IT’S ABOUT TIME
Plus size women have been gaining representation in recent years. The media and the fashion industry have begun to recognize that women come in all shapes and sizes, and the conversation of body image is being talked about constantly. So why are plus size men missing from the conversation?
One of the reasons is many brands do not believe plus size men would appeal to their audience. Traditionally, masculinity was shown through imagery of a tall and muscular man with sharp features. You frequently see men who look like this on runways and in magazines because it is seen as the standard look. Plus size men do not fit the mold that society created for what men are “supposed” to look like, so the Fashion industry casts them aside. It creates a gap between natural body types and built body types.
Koichi Macgregor, a plus size male model in California, believes that although plus size men are not accepted in some facets in fashion, they should be allowed to be in the same spaces as everyone else.
“They would rather see more plus size women than men because they think that plus size men can’t be mainstream,” Macgregor said. “They feel the shape of our bodies wouldn’t sell in the market of fashion, but I totally disagree. I feel both plus size men and women should be given a chance in the industry.”
Plus size men are often unrepresented when it comes to clothing. More brands are coming out with plus size clothing, but only for women. Luxury designer brands like Off-White only go up to a size 12, and some brands like Balmain only offer up to a size 10. Some fashion companies have tried to expand the sizing choices they offer but show fit and lean men modeling the clothes instead. It makes it difficult for plus size models to get the jobs they desire and see what clothes look like on body types similar to theirs. While people like Ashley Graham and Tess Holiday have become household names, plus size men are still being denied opportunities to work in the industry.
Zeus Charalambous, a plus size model for the modeling team Issa Plus Style, says that he has experienced prejudices due to his size in the industry and everyday life, and he feels that men who are plus size have to work harder in the fashion industry.
“I wasn’t allowed into certain clubs because I didn’t fit the demographic they wanted and I’ve been turned down for jobs,” Charalambous said. “There are so many more opportunities for them [women]…[women] are on billboards a lot more than us and are just more outwardly accepted.”
For many plus size men, this problem can be very discouraging. It can cause men to look at their bodies negatively, and cause people to be more self-conscious.
Clothing is a way many people express their personalities and feelings, however, for some plus size men, it is a way to hide from the outside world.
Ennis McCorvey, a senior at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, has been self-conscious since he was a child. He was bullied, and that made him be careful in his fashion choices as an adult.
“As a plus size man and constantly being talked about as a kid, my self-esteem was low and didn’t get good until I started losing weight,” McCorvey said. “Then I tried to cover myself with a jacket every day to conceal how big I was.”
While most fashion brands exclude plus size men, there are brands who do carry a good range of sizes. Forever 21 and Fashion Nova are both popular clothing stores that now cater to plus size men. Not only do they have a good size range, but the clothes are also trendy so you can get fashionable pieces in your size. Fashion Nova even uses a plus size model for the clothes, which offers great representation to a group that is often overlooked.
For plus size men, it can be hard to feel confident when society continues to put you under scrutiny. However, Macgregor believes that confidence comes from within, and other plus size men should never let anything keep you from embracing yourself.
“I would tell other men to love yourself and that they are amazing and perfect the way they are,” Macgregor said. “Embrace your man curves and be proud of who you are!”