Research Says Average-Sized Models Might Sell Fashion Better, So Why Do Brands Insist On Using Ultra-Thin Models?

There's been a lot of controversy as of late about the use of thin models in the fashion industry. Many countries have either considered or passed bills banning the use of models who are considered underweight according to their BMI. While some labels may believe ultra thin models are the best way to showcase their clothes, research suggests that average-sized models sell fashion just as much, if not more than their thin counterparts.

The research comes from Kent University and is led by Dr. Xuemei Bian of the university's business school. The project examined consumer reactions to the use of both zero-sized and average-sized models in campaigns of both known and fictionalized brands. We're not sure how the study defined "average", but typically, a size 14 is the woman who fits that description. Most plus size models are considered to be between this size and a 16. The sample population was composed of women 18-25 and took their self-esteem into consideration as well. In brands that were already established, size zero models and average-sized models could be used interchangeably, and the change had either no impact or very little effect on perception of the brand. However, when it came to the falsified, "new" brands, average-sized models were perceived better than their size zero counterparts.

Dr. Bian explained the results stating, "The issue of fashion industry use of skinny models is a very controversial and we have even seen France's parliament considering a ban. Our research shows that the fashion industry has nothing to fear from using average-sized models in it marketing campaigns, and could even find that it sells more of its products by doing so." Several campaigns have already been successful when using plus— or average as the study states— size models, so the research isn't terribly surprising which means that now it's your turn, fashion industry! Let's get more inclusive, shall we?


Images: Getty (2)