Calvin Klein’s First “Plus-Sized” Model?

Calvin Klein recently launched its first ever campaign featuring a model that doesn’t exclusively show size 0-2 models, previously the sole body type represented in Calvin Klein advertisements.

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While it is never stated that the model is plus-sized by the brand or in advertisements, it has sparked some controversy.

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Model Myla Dalbesio is featured in the campaign and is a size-10. According to the New York Times blog, the controversy arose after an interview with Dalbesio in Elle Magazine where she talks about plus-size modeling. In the interview she says, “It’s not like [Calvin Klein] released this campaign and were like ‘Whoa, look, there’s this plus-size girl in our campaign.’ They released me in this campaign with everyone else; there’s no distinction. It’s not a separate section for plus-size girls.”

While Dalbesio states that there is no distinction in the campaign, she is further quoted in Elle saying that, “It’s kind of confusing because I’m a bigger girl, I’m not the biggest girl on the market, but I’m definitely bigger than all the other girls (Calvin Klein) has ever worked with, so that is really intimidating.”

Also quoted in the post is a Calvin Klein Spokeswoman, who said: “The Perfectly Fit line was created to celebrate and cater to the needs of different women, and these images are intended to communicate that our new line is more inclusive and available in several silhouettes in an extensive range of sizes.”

So why is Calvin Klein catching heat for attempting to include a more diverse body type in campaigns? It’s probably because, while more inclusive, the model in many ways still fits a fashion industry ideal. Dalbesio is featured with a flat stomach and toned arms and legs, not exactly ground breaking in terms of diverse body image representation.

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Out of numerous models featured in the campaign, Calvin Klein chose to feature just one “more diverse” model who is really not that diverse at all. Hopefully, consumer dissent will help the brand and industry as a whole reconsider what inclusivity really means. Two steps forward, one step back?

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