Calvin Klein, Pharrell and Lena Dunham challenge the fashion industry's body issues
Is 2014 the year the fashion industry starts to challenge assumed body norms? Efforts from Calvin Klein, Pharrell and Lena Dunham all seem to suggest yes.
News of Calvin Klein’s latest underwear campaign using a UK size-14 model Myla Dalbesio has, yet again, called into question fashion industry standards when it comes to body image and forced other labels to address skinny-sized images.
Why? It may not seem significant- and Myla's size-14 label may have made us yelp 'say whaaaat?!' - but Calvin Klein’s choice to shoot a healthy-looking model without branding her ‘plus-size’ (we can thank Twitter alone for that label over the weekend) is a history-making move.
Myla Dalbesio herself explained why the latest ads are such a big deal saying: ‘I’m not the biggest girl on the market but I’m definitely bigger than all the girls [Calvin Klein] has ever worked with, so that is really intimidating,’ before adding: ‘No one even batted an eye.’
She continued: ‘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.’
News of Calvin Klein’s latest campaign arrives in the same month that Pharrell William’s latest collaboration with Adidas was revealed to the public focusing on ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’. His Adidas designs mirror this concept: all of the pieces are unisex.
Using Instagram to publicise the latest ad for his collection, Pharrell commented: “The world is united by equality and made beautiful by diversity. My new @adidasoriginals collaboration is available now.”
Which brings us finally to GIRLS star Lena Dunham, whose naked antics on the smash-hit show have cranked open the debate about body size and confidence. She’s now producing documentary Three Suits about an L.G.B.T.Q bespoke Taylor in Brooklyn for HBO.
The film follows Bindle & Keep’s transgender clients as they have their custom suits made and will give viewers a unique insight into the process of designing clothes for customers with complex gender identities.
All three projects seem to signal a shift in body perception and fashion as we teeter on the verge of 2015, which brings us back to our original question: Can the fashion industry shake up its body issues once and for all? We’re not there yet but this is certainly a promising start.
By Kat Lister