Everyone deserves to feel beautiful on their big day, and Iskra Lawrence is set out to do just that.
The model was recently tapped to be the new face of wedding gown designer Justin Alexander’s “Be You” campaign to “empower brides to be confident in themselves, regardless of size, shape, and style.”
And just like Iskra’s Aerie campaigns, there was absolutely no retouching.
Iskra has become a force to be reckoned with and a fierce advocate for body love. She quickly got on everybody’s radar when she dramatically stripped to her underwear on the subway. Since then, she’s modeled for Chromat at NYFW and L’Oréal at Paris Fashion Week.
She’s also become a brand ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association, NEDA. Iskra has always been upfront of her long struggle to come to terms with her own body. She told People,
“I had my own trials and tribulations with body image. I had gone through a lot starting from my teenage years.”
The 27-year-old British model landed her first gig 13 years ago as a straight-sized model but struggled with never feeling “good enough.” She told Cosmo,
“I remember they would constantly measure my hips like every six months. And I saw these other models who I aspired to be, and I was like, ‘Well, clearly I have to try to change my body to try to be successful.’ My body was my enemy, and every day I was going into battle and trying to change my measurements.”
It took nearly six years for Iskra to stop trying to live up to society’s body standards and embrace her curves.
“If you start talking to yourself in a loving way you’re going to feel so much better and your life is going to be so much happier.”
Iskra follows in the footsteps of other top plus-size models like Ashley Graham and Tess Holliday, who have used their platform to increase the visibility of plus-size women. Although 67% of American women are plus-sized, the majority of fashion designs refuse to cater to that audience. With the exception of Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung, many have refused to even work with curvy models. It was only this past year that Ashley Graham became the first plus model to walk in Michael Kors’ NYFW runway show. Shocking, right? You’d think designers would be begging to work with such a big-time model like Ashley.
Designers continue to use the old excuse that’s it’s just more “difficult” to dress plus-size women, but the truth is they’re just plain lazy. Yes, it takes more effort to find just the perfect fit for plus-size clothing (cry me a river). But shouldn’t designers actually want to make quality clothing that will fit more women than just Gigi Hadid?
It’s mind-boggling that these designers would willingly give up on such a huge share of the market, which they could potentially make a buttload of money off of. And even when stores do offer a plus-size selection, they’re often sectioned off. When searching ASOS’ website, there’s the “main collection” and then there’s the “plus size collection.” Same goes for Target — there’s the “Women’s clothing” and then the “plus-size clothing.” Because plus-size customers don’t count as women? Ridiculous.
Luckily, a few luxe brands have popped up to fill the vacuum. Bloggers Gabi Gregg and Nicolette Mason started their own line Premme, which goes up to size 30 (and the collection is stunning).
Who else wants to bet that designers will be clamoring to cloth plus-size women in a few years when they realize just how much money they can make?
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel (by far!), but when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her hanging with her kitty Tom or tweeting at Sen. Chuck Schumer.