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NYC’s Full-Figured Fashion Week Searches Toronto for the Next Big Thing in Plus-Size Modeling

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Canada is a hotbed of talent. They gave us chart-topping singer Celine Dion, pop sensation Justin Bieber, and Hollywood heartthrob Ryan Reynolds. So now entertainment producers are searching the country for the newest soon-to-be stars. The next plus-size model could be somewhere in the country.

Fashion Week

The next Ashley Graham or Tess Holliday may be discovered soon. Casting directors with New York City’s Full Figured Fashion Week are going to Toronto, Canada, to find the next catwalk divas for the 2016 season. The FFFW is one of the world’s most high-profile plus-size fashion events. The stop in Toronto is the only Canadian destination on the 15-city tour of the modelling scouts.

Fifty lucky women will be chosen out of all the aspirants for what the plus industry’s equivalent of The Oscars. If you are one of the modeling hopefuls, you just need to head over to plus-size fashion boutique Your Big Sister’s Closet so you have a chance to be discovered for a glamorous career in the fashion industry.

Gwen DeVoe, founder and executive producer of FFFW, told CBC News, “We just find that the talent here is untapped.” She says that many women who don’t have the chance to go to New York miss the chance of being discovered. They don’t get to the right people and the right auditions. 

By the right person, that could mean an influential designer, a buyer, or an editor. Those types of people will be attending the FFFW event in June, which is why getting exposure at the event is so crucial.

Fashion Week

FFFW has grown bigger and bigger since 2008. It is “a bold step to support the plus size fashion movement” that has now become a huge event in the fashion capital of North America. The event hosts hundreds of industry professionals, and it is featured in all the important publications like Vogue, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

For a Canadian model, being able to walk on that runway could be the difference between working part-time and having a full-blown fashion career. They could be like Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover model Ashley Graham. In 2014, Graham was proclaimed model of the year.

Gwen DeVoe is also a former plus-size model who has now transitioned to producing fashion shows. She says she knew right away Graham was a star, and she is proud to see her become so successful.

Since the plus-size fashion industry is continuing to grow, in the next few years, more stars will definitely be discovered. The whole fashion industry is experiencing a plus revolution. Barriers are being broken down, and integration of plus and straight size has never been more acceptable. 

Abbygail Ackham was one of the aspiring models at the casting call in Toronto. She says, “The attention is on us right now, and I think we need to use that opportunity to shine and show the industry exactly what we’re about, and why we need a place in mainstream fashion.”

Fashion Week

Another model named Trisha from Brampton, Ontario, was equally happy to be given a chance to audition. She said it was a good opportunity because a lot of people think that bigger women are lazy, unhealthy, and inactive. Since Canada has a small plus-size community, they have to go to the USA to get the clothing designs that they want. Trisha feels that there should be a Toronto Fashion Week and that it should be open to women of all sizes.

The unique thing about FFFW is that it casts plus-size petites. That means that models who are shorter than 5’8″ still have a chance if they have the right look and personality for the casting directors. FFFW has also played a role in pushing for more size diversity with retailers. They have urged them to open more physical stores that sell fashionable plus-size clothing.

A lot of full-figured women buy their clothes online. There aren’t many choices of brick-and-mortar plus-size clothes, so they are missing out on the shopping experience of being able to try on the clothing before purchasing it. This is set to change as the plus-size industry grows. 

DeVoe says that her ultimate goal is for the industry to continue to grow and for the business investors to realize the plus-size consumer market is a strong one. There is a lot of money to be made by filling in the gap in the market of the plus-size model and fashion industry.

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