Ashley Graham has broken ‘plus-size’ barriers as she stars in the latest H&M campaign.
Since first bursting onto the fashion scene Graham’s career has exploded. She was the first plus-sized model to cover Sport’s Illustrated, she starred in DNCE’s music video for Toothbrush in her underwear, she was recently announced as a judge on the latest America’s Next Top Model and now she’s paired up with H&M for the autumn/winter campaign of their higher-end label H&M studio, a collection that is not size-specific. The campaign is one of only five mainstream collections that Graham has featured in since the beginning of her career in 2000.
Graham’s success hasn’t come without backlash; she’s faced body criticism since the beginning of her career. She’s been named ‘too fat’, ‘too thin’ and everything in between; fortunately the criticism doesn’t sway her. She recently addressed this in her ‘Lenny Letter’, an online essay publication. Within the essay Graham stated, “I refuse to let others dictate how I live my life and what my body should look like.” And this admirably confident attitude has led Graham to become one of the most successful and recognisable supermodels in the world.
Speaking on her participation in the H&M collection, Graham told Harper’s Bazaar, “[…] growing up I didn’t have curvy role models, mainly because I didn’t see enough curvy models represented in major ads. My hope is that young women who shop at H&M see me in the ads and are reminded that there is not one standard definition of beauty or one perfect size.” The campaign is a major step in fashion diversity and as Graham states, showcases another body type within a major fashion campaign. However, Graham acknowledges that this is only a small step in a larger body positive and diverse movement, stating, “[…] we have to continue featuring more and more diversity.”
Graham, who also modeled H&M’s new collection on the catwalk in Paris earlier this year told Harper’s Bazaar, “It’s exciting to be representing one of the most internationally known fashion retailers that is not only offering more options for curvy women, but pieces that have a high fashion aesthetic”. Fashion wise- the collection sees Graham wearing floaty pastel dresses with a Pharrell-inspired black hat and metallic boots.
Graham’s involvement is a huge step forward for fashion in terms of body diversity as one of the biggest brands in the world; H&M has employed body confidence ambassador and size 14 model, Ashley Graham. Hopefully this is the beginning of a more diverse representation within the infamously restrictive fashion world.
The H&M Studio AW16 collection will be available at selected H&M stores worldwide, as well as online, from September 8.