In recent years, models have been redefining society’s view on body image by featuring models of differing sizes and not using photoshop to cover what the industry used to consider flaws, such as stretch marks.
Super Model Ashley Graham is one of the leading models of the recent trend by being a proud plus size model, body activist, and designer of swimsuits in a full range of sizes.
Graham models and designs swimsuits for Swimsuits For All, an inclusive brand that sells a variety of swimsuits in sizes 4 – 34. Graham has numerous posts on her Instagram of her in the brand’s designs and her customers are posting as well. She recently posted a collage to Instagram that shows off a few of the women who have worn the swimsuits.
The company and Graham has started a trend of women posting pictures of themselves at the beach, poolside, or on a boat in the daring designs. Some of the hashtags being used are #ashleygrhamxswimsuitsforall.
Another brand looking to make change in the industry is Aerie, a lingerie and intimates store owned by American Eagle. They started the Aerie Real Campaign, which shows models of various sizes that are “unretouched.” The models have stretch marks, freckles, scars and tattoos – things that used to be covered with makeup or edited out in Photoshop. Aerie stated that the campaign is “challenging supermodel standards by featuring unretouched models in their latest collection of bras, undies and apparel.” Since the launch in 2014, the campaign’s models have continued to model Aerie swimwear as well.
One of the most popular models of the campaign is Iskra Lawrence, who is a JAG Model and an ambassador of the National Eating Disorders Association. On social media and in interviews, Lawrence has admitted to her battle with an eating disorder, which she has now overcome. Iskra regularly posts on Instagram to encourage women to be real and that #everyBODYisbeautiful.
Other models are also taking a stand against being retouched and showing off what the modeling industry would consider as imperfections – one being stretch marks. When wearing a swimsuit, it is hard to hide those “tiger stripes,” but models and companies are now displaying them with pride.
Lexi Mendiola, a commercial Philippines-based model, posted a photo on Instagram that shows off her stretch marks. In the caption, Mendiola said, “I caught myself right before tossing it and just could. not. believe. how I let myself get so insecure about something so natural!!!”
I was thinking thrice if I wanted to keep this photo or dump it in the bin…ONLY because of my tiger stripes. I caught myself right before tossing it and just could. not. believe. how I let myself get so insecure about something so natural!!! It’s taken me quite a while (23 yrs to be exact) but putting this out there to remind myself and everyone that it’s really nothing to get all worked up or feel weird about. here’s to learning to love the lines 💫
So far, Mendiola has received over 23,000 likes and thousands of comments, most of which are supportive. And why shouldn’t the public be supportive of stretch marks? According to a study, 80% of Americans have stretch marks which are due to rapid weight gain, hormonal changes, muscle growth and pregnancy. By having those in the modeling industry showing off their “flaws” like stretch marks, it can change the conversation and the norm – and it has.
Just last June, ASOS has also joined the “unretouched” movement by using pictures of their models with stretch marks.
Asos not editing out girl’s stretch marks on their swimwear photos is giving me so much life, look how beautiful they all are😍 pic.twitter.com/VxMjc4OQg6
— Leah Tudor (@leahtudorx) June 28, 2017
With more and more companies realizing that their customers like seeing models with the same “body flaws” that were once taboo in the past, women are becoming more proud of their bodies and posting more too.