Body image and unrepresentative runway sirens have gotten a lot of attention of late and led to a growing demand for, and use of, plus-size female models. But, what about male model images of David Beckham-type bodies with rock hard abs or metrosexuals in tighty-whities? Most models with non-perfect (i.e., more realistic) bodies are female – but Target recently bucked that trend by hiring a real “big and tall” male to model its clothing for plus-size men showing that displays featuring different male physiques are needed too
Not all men are manscaped hunks with broad shoulders, tight abs and tight cheeks. As a result, Target bravely recognized the need to display a more representative picture of the shopper (or spouse of the shopper) who would were their garments.
Target hired Zachary Miko, a 26-year-old New York-based actor and musician, for a recent modeling gig. The six-feet, six-inches Miko has a 40-inch waist. While Target should be congratulated for including a normal looking specimen with the typical body type that fits the “big and tall” clothing, he is the only man shown without the standard svelte, chiseled body.
“I don’t give a s**t if I ever have ripped abs and look like an Abercrombie and Fitch model. I never want that,” Miko told another publication. However, he has also reported that, even after being hired for the shoot, there were no XL tall shirts on the set for his first day of his modeling, so the stylist cut open the back of a regular shirt for him to wear.
Most modeling agencies only contract with classic-looking hunks, edgy looking types for brands aimed at them, celebs, muscular athletic types (who may technically be overweight based on their body mass index, but are solid muscle) or skinny androgynous-looking men.
Some believe the firms and advertisers are hesitant to display realistic male models for fear of turning off their audience, an argument used for years on women’s advertising and models. But, there is a shift toward reality that if partly fueled by acceptance that there are a variety of body types beyond a size 2 (maybe it was helped by the acceptance of certain rounded Kardashians?).
Simple economics demanded that larger women models be seen. There are approximately 6,000 plus-size women’s clothing stores and departments in larger ones that generated a reported $9 billion last year. Plus-size women models have been accepted and graced top magazine covers. While initially there were agencies that specialized in larger size female models, most agencies now have some plus-size women on their books.
Much like the realization on the female side, the scarcity of plus-size male models is at odds with the market and clearly needed to be representative. Plus-size in menswear generally means XL, and an over-42-inch chest. (For women, it often starts at size 12 or 14 – which is actually average-sized in the U.S.) Most menswear shoots call for a size medium with a 32-inch waist. But, at Target realized, there is a lot of men out there that do not meet that image and plus-size male models are needed too.
Written and directed by Dyanne Weiss
People: Meet Target’s Only Plus-Size Male Model Zach Miko: ‘I Wouldn’t Have Had the Confidence If It Wasn’t for My Wife’
Daily Mail: ‘I don’t care if I have ripped abs’: Plus-size male model who landed a campaign with Target reveals how he overcame insecurity and learned to love his large frame
Telegraph: Why are there no plus-size male models?
MTV: Does The Fashion Industry Need More Plus-Size Male Models?
Male Plus-Size Models Needed Too
Photo by Natalitiameom – Creative Commons License