For all the improvements the fashion industry has made toward being more inclusive, men are usually left out of the plans. IMG Models, has been part of the continuing changes in the industry, and they have just made another move that will change the fashion world. IMG added plus-size models to its regular roster in 2014, and now the famous agency has made a new Brawn division, which is exclusively for plus-size men.
You may already be familiar with their first signed model. It is Zach Miko, the comedian, musician, blogger, and model. He gained media attention last October as Target’s only plus-size male model.
Ivan Bart, senior vice president of IMG Models, said it was partially due to his own experiences that led to the agency creating a new division. Bart says, “I consider myself a beefy, stocky kind of guy or whatever buzzword you want to use. I’m in the fashion business, and I’m required to dress fashionably, but yet I have size issues. It becomes defeating when I don’t consider myself morbidly obese, but I go to certain stores they don’t have my size.”
This new division could not have come at a better time in fashion. Famous plus-size model Ashley Graham made history by becoming the first plus-size model on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Now more brands are open to casting “real people” in their ad campaigns. The new brawn division is still in the beginning stages, but it is a step in the right direction of a more inclusive, less discriminatory fashion world.
Miko has described the modeling experience in an interview with The Huffington Post, “You show up in the morning to a beautiful studio in Tribeca or Soho or some other beautiful abbreviated NYC neighborhood. Then they feed you egg whites, fruit, and yogurt with La Colombe coffee. Then you sit in hair and makeup, where an insanely stylish artist makes you look like you’re the lead in a Taylor Swift video, the one where she doesn’t break your heart.”
By naming the new division Brawn, they are making the big and tall models more marketable. Brawn means physical strength, so that coincides with the trend on promoting body positivity in the modeling industry. Miko could not be more perfect as a poster boy for the brawn division. He epitomizes men who feel confident in their bodies and want to look fashionable, because not every man is lazy when it comes to getting dressed.
Size diversity has long been a problem for people who do not fit the straight-size clothing. Having more choices and more sizes available for menswear lines and womenswear lines has been on many designers’ and clothing manufacturers’ minds lately. Since there is such a great demand for bigger sizes and more clothing options, companies are finally heeding the call of the public.
By IMG Models creating a special division solely for plus-size men, they are sending a message that it is okay to have the “real” size. The fashion world is no longer exclusively for the tall, thin models, but now they are open to plus-size men and women and others who have a different look. All in all, you could say that it is a good direction for the fashion world and also for the consumers in general. By showing a more diverse lineup of models, it could lead to less cases of insecurities and low self-esteem in the public. When they see that they are also being represented, they might gain more confidence in themselves.
The fashion world has always been fluid. It changes all the time. Although there are items of clothing or garments that are classic and never go out of fashion, there is never just one thing that can solidly define what style and fashion is. Every year, every month, every decade there are new styles and new trends and new fads that influence the way designers and manufacturers produce clothing. So now with Zach Miko representing a different body type—what’s known as the dad bod—plus-size men will see that they are also included in the new changes and the body positive revolution that the fashion industry is undergoing at present.