If you log on to Target‘s Web site, you might see Zach Miko. At 6′ 6″ and a 40-inch waist, he’s not exactly the same as the other V-shaped buff bodies that you will see modeling big-and-tall clothing. On his first modeling job, they sent medium regular size shirts instead of XL tall sizes. Zach could not fit into the medium regular size, so they cut the shirts in the back so that it opened like a hospital gown.
Some recent headlines also support Sturgell’s observations. In January, the Telegraph had a headline asking, “Why Are There No Plus-Size Male Models?” Then in July, Business Insider had an article titled “Men Are Facing a Huge Double Standard in the Fashion Industry.”
Plus-size women have been making waves for the past few years, and they have been included in New York Fashion Week. Tess Holliday, probably the most successful plus-size model today, has even created clothing lines for women of a more robust figure; but sadly, no male equivalent has yet come out.
While the male plus-size industry is trying to catch up, Chubstr is filling the void. It all started when Sturgell complained about his shopping experience on a Tumblr blog. He started giving out advice to other men of size who wanted to be more fashionable.
The men who contacted him had questions about their own outfits, and they wanted to get advice on what they should wear for job interviews. He has had a very good reception from the general public, and he believes that is because plus-size men are missing basic knowledge of fashion. Aside from asking him for tips on how to find more flattering clothes, his Web site teaches men simple, basic things like how to tie a tie, how to match clothing, and how to pull a look together. For decades, they have been shutting out bigger size men from the fashion industry, but it turns out there is room for them after all.
While the United States has more than 6,000 plus-size women’s clothing stores that generated $9 billion in 2014, there are less than 1,000 stores existing in the country for plus-size men. Those stores generated about $1 billion.
The reason companies are afraid to use bigger male models is that they are scared of turning off their audience. They don’t want people to disregard them and not see them as aspirational.
He is now a model for a major US retailer, but Zach used to feel left out of fashion because of his size. As an actor, he is used to hearing what critics have to say about his size. He did get callbacks often, but he was usually too tall for the leading man role. He was also not large enough to play a character of size for TV.
With his blossoming modeling career, he’s been given a new confidence. He doesn’t care if he doesn’t have the washboard stomach of an Abercrombie and Fitch model, he doesn’t want that anyway.
Zach and his wife, Laura, met on the set of a Web series they did together. Although her husband is naturally full of confidence, Laura told Mic that she saw some of his frustrations with the fashion world and his own body issues melt away once he got his modeling job.
She told the magazine, “Once he started modeling for Target, he was like, ‘I’m finally wearing clothes that fit me, and they look good. Everything that I put on hangs in the right spot and looks good.'”
One night, after he came home from a shoot, Zach announced to Laura that he doesn’t want to be a small guy. He’s fed up of hearing that he needs to be smaller. Laura never even knew about his fear, and never once doubted he’d be good at modeling.
Laura Miko describes him, saying, “He’s got such a photogenic face, you just get lost in his eyes. He’s every man’s guy. The guy every guy wants to be around.”
Bruce Sturgell feels that Zach Miko being in the modeling world is a step in the right direction for plus-size male models. He is bringing a positive change to male fashion, and he can teach other men of size a thing or two about confidence.
You’ll sometimes see an online forum where a bigger guy asks for advice, and usually they are told to lose weight or exercise. Sturgell feels they should be given options for them as they are. They shouldn’t be told to just lose weight. They need bigger sizes, and Chubstr is helping them find solutions. They need more options because while losing weight can be a future goal, they need to deal with themselves as they are currently plus size.
Zach Miko is proving that clothes can help a person be more confident. That’s one important thing in fashion, no matter what size you are. You need to feel good in what you are wearing and how you present yourself, and Zach is now happy that he has clothes that make him feel good about himself.