Plus-Size Female Models Are Killing the Fashion Game. But Where Are the Plus-Size Men?
Over the years we’ve seen the high-fashion game for women begin to expand. We’re seeing more and more models of color, and slowly but surely, we’re also seeing body diversity on the runway and in large-scale campaigns, with more plus-size women modeling for big-name fashion brands. But why haven’t we seen this kind of progression in the fashion industry for plus-size men? Where are all the plus-size male models?
Vogue Business recently reached out to several casting directors, agencies and
models to gain a perspective on what the industry needs to do to make inroads on size inclusivity for plus-size men.
According to Vogue, less than 10% of brands with an Autumn/Winter 2022 menswear collection (seven among 77 brands) featured plus-size male models. And of those seven brands — KidSuper, Études, Casablanca, Magliano, Kiko Kostadinov, Maison Mihara Yasuhiro and Doublet — none are major fashion houses.
When we asked KidSuper about their decision to include plus-size men in their fashion shows, here’s what they had to say: “At KidSuper we use real people, we also use people that I want to have a conversation with. My fashion shows are used to make my dreams come true, so I used people that I dream of meeting and talking to as my models. Some of those people are plus-sized.”
While the industry has seen several plus-size models make names for themselves in women’s fashion, we haven’t seen that same success paralleled in men’s fashion — in campaigns, we rarely see bigger men. Back in 2020, Savage x Fenty introduced (the incredibly handsome) Steven Green in its launch of men’s lingerie, and it was one of the few instances of a plus-sized man featured in any type of campaign.
In the Vogue Business article, we also hear from plus-size male model Zach Miko, the first plus-size male model to sign with a big-name agency, spearheading IMG’s “Brawn” division, who has worked with recognizable brands like Levi’s, L.L.Bean and Macy’s:
How do they know there’s no demand when they’ve not tried? … Luxury is slower to pick up on inclusivity and diversity. Mainstream brands, the big box stores and fast fashion brands take their cues from the consumer more often.
As Vogue points out, Miko has a waist size of 40-42, which happens to be the average waist size of the American man. Most recently, Zach Mikos has launched his own lifestyle brand, called Meekos, a line of swimwear for guys up to 9XL.
Widening the size range of luxury clothing to reflect the bodies of actual people could increase profits for these labels, while also making more relatable what has seemed inaccessible for people of size. We’ve seen a similar trajectory take place with plus-size women in fashion, so why haven’t brands committed to the same with plus-size men?
We also asked KidSuper why it’s hard for brands to include plus-size male models in their shows. “It’s actually hard to sample at such a big size,” they said. “Fashion shows are only making one item for each look, so usually you just make them all the same size and standard models will fit. It is hard to fit many difference shapes. Luckily for KIDSUPER the clothes are so creative that it allows for a little wiggle room for it.”
The groundwork for plus-size men in fashion spaces is clearly being made, especially with the strides made by brands such as Savage X Fenty and Nike. Now we just need to see that progress translate to the world of big-label luxury fashion as well.
Do you think the luxury fashion industry is doing enough for plus-size men?
Image at top: Carlos David / Getty Images