Sammy Nickalls
May 11, 2015 2:11 pm

What’s even more empowering than one woman challenging fashion’s narrow beauty standards? Five women challenging those standards together. Enter ALDA, a collective of models who aim to “use their resources in the fashion community to empower women and change the perception of beauty.”

Since ALDA, which means “wave” in Icelandic, was formed almost two years ago—its members have gained international recognition as part of the changing face of inclusive fashion. This is no accident. ALDA was formed by supermodels Ashley Graham, Marquita Pring, Julie Henderson, Inga Eiriksdottir, and Danielle Redman to represent “beauty overall — without divisions, boundaries, and most of all, IN ALL SIZES,” according to DNA Info, which first profiled the models in 2014. Their mission is not to body shame anyone, but rather to increase visibility of all types of women.

Now, they’ve taken their message—collectively—to the pages of  Icelandic Glamour, where they’re featured in an eight-page spread celebrating body diversity. Recognition from a major fashion publication is a big deal, and it’s exactly what the women had hoped for when they first formed their collective.

It all started when their modeling agency shuttered the plus-size division, and the five women decided to band together to form a kind of body positive union—free of labels. Their plan? Create a unified front for agencies, to prevent from being individually marginalized within the industry. “We met secretly for a few months, came up with a business plan, and then met with all the major agencies in New York,” Eiriksdottir told Glamour. “Most of them had never represented models bigger then a U.S. size 6, so we didn’t know how they would react. It was amazing to see the great response we got.”

The members of ALDA are now signed to IMG Models, where they’re submitted for jobs alongside models of all different body types (rather than being relegated to “plus-size” corner exclusively). “It’s exciting to see the positive change in the industry, and we already see a lot more diversity in age, size and race than before in magazines and on the runways,” Eiriksdottir told Icelandic Glamour.

The collective is obviously changing modeling in major ways, but they hope to go beyond that, according to Eiriksdottir. “Even if it might sound strange since we [are models], which is a lot about the outside looks, we are more interested in building strong self esteem in women,” she said.

Of course, it helps to have diverse representations of women in the media, and that’s what ALDA is helping to create. Through their union, they’re pushing for more mainstream fashion outlets to spotlight models of different sizes—so their latest Glamour shoot (and the crazy attention it’s receiving) is a major win for everyone. It’s also a chance to spread ALDA’s mission.

“It shouldn’t matter if you are a size 2 or 12,” Eiriksdottir told the magazine. “Every model should be represented equally.” Amen.

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