There is a new modeling agency in town and it is aiming to change the catwalk.
Jag, a new modeling agency based out of New York City, is aspiring to change the modeling world.
Founders Gary Dakin and Jaclyn Sarka, former directors of Ford models’ plus board, saw an opportunity to develop a new brand after the New York division of Ford closed its doors in June. “We are the first agency in New York that’s dedicated solely to women of all sizes,” Dakin told Fashionista, an independent fashion news site. “The goal is putting girls of all sizes on the covers of magazines, in advertising, and not stopping.”
Dakin’s experience with plus size models began when Ford hired its first, Emme, in 1998. Since then, Dakin has changed America’s perception of plus size models by exploring these women’s sensual side. As a result, the Italian Vogue June 2011 issue featured Ford models Tara Lynn and Candice Huffine on the cover, seductively dressed in lingerie over glasses of wine.
Jag currently employs around thirty models, one of which is Jennie Runk, who caused a stir when she headlined H&M’s swimwear campaign this past summer as a plus-size model. After the positive and negative attention she received, Runk addressed the public in an open letter: “People assume plus equates to fat, which in turn equates to ugly. This is completely absurd because many women who are considered plus-sized are actually in line with the American average.”
How does Jag want to affect the industry and society?
Hopefully the fashion industry will shift its focus from “straight” models to those with curves, therefore changing society’s distorted definition of beauty. Clothes will eventually be designed to fit multiple body types, not just the one seen on the runway. Consumers will also feel more secure with their bodies, and will be confident purchasing clothes with the knowledge the items look attractive on women over a size 2.
Unfortunately, there is a huge roadblock in Jag’s mission.
Until consumers and the media stop categorizing these women as plus size models, there isn’t going to be any change in the fashion world. When an advertisement is overshadowed by the size of the woman, the whole point of mainstreaming curvy models is lost. Society tends to cast judgment by numerical values—IQ, hip size, GPA, number of miles ran. These can be used to calculate successes, but more often than not measuring failures when it comes to body image. Jag is hoping to change this way of thinking by hiring girls for their beauty, not their size.
How can the common woman help promote diverse body types and health?
The easiest way is to stop antagonizing over size and concentrate on personal positive attributes. Stylists Stacy London and Clinton Kelly from the TLC show “What Not to Wear” regularly advise guests to forget about the number on the clothing label, and instead simply focus on what fits best. Women seem chained to their size, and often measure their value and self-worth by their clothing tag.
If the current shopping mentality is changed for the better, stores will be forced to keep standard sizes in stock, the industry will design clothes to fit consumer demands, and the gap between straight and plus size models will diminish.
In short, Jag’s modeling perspective of representing all women is a wonderful addition to the fashion world. To end the current model categorization, other agencies need to follow Jag’s example. Hopefully this practice will result in an industry that promotes confident, beautiful women of all sizes.