Stefania Ferrario is a model who’s campaigning to get labels to drop their ‘plus size’ ranges.
Not because she wants to keep larger (or more correctly, normal-sized) women out of fashion. But because she believes that the word ‘plus’ implies bigger than normal.
Last year, she started the viral hashtag #DropThePlus and since then, she’s gone on to become the global figurehead for the movement which is calling for the fashion industry get rid of sizeist language.
Stefania, who is currently the face of Dita von Tees lingerie tells Broadly that she wants to be referred to as a model – with no prefixes.
Not only is she campaigning for fashion houses to drop the label, but also for media outlets to stop reporting on ‘plus size models’.
‘I think certain labels do have a negative impact and it’s easier to completely get rid of a word than to try and change its connotational meaning,’ she says.
‘Plus size implies “bigger than normal”. Plus size categories for models start at anything above a US size 4 (UK size 8).
‘So all those women are then classified as abnormal. All these young girls are looking to the fashion industry for inspiration and seeing models that are their size being labelled as “plus size”.’
And while some models find the term ‘plus size’ empowering, Stefania says it’s about how language is perceived by the public, rather than models.
She says that until the age of 18, she was convinced that there was only one type of beauty – tanned and slim.
‘I had to unlearn what society had taught me,’ she says.
‘It was about having to reject what had been imprinted on me from such a young age.’
Stefania started modelling at 16, when she says she weighed over 3st less than she does now. And she was still told that she had to lose more if she wanted to be considered a serious model.
She now says that she ‘definitely feels really, really comfortable now’ about her own body but is open about the physical and mental issues that she’s had to deal with.
And as for huge online following (373k on Instagram – and rising), she says that she’s trying to give normal women recognition.
‘I’m representing an audience that hasn’t found that representation in the modelling industry, so I do feel a sense of responsibility.
‘I try to be as open and honest as I can about my body and the struggles I’ve been through.’