be body aware

(Photo: Tianxiao Zheng for Be Body Aware)

It’s a common cry these days: the fashion industry isn’t equally fair to straight- and plus-size models, and things need to change. Plenty of campaigns and brands have sought to make this change happen. Rachel Roy‘s upcoming plus size brand will feature the same designs as her straight-size line; SmartGlamour launched to the joy and celebration of all women; and the #BodyLove and #PlusIsEqual called for body love and acceptance in campaigns and on runways. Now, Toronto-based, size 14 model Tia Duffy is taking a stand with #BeBodyAware, and you need to start paying attention. 

(Related: Nicolette Mason Talks Her Upcoming Addition Elle Line, Her Personal Style, and Her Future Design Career)

The aim of Be Body Aware, which has been labeled by The Huffington Post as a “non-profitable educational campaign,” aims to bring complete body representation of our society to the fashion industry, because, as the campaign repeatedly states, “all bodies should be accepted in fashion.”  The first photos have been released, and reportedly, the hope is that more photo shoots in the coming months will feature models of different shapes and sizes killing the game together.

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Duffy’s interest in this campaign first started when she realized her inner conflict with the term “plus size.” As a size 14, she’s often labelled as an “in-between” model, not quite plus size and not quite straight size. It’s often difficult for models of this size to find work, as brands and campaigns generally seek out one or the other. She said,

“I remember turning up to shoots seven years ago and people would ask me, ‘Are you the model?’ It was very embarrassing to be honest. Be Body Aware hopes to bridge the gap between plus-size and straight-size models, and even encourage more models who feel lost because they are in-between sizes, like me.”

The campaign will feature models with “difficult to dress body types,” which is a pretty exciting departure from the norm. Even when it comes to the plus size industry, so many models still have an unattainable body type. Not many plus size women have the flatter stomachs, hourglass shapes, and even fat distribution that most plus size models have, and it’s exciting to see a campaign actively addressing this unfortunate trend.

(Related: 5 Questions For: Supermodel and Body Activist Ashley Graham)

Duffy also says that, while strides have certainly been made in the plus size industry, it’s not entirely enough:

“Although the plus-size industry is thriving in itself, I still think, in terms of inclusion into the entire high fashion industry, we’ve got a long way to go. Plus-size models are not just confined to wearing plus-size brands. This campaign is bringing it all together. All shapes and sizes look good in fashion.”

Personally, I’m excited to see the melding of plus- and straight-size brands. It’s more than a long time coming, and hopefully Duffy’s campaign reaches the right people.