When you hear the word “model,” you probably imagine tall, willowy blonde types, a la Heidi Klum or Candice Swanepoel.
But one New York group is trying to change the default setting for models by encouraging body diversity in the fashion industry.
ALDA, founded last year, is an organization of plus-sized models with a mission to expand the definition of beauty within the fashion industry. What’s different about ALDA is that it isn’t an agency, but something closer to a makeshift union, designed to help a more diverse community of models get work.
Models Ashley Graham, Danielle Redman, Inga Eiriksdottir, Julie Henderson, and Marquita Pring formed ALDA after the New York plus-sized division of modeling agency Ford closed in 2013.
“I just wanted to be considered a model, and I didn’t want to be labeled,” Pring told DNA Info. “I don’t see myself any differently from the other girls whether skinny or plus.”
By advocating together, the group has afforded opportunities for its members in the mainstream press that are usually reserved for straight-sized models. And they’ve been met with some success.
“I have literally gone on more castings in five months than in the last 10 years of my career,” Ashley Graham told the news outlet.
All of the models recently signed to IMG modeling, and have been chipping away at the industry standards of one (hyper-thin) body type. They hope that they can normalize different body types in a field notorious for its inflexible beauty standards.
“Without having any intention of abandoning the plus-size world, (ALDA) decided to also explore opportunities without categories labels and limitations,” the group writes on their website. “And share their experience, knowledge, and stories with future generations to come.”
(Image via Alda’s website.)