Ashley Graham Talks Changing the Fashion Industry and Normalizing Curves

ashley graham runway
credit: Ovidiu Hrubaru/

We love this woman.

Ashley Graham is becoming one of the biggest names in fashion, and she’s done it using her talent as a model, but also by using her voice to speak out for plus size women all. the. time.

Ashley recently covered WWD, where she said,

“We are the norm — the average size of the American woman is a size 16. Is this interesting and different? Not really, but for fashion it is.”

She’s right; a 2016 study by the International Journal of Fashion and Design found that the average size of the American woman is now between 16 and 18. So why is the fashion industry so exclusive of the norm?

Ashley has had difficult experiences as a plus size model, but she’s also worked with designers who have been more than welcoming and are trying to normalize plus size models and designs in the industry.

“Michael [Kors], Christian [Siriano] and Prabal [Gurung] have put curvy girls on the runway in a way that’s not tokenizing us. They’ve also done it in a way so it’s not a group of us in the end or the middle. They’re scattering us through like the rest of the girls. They’re making it very normal.”

But getting through to designers isn’t the only problem. Buyers are still unconvinced that they need to cater to plus-size clients.

“The buyers won’t buy [plus sizes] because they don’t think the customer will come into the store. That customer has been told for so long that that size doesn’t exist for her, so how does she know?”

She added,

“If you ask any big girl who wants to spend money, she’s going to say she spends on bags, shoes or beauty products because we’re never given the opportunity to buy clothes that are expensive — although we would do it.”


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Anne Catherine Demere
Anne Catherine Demere is an intern with Femestella. She is almost too passionate about pop culture and the entertainment industry and she loves to write about it. One of her favorite things is when feminism and pop culture overlap. She's either starting a new TV show or in class, there's no in between. And those two rarely coincide.