Why we shouldn’t be angry about the Calvin Klein plus size scandal

Model Myla Dalbesio is a healthy and slim US size 10 (UK size 14), with gorgeous curves. Unfortunately, in the fashion world she is still sometimes classed as a “plus size” model.

Fashion house Calvin Klein hit the headlines this week when it featured her in its Perfectly Fit campaign.

Tensions were high when CK published the photos from the shoot, starring Myla alongside models Jourdan Dunn and Lara Stone.

The main reason for the overwhelming criticism was that CK had dared to refer to a totally normal body as plus size. Twitter was awash with users expressing their disgust and vowing to shun the brand’s products.

Yes, it does seem bizarre that a major fashion label would court controversy by insisting that a size 10 is anywhere near a large size, but the fact is that CK never said any such thing.

In a statement released after the backlash first began earlier this week, the brand said the Perfectly Fit campaign was designed to cater to “the needs of different women” and would hopefully be viewed as “more inclusive.” Why should that be viewed as a bad thing?

The plus size movement really gained traction back in 2010 and 2011, most notably with the appearance of curvy models Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine and Robyn Lawley on a Vogue Italia cover.

Since then there has been very little development with the use of models of larger sizes on the catwalk and in photo shoots. So CK’s decision to use a healthier model, even if she is only one or two sizes larger than the normal stick-thin catwalk figure, can surely only be a positive move.

Even Myla herself was quick to defend the label’s decision. “It’s not like [Calvin Klein] released this campaign and were like ‘Whoa, look, there’s this plus size girl in our campaign,’” she said. “They released me in this campaign with everyone else; there’s no distinction. It’s not a separate section for plus size girls.”

When compared to the Victoria’s Secret recent Perfect Body ads, which featured model upon model with the exact same boyish figure, CK’s new campaign seems like a very refreshing change. Yes, the choice of models are still not fully representative of “normal” women, but it’s surely a step in the right direction?

Rather than lashing out at fashion designers for not using curvy enough models, we should be celebrating the fact that progress is being made. The fact that a size 10 model can be included in a high-fashion photo shoot without the designers making a big song and dance about it is a great development. Instead of criticising it, we should be asking for more of the same.