This Calvin Klein advert has sparked an online debate [Photo: Calvin Klein]
Back in 2014 Myla Dalbesio made headlines for being chosen as Calvin Klein’s first plus-sized model. “It was such a surreal moment,” the 29-year-old model said of her new gig at the time. But not everyone was thrilled about her campaign debut and a furious social media debate ensued about sizing in the modelling industry with many questioning whether the size 14 model should be categorized as plus sized.
Fast forward two years and Coronation Street actress, Catherine Tyldesley has re-ignited the same debate. Posting two images of Myla, alongside the slogan “Calvin Klein’s first plus-size model,” the soap star accused the brand of encouraging eating disorders and body confidence issues.
“Tell me this is a joke??,” she wrote. “PLUS-size?!?! Congrats on giving another generation of girls eating disorders/insecurities.”
Catherine Tyldesley’s tweet has reignited a debate about plus size categorisation [Photo: Twitter/@Cath_Tyldesley]
And it wasn’t long before her words awoke the Twitter beast with many people slamming the fashion brand for promoting unrealistic body ideals.
“You should be ashamed @CalvinKlein! Plus-size my a***!“ one woman wrote.
“So this new/ first ‘plus size’ model for Calvin Klein is a joke, she’s a size 10 max ????” added another.
“This is "plus size” literally only to Calvin Klein, whose definition of a NOT plus size woman is “prepubescent male"” added a third woman.
Myla Dalbesio doesn’t describe herself as ‘plus size’ [Photo: Rex Features]
It’s fair to say the Internet is suitably cross. But, what some are failing to realise is that the picture doing the social media rounds was from the same 2014 campaign. And the accompanying ‘plus-size model’ tag has likely been photoshopped on. When the ads originally ran in 2014, Calvin Klein never described Myla as plus size (although some media did) and though she has reportedly spent some time on agencies’ plus-size boards, she doesn’t use the term herself, choosing instead to refer to herself as ‘normal-sized’.
“I’m not plus size,” she told InStyle at the time. “In the fashion industry there was no space for anyone in between a size 0 and four and the 12 plus so the only boards that would except girls of my size is plus-size boards and that’s how women my size ended up becoming part of that category.”
“This whole controversy is starting a greater conversation towards more inclusive fashion.”
The funny thing is, that for years people have been calling for models who represent ‘normal’ sizing to be used in high profile ads. Myla calls herself just that, so her appearance in Calvin Klein’s campaign could in fact be seen as a step in the right direction towards more inclusivity.
The problem seems to lie more in the whole ‘plus size’ categorisation than anything else, but as long as the term still exists in the fashion industry, the unrealistic body ideals debate will continue to rage.
What do you think? Join the debate @YahooStyleUK