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Calvin Klein ‘plus size’ model sparks debate

Calvin Klein advertisements featuring ‘plus size’ US model, Myla Dalbesio, ignites online twitter debate.

The size 10 model appears in the brand’s new and current underwear ad campaign and immediately is classified as a ‘plus-sized’ model.

The 27 year old said: “It was such as surreal moment” when Myla Dalbesio heard she had been booked for Calvin Klein’s new underwear campaign, which also features Jourdan Dunn and Lara Stone. It is by far Dalbesio’s most high-profile gig to date.

Dalbesio’s appearance in the campaign (under the tagline Perfectly Fit) seems to have shocked the general public and sparked a frenzy on social media, with comments from twitter users such as, “Plus-size??? I must be extra plus plus.”

Some directed their ire at Calvin Klein, despite the American brand never alluding to the model’s size, and simply placing her alongside the “straight size” models – as they’re described in the fashion industry – without comment.

“It’s kind of confusing because I’m a bigger girl,” Dalbesio told Elle about her work with Calvin Klein. “I’m not the biggest girl on the market but I’m definitely bigger than all the girls [Calvin Klein] has ever worked with, so that is really intimidating.”

“It’s not like [Calvin Klein] released this campaign and were like, ‘Whoa, look, there’s this plus-size girl in our campaign,” she continued. “They released me in this campaign with everyone else; there’s no distinction. It’s not a separate section for plus-size girls.”

Plus-size as a concept has been co-opted – albeit sporadically – by the mainstream fashion industry in recent years. Plus-size clothing is itself a burgeoning market with sales of size 14 plus clothes exceeding $16billon in the US in 2013, according to Forbes.

For years women and men have been asking why models who represent “normal” sizing can’t be used in high profile campaigns without it being a gimmick or a marketing ploy. Therefore it is unusual Dalbesio’s appearance in the Calvin Klein adverts has created negativity.

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