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Calvin Klein model sparks social media outrage when dubbed 'Plus-size'

By Vivian Hendriksz

Nov 13, 2014

An interview published online in Elle with model Myla Dalbesio discussing her role in Calvin Klein “Perfect Fit” campaign, in which the magazine refers to her as a “plus-size” model has sparked outrage online.

In the controversial interview, Dalbesio who is a US size 10 and UK size 14 is “surprisingly” described as a “plus-size” model in accordance to the fashion industry's standards. She refers to herself as “a bigger girl,” and adds that she is “definitely bigger than all the girls [Calvin Klein] has ever worked with.”

Although the model herself later says she feels like she is “in the middle” at the end of the interview, Elle's classification of Dalbesio as a “plus-size” model has led to a number of outraged readers taking to social media platforms to direct their anger at the comparison.

It is not only the public who has taken note of the classification. Other industry insiders have also noticed the controversy the interview has created, although some are able to see the positive side of the controversy.

“Despite the social media furore caused by the inclusion of Myla Dalbesio in the latest Calvin Klein campaign, this is a positive step for the fashion industry,” said Zahir Dehnadi co-founder of navabi, online fashion platform for plus-size women.

“By featuring a size 14 model in its advertising, it is acknowledging that real women of all shapes and sizes want to buy stylish lingerie and clothes. The average woman in the UK is a size 16 and it is a positive step to see that brands such as Calvin Klein are finally beginning to acknowledge this.”

In the campaign, Dalbesio is depicted alongside Jourdan Dunn who is a US size 2/UK size 6 and Laura Stone, US size 4/UK size 8. Although most of the outrage for stating that Dalbesio is a “plus-size” model is directed at Elle, some users aimed their criticism towards Calvin Klein, despite the fact the brand never directly referenced her size or labeled her as “plus-size.”

In order to clarify the situation, Calvin Klein has issued the following statement to explain why Delbesio was chosen for the campaign. “The Perfectly Fit line was created to celebrate and cater to the needs of different women, and these images are intended to communicate that our new line is more inclusive and available in several silhouettes in an extensive range of sizes”

Dalbesio has also come forward since the interview's publication, adding: “I love that after working in the fashion industry for nine years, I have finally found my place, right in the middle. Neither plus, nor straight size, I love that I can be recognized for what I am, a healthy size 10."

"I love that I get to be a part of this conversation, about size and body image and that I get to represent a brand like Calvin Klein. They didn't introduce this campaign for shock value, they simply included what some would refer to as a "normal size" girl in their advertising, right next to other girls of varying sizes and shapes.”

“I love that by opening this discussion, I can also (hopefully) open some doors for other models, friends of mine, that have always straddled the line between straight size and plus. True body diversity doesn't mean only sizes 0's and 2's then jumping to size 16 and up. There is a middle ground.”

CALVIN KLEIN
ELLE