Melbourne-based model Stefania Ferrario is a bit shitty with the fashion industry and its use of the term “plus-size”. Not only does it categorise models, potentially making them feel less-than-average about their appearance, it’s also having a wider-scale effect on women across the world.
That’s why the model, who is a healthy (and incredibly sexy) size 12, started the #droptheplus hashtag alongside an almost-nude picture of herself over a month ago. We called it then and there: Stefania was about to kick off something game-changing.
“I think it’s a really positive achievement,” the Dita Von Teese lingerie model explains to theFashionSpot, noting that feedback for #droptheplus has been positive and supportive. “There have been a lot of girls reaching out and telling me about their body image issues and struggles with self acceptance.”
This isn’t just about getting the label off her own back. She cares about us as much as herself, and she clearly gets a little riled up when discussing the subject. “The fashion industry has a lot to answer for, I’ll tell you what!”
Represented by Bella Model Management, Stefania is lucky enough to not be labelled as “plus-size” in her agency profile. But she still feels particularly worried that other models do get slapped with the term, whether they’re wearing US size 4 or 24, and what that says to the world.
“The fashion industry has a huge influence on youth,” she explains. “What kind of message are we sending out to young impressionable girls? That models over a size [US] 4 are somehow not normal, and only size 0-2 models are?” she asks. “I don’t want to pursue a career that is not 100% a good influence on young girls and women.”
It’s this kind of attitude which has shaped Stefania into a role model, after similarly redefining beauty for cancer and alopecia sufferers by shaving her head. While she’s aware of her own positive influence, Stefania would like to see high-profile women like Miranda Kerr, Robyn Lawley and Ashley Graham share a picture with #droptheplus to really push the cause.
“The media attention is very important to get the message out there that the label is incorrect, misleading and damaging to young impressionable girls,” she explains. “The more the media talks about it, the more people will become aware of the issue and not tolerate such confusing, damaging terms.”
She also feels, if the modelling industry rethinks its standards, it could have implications for other areas in fashion. She mentions retailers’ separate “plus-size” ranges for anything above a size 14. “If the “plus-size” label is eradicated in the modelling industry, it’ll flow on from there to stores too,” she explains. “Every woman has the right to shop without going to a special “plus-size” section. This only makes women feel segregated. Why not have a range of sizes on the racks to begin with?”
Stefania is certain that there are no situations when the “plus-size” label is appropriate. This begs the question, “Why does the fashion industry continue to use it?” If you, like Stefania, want to see the “plus-size” label be forgotten once and for all, you’re in luck. This girl won’t be backing down any time soon, and continues to push the movement in any way she can.
“I do feel a great responsibility now to keep this topic afloat,” she tells us. “Keep an eye on my social media.” Here’s to diversity, girls, without having to identify it.