Model Ashley Graham is changing the conversation for the modeling industry and reshaping the standards regarding women’s sizing. And now, Zach Miko, the plus-size male model who caught the industry’s attention modeling on Target’s website, is bringing awareness for male models, as well. Miko has just signed with IMG Models to its brand-new plus-size Brawn division. At six feet, six inches tall, with a 40-inch waist, he is able to offer men a better idea of what the clothing will actually look like on their bodies.
Miko, a New York-based actor and musician, is proud of his size and stature. He recently spoke with Chubstr, an online site for men of many sizes, about the need for the fashion industry to embrace more body types. Says Miko: “I can only hope that other companies will take the lead of companies like Target and finally show real people, with real bodies, looking as beautiful as they are, in clothes that look great on them.”
I love these conversations that are bringing change to our perception of health and beauty. It’s a huge step in the right direction and I’m buying it!
New York Fashion Week starts in just one day (February 6th) and The Diversity Coalition will be watching. The question: will there be a focus toward diversity on the runway? The fashion industry has a lot to answer for; last fall, just before the Spring 2014 shows, Bethann Hardison, former model and activist, along with Iman and Naomi Campbell, spearheaded a letter from The Diversity Coalition that was sent to four of the international fashion capitals, identifying the fact that the lack of color on the runway was “unbecoming to modern society.” The letter went on to state that, “We will continue to watch and reveal season to season.”
Will we see more diversity on the runway? If not … along with Bethann Hardison and Iman and Naomi Campbell I will call it ‘unbecoming‘ and I’m not buying that!
New York Fashion Week Credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo
A story on the radio today caught my ear: Did you know that Israel is now the only country to insist that its models follow strict weight guidelines? A law has been passed in Israel banning models who are too-skinny; anyone with a Body Mass Index (BMI) below 18.5 will not be permitted on the runway or in photo shoots and advertising campaigns. Wow! We hear about models starving themselves to manage the runway and of course, we see the images. And on the heels of New York Fashion Week, I find this exciting news and a move in a positive direction. Israel is using this indicator to combat eating disorders and promote a more healthy weight and lifestyle. In a quote from The Jerusalem Post, “every year, some 1,500 teenagers develop an eating disorder, and 5% of those suffering from anorexia die each year.”
This is a problem that affects all of us; not simply models on runways and in advertising campaigns, but young women and men everywhere trying to fit in to look a certain way as they sacrifice their health. And all the while society-at-large allowing it to happen. I have seen too many friends struggle with eating disorders. Hopefully this legislative stance taken by Israel will propel more countries to do the same and get us to re-think what we value most.