Over the past few years, the retail industry has made great strides in embracing body positivity. Plus-sized models and lines are starting to become more of a norm. In fact, in America, plus-sized women’s clothing stores are a 9.7 billion dollar market.
But there is a demographic that is overlooked: plus-sized men. This market is valued at 949.6 million dollars; only 9.79% of the women’s market.
Enter Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty menswear line. The brand boasts a celebration of “fearlessness, confidence, inclusivity.” These values shone through with the launch of its menswear line early this October.
The drop of the line brought great buzz and acclaim from the internet. The spotlight was on Steven G., one of the plus-sized male models debuting the menswear line.
For a lot of men, it was the first time they’d seen their body type represented by mainstream fashion lines. In response to images of Steven G. in the new apparel, Twitter user Cody Jacob said, “Never in my adult life have I seen a male model that has a similar body to mine. I feel… almost emotional? Like I finally can buy something I saw and want and KNOW it was made for people like me in mind.”
And in response to this support, Steven G. is taken aback. In an interview with In The Know, he admits “never in a million years would I have considered myself a sex symbol, but to see the responses definitely confirmed that my size wasn’t much of a factor.”
He is also suprised by the influence his photoshoot has had. “I didn’t realize the impact that this would make on other men, Steven G. said in an interview with Byrdie. “I thought [the photoshoot] was gonna be something for me but it became something so much bigger.”
The fashion and retail industries need to step up and fill the gap. Companies should be holistic in their body positivity campaigns: men and women should both be able to express themselves through what they wear. Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty’s menswear line was an incredible step toward inclusivity and representation of plus-sized men. Hopefully, it will motivate other brands to follow suit.
Featured Image by Catherine Liu