John Lewis is launching swimwear shots featuring a size 12 model in the wake of the size zero debate. Curvy South African model Lauren Moller is to be photographed wearing its 2007 collection.
The fashion chain said 80 per cent of its own-brand swimwear sales were in sizes 12 and above so they have chosen a model reflecting customers' 'real-life body shape'.
John Lewis public relations manager Mark Forsyth said modelling agencies contacted by the chain said size 12 was considered a 'plus size'. Ms Moller's 5ft 8in, size 12 frame boasts a 26in waist, 34C bust, 37.5in hips and a body mass index (BMI) of 19.8.
I would like to congratulate John Lewis for this bold step towards size acceptance. Although size 12 is a far cry from a true plus size, using real curves that represent the shape of the population is a leap forward for a non specialist brand.
The new swimwear pictures will appear in John Lewis stores and in other publicity material.
The proof that finally the nation is becoming more aware of the need to cater for the more voluptuous figure is the growing number of choice for the 16 plus market. A great example is Curvety.com who offer plus size clothing up to a size 36 in trendy styles.
Organisers of last week's London Fashion Week rejected this trend and decided not to ban models with a BMI of under 18 from the catwalk causing heated debate. Instead, the British Fashion Council asked designers to use only healthy-looking models aged over 16.