NTheir fashion trends often cause a lack of understanding. Especially when they break your viewing habits. It doesn’t matter if a silhouette is simply reanimated and reinterpreted. As with leggings on men’s legs, which can be seen in several current men’s collections. The fact that the sight of men’s legs in tight socks was completely normal for centuries quickly fades into the background.
But there is something else that concerns the public; At least that’s what a look at the comments suggests; people write and read about this topic: the figure of man. More precisely, the claim that such tight pants could only be worn – if at all – by men with slender, trained bodies. To everyone else, it looks more like “sausage skin,” says one comment, while another states: “About half the world’s male population walks around the country overweight. You don’t want to see them in leggings.”
You can hardly see her in it either. Mainly on the catwalks of Miu Miu, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci, brands that showcased men’s leggings in their winter collections – in young and elegant models.
Perfect bodies can also be seen in the current Skims campaign. Here, a pronounced six-pack is combined with leggings. Very few viewers are likely to experience it in this distinct form.
Women now find it easier to recognize their figure in that of models, even if it is not as strict. Sure, successful models Ashley Graham and Paloma Elsesser are above average attractive, but their bodies are at least a little more similar to many women’s.
Female models with sizes beyond the supposedly perfect measurements have been making a career for a long time. In 2011, Tara Lynn, Robyn Lawley and Candice Huffine posed in their underwear on the cover of Italian Vogue. In 2016, Ashley Graham appeared in a bikini in Sports Illustrated. And the April issue of British Vogue featured Paloma Elsesser, Jill Kortlev and Precious Lee in form-fitting, slightly sheer dresses. They can also be regularly seen on the catwalks.
“The women’s fashion sector has much higher sales than men’s,” highlights Alexander Botar, founder and managing director of the Berlin agency Even Models: “That’s why men’s collections are smaller than women’s.” space for the much vaunted diversity: In the men’s collections presented across Europe this autumn and winter, according to the industry magazine “Vogue Business”, only eight of the 69 brands sent plus size models to the catwalk.
Only those in the know know the names of male models with sizes beyond the supposedly ideal measurements: this is the case of Zach Miko, who signed a contract with IMG, one of the largest modeling agencies in the world, in 2016 as the first plus-size male model. Steven Green caught attention two years ago in a campaign for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty brand and James Corbin, who was discovered on Instagram during the corona pandemic, once modeled for Valentino.
At Alexander Botar’s agency there is a category called “Big & Tall” for male models from size 54. It was launched about a year ago – which makes you a late starter, says Botar. In fact, many modeling agencies now have similar categories. Some even specialize entirely in plus-size models, such as agencies like Curve Model Management in Hamburg or Curvy Agency in Duisburg. The market is increasingly professionalized, observes Botar: “In the past, amateur models were widely used in this area. This is changing more and more.”
The area is still a niche, but very profitable: “The competition is not that great yet. The chances of models getting commissions are even greater.” However, it is not easy to find young people who want to pose on camera as plus size models. “The topic of body positivity doesn’t seem to have caught on with both men and women,” suspects Botar. The controversial (and overused) concept of body positivity, especially for men, is not just about clothes, but often also about body size.
There’s almost nothing you can do about it – other than the weight and muscles. And the models are usually tall, at least 1.85 meters. More and more online fashion stores offer so-called haute collections. Particularly tall, but not necessarily full models are used here. However, men often have to search longer for small collections like those available to women.
Perhaps the development of female role models is more advanced because women do not hide their thoughts about their own appearance, their vanity and their insecurities so much. Cosmetic procedures, for example, are hotly debated, but at least openly. Women’s perspectives are generally discussed and analyzed publicly much more naturally than men’s.
Sometimes it is still considered “brave” not to hide cellulite or to show yourself without makeup, and pregnancy rumors still arise due to completely normal bulging bellies. This is absurd – and fortunately it is decreasing. Beyond the catwalk: Rihanna wears whatever she wants, no matter how pregnant she is or what size she is. Kate Winslet has refused to retouch her photos for years. And Pamela Anderson recently appeared completely makeup-free at Paris Fashion Week.
Now, makeup and pregnancy are not classic men’s problems (at least not the ones that affect your own body). But wrinkles and fat are. According to the German Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, eyelid lifts and liposuction are among the most popular procedures among men. Eating disorders also occur in men: according to the Federal Center for Health Education, six out of every 1,000 boys and men will develop bulimia and two will develop anorexia in their lifetime. Unrealistic and unhealthy beauty ideals affect a particularly young audience on social media. Several studies show that the constant presence of supposed perfection can have a negative impact on young people’s relationship with their own bodies.