Being in the limelight, and in an area that may be considered nonstandard to some, means opening your work up to criticism. Models in general receive a lot of criticism, but some may argue plus size models receive more. They are criticized for the plus size label and the clothes they showcase as well as their attitudes.
A misconception among some viewers of plus size models is that they are unhappy, in general and with their plus size status. It is true that some women may be unhappy with their appearance, but for many, being plus size is simply who they are. Now, since the average size is a twelve, many feel they are simply advocating for what is the “real” standard rather than the fashion industry’s standard.
The clothing being modeled may also cause problems. Plus size model Candice Candid of Tampa, Fla., said “They don’t design the clothes for curvy women. I have an hourglass figure. My clothes need to be cut the same way a size six should be cut. Instead they cut them straight which is less figure flattering.” Candid currently holds the title of USA National Miss Central Florida 2016 and Miss Fashion Week Plus Tampa 2017.
A model’s job is to showcase a product with the goal of selling it to viewers. When the clothing does not fit to the body type it is marketed to, it makes the job difficult. Alyssa Alexander of Louisville, Ky., described some plus size clothing as being “frumpy, flowy conservative things.”
Alyssa is one of the latest models representing Slink Jeans, a Los Angeles based plus size premium collection. Brands such as Slink Jeans use this particular issue as a selling point by speaking to the hearts and bodies of women across the world. Slink Jeans promises a body positive line “with curve hugging technology.”
The fashion industry’s standards have long ago transferred over to what society may expect of most women. As women take on the enormous task of plus size modeling they are representing more than just the clothing. The challenges models face in the business point to some of the struggles that plus size women face on a daily basis.
(Photo via Torrid)
The Eagle Food and Beer Hall, the latest addition on Bardstown Road of Louisville, Ky., provides more than the average burger and beer. Chicken focused dining may seem all too present in the area, but new cooking techniques give way to a new experience.
Upon first glance, the common brick exterior provides only a small insight into the calm and charming interior. The décor is reminiscent of the historic Over-the-Rhine district of Cincinnati, Ohio, in which the original restaurant is located. The dim lighting compliments the dark-rustic wood and iron work, a comfortable ambience fitting for the working class, 19th century, Over-The-Rhine community.
With modern but detailed textures, the interior design is comparable to Art Deco in the 19th century era. The lighting fixtures are the only decoration, besides furniture. The walls are textured. There is one exceedingly modern touch throughout the establishment, the restaurant’s large eagle-centered logo printed on a wall.
The seating space appears limited but walking around the establishment reveals otherwise. A second level provides another table top bar as well as more private booths, quieter as they are farther away from the main level. Every seat also provides a decent view of the bar which takes up the center of the restaurant. The furnishings range between plush dark leathers and glossy stained wood, suitable for a relaxing booth or the livelier bar.
The bar takes up the most attention, commanding it at the center of the main floor. There are only a couple of televisions strategically placed, avoiding the chaotic volume of a sports bar. Classic rock is similarly present and quiet enough for conversation.
An extensive list of alcoholic beverage options suit multiple pallets. Drinks are not only listed by price but by the type of alcohol, including each drink’s International Bittering Units and the alcohol by volume. There are classic Kentucky goods in every category as well as choices from other states and countries. Besides the highly appreciated basic bottle options, they also offer house mixed specialties.
At first glance, the menu appears simple but proves quite diverse in options. The most obvious choice for any visitor is the prized Amish-raised, natural-free range, chicken. After an in-house pressure-fried method, the crisp breading and tender meat is divine. Add in their spicy hot honey, and diners will find a kick for any pallet. The closely guarded recipe adds a spice that Goldilocks would say is “just right.”
A state claim that is unexpectedly hard to find on most menus is also present, a classic burgoo. The broth itself is infused with the same kick from the spicy hot honey, giving the dish a mouth-burning heat. That in combination with the shredded chicken, pork, and vegetable medley makes a hearty choice. On top of the stew are sweet, melt in your mouth, cornbread crumbles that give a pleasant break from the heat.
The sides, though seemingly typical, are surprising when placed on the table. Served in skillets and on round wood slabs, they are seasoned to perfection. Collard greens are dripping with savory ham and bacon fat. The macaroni and cheese comes with strings from five rich cheeses on every forkful. The thick white cheddar grits pack a hot punch that is mellowed out by the robust cheddar. Each side brings a new twist to any common menu assortment.
The prices cater to quantity and quality that will make most any wallet and heart happy. It is a new experience that will leave customers wondering what other classic dishes may be livened up. When in search of food that is comforting but offers something distinctive, the Eagle Food and Beer Hall fits the bill.
(Image via thaddandmilan.com)